Beginning of the Medieval Era

At the start of the Medieval era, music was primarily in the form of plainsong, which is a set of monophonic chants with a free-flowing meter commonly used in religious contexts.  The most traditional type of plainsong is the Gregorian chant. One of the most well-known Gregorian chants of this period, Dies irae (composer unknown), was commonly used in Requiem and describes the Last Judgement. Within this piece, the monophonic melody and religious connotations are obvious; this reflects medieval society’s emphasis on conformity and rejection of the individual, as well as the significance of God and religion in everyday life.



- Malcolm Boyd. “'Dies Irae': Some Recent Manifestations.” Music & Letters, vol. 49, no. 4, 1968, pp. 347–356. JSTOR, JSTOR,

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Gregorian chant.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 14 Nov. 2014,


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 500