What is Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova?

Question: What is Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova?

During the Medieval Period, there were two schools of music, namely: Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova.

Answer: Ars Antiqua, which is Latin for "ancient art" or "old art," 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 has sophisticated counterpoint.

This type of music is also known as organum; a form of singing in three-part harmony. Another important music form from this period is the motet; 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, which is Latin for "new art," 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.

Also See:

  • Medieval Music Timeline
  • Plainchant
  • The Beginning of Polyphony
  • The Rise of Secular Music