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Classical Music/gregorian chants composers/ medieval ages.


I just wanted clarification on a question. Sorry to say this, but I think I already know the answer, but just wanted clarification. Why are composers of the Gregorian chants most often unknown? I think it is mostly because no actual record of most of them. Is this correct? Thank you for all the help, and sorry about this.

Yes, you are correct.  

We know only two names from the early Middle Ages:  Leonin and Perotin (they were part of the Notre Dame "composition school").  A later Medieval composer whose name we know is Machaut.

As is the case even today, lesser-talented composers/artists/athletes are not widely known.  When it's time (later) to write the history, they will be left out entirely!  For every named person (I'm speaking now of historical accounts now extant), there have to be at least 1000 others who did the same thing but are not remembered because their output was of markedly inferior quality.

Gregorian chant dates from the Dark Ages (up to about 850).  In this period, even fewer names were preserved!  I can't find one, although there may be a name preserved in a source I did not consult.

Another reason names are not preserved in the Dark Ages and Medieval periods, I think, was that it was not considered proper to call attention to oneself.  All the glory went to God.

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Martha Beth Lewis


I have a PhD in musicology, with expertise in medieval - Renaissance - Baroque - Classical periods, but I'll try to help you with any period.

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