The Differences Between Schools Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova

The Two Schools of Music During the Medieval Period

A choir


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During the Medieval Period, there were two schools of music, namely: Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova. Both schools were integral in revolutionizing music at that time.

For example, before the 1100s, songs were conducted freely and without measured rhythm. Ars Antiqua introduced the concept of measured rhythm, and Ars Nova expanded on these concepts and created even more metered options.

Ars Antiqua

Ars Antiqua is Latin for "ancient art" or "old art". This school of music's popularity spanned from 1100-1300 in France. It began at the Cathedral de Notre Dame in Paris and emerged from the Gregorian Chant.

Music during this period is characterized by adding harmonies to chants and having a sophisticated counterpoint. This type of music is also known as organum or a form of singing in 3-part harmony.

Another important music form from this period is the motet. Motet is a type of polyphonic vocal music which uses rhythm patterns.

Composers like Hildegard von Bingen, Leonin, Perotin, Franco of Cologne and Pierre de la Croix represents the Ars Antiqua, but many works during this period remain anonymous.

Ars Nova

Ars Nova is Latin for "new art". This period immediately succeeded Ars Antiqua as it spanned between the 14th and 15th-century primarily in France. This period saw the invention of modern notation and the growth in popularity of the motet. One type of music that emerged during this period is the round; wherein voices enter one after the other at regular periods, repeating exactly the same melody.

Important composers during the Ars Nova period include Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut, Francesco Landini and other composers who remain anonymous.