Adam De La Halle and the Ars Antiqua Time Period

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Adam De La Halle

Ars Antiqua Time Period

Life Summary


Adam de la Halle is often referred to as the greatest of the long succession of post Medieval musicians. He was a poet, musician and innovator of the earliest French theater. He became famous for his use of polyphony and his theatrical productions. Adam originally trained for the clergy (the people of the church). Marriage interfered with his musical career; but with the help of some noble benefactors he was able to pursue musical studies at the University of Paris. The remainder of his life was spent in service of noble patrons.

His Music

Adam de la Halle wasabout:blank of French origins. All of his lyrics were written in French. Much of his early music was monophonic which shortly after became homophonic and then transformed into polyphonic. Much of his polyphonic work was set for 3 voices or instruments.

If a piece of music is monophonic, then it has only a melody line and no harmony. Much of the medieval music was monophonic. If the music is homophonic then there is only one melody line, but it may be played by two or more instruments. Many of the songs that were originally monophonic were easily transformed into homophonic by add extra voices or instruments. Polyphonic is the type of music we hear today. Polyphonic is when there is a melody line accompanied by harmony. A considerable amount of Adam de la Halle's polyphonic work was designed for plays. One of Adam's manuscripts contains the oldest known existence of the sharp sign. In 1872 his music was officially published.

Ars Antiqua Time Period

Ars Antiqua is Medieval Latin for 'ancient art'. Ars Antiqua was the period of musical activity in 13th century France. The music was characterized by the...