Medieval and Renaissance Instruments

In the Medieval era, the foundations of music notation and music theories were established and these would later influence how music was composed in the times of the great composers of the Baroque and Classical periods of music.

Before the concept of composing music, there was no standard how one song was learned or played. Many musicians learned to play it by ear and passed it down through the same means. Notation made it easier for music to be written and be learned by everyone.

The Renaissance period was the rapid rise of intellectual thought of that time because of the invention of the printing press. Compositions were further spread on a massive scale and more people were able to listen to it. This effect was profound on those with musical inclinations as it allowed them to learn how to play and compose their own music.

Instruments of the Medieval Times
The Medieval and Renaissance instruments differed greatly. This was because, in the Medieval times, the study of music was mainly a matter reserved for the religious clergy and was more focused on vocal music. Secular music often was the folk songs that were passed on orally.

The instruments of this time were more basic and had clear pitches. The wooden flute and the recorder were staples as they were the easiest to produce. String instruments were mostly plucked to produce sound as the musical concepts were still in development as of this time.

The Upgrades in the Renaissance
It was the Renaissance and later music eras that benefitted when several technologies were developed in the course of the Medieval times. Metal technology made it possible to create new instruments, as well as more advanced versions of the existing ones. It was at this time polyphony, harmony, and blending of melodies became possible and and made music more exciting.

This era saw the rise in compositions for both secular and religious music. Many organs from the Renaissance still exist today in old churches. The earlier forms of the guitar, violin, and the mandolin were also popular. Brass instruments had no valves like the modern trumpets but already had the bell-shaped end to amplify the sound.

Setting the Tone for the Future
The Medieval and Renaissance instruments were generally the precursor of many of the existing modern musical instruments. The development of these instruments in those times became easier because of the access to newer technologies, as well as access to more music.