(Middle Ages 2)
A secular musical tradition, simpler than the organum used by the
church, existed outside the church. This was the monophonic music
of itinerant musicians, the minstrels. Minstrels were also known
as jongleurs and their successors, the troubadours and trouvères
in France, and minnesingers in Germany.
The minstrels travelled from
castle to castle singing songs, telling stories and performing tricks.
Like plainsong, secular songs were simple and only had one melody.
They were usually faster than sacred songs and used the common language
instead of Latin. Minstrels gradually formed guilds and became more respected
members of the growing middle class.
Stringed or percussion instruments
often accompanied the minstrels' songs. Both sacred and secular music
used a wide variety of instruments, including such string devices as the
lyre and psaltery and the medieval fiddle, or vielle.
Keyboard instruments included the organ. Percussion instruments included
small drums and small bells.
Estampie (14th century)