Performers: The Pro Arte Singers
Director: Thomas Binkley
While the primary music of the early middle ages was Gregorian chant, there was an important secondary level of quasi-improvised vocal music beginning in the eleventh century that utilized polyphony. It could justifiably be called Beyond Plainsong. The earliest polyphony varied from singing in strict parallel intervals, to creating complex cadences employing contrary motion and other contrapuntal practices. This initial simple polyphonic practice sprouted many tributaries, some quite complicated, leading to a professional level of solistic music in addition to the readily learned choral practices. The music on this CD demonstrates the common practices of polyphony of the time, from simple parallel motion (choral organum) to the more florid and soloistic organum known as Ars Organi.