The Medieval origin of European music (9th-15th centuries)
In contrast to what occurs in the visual arts—of which there are palpable remains from Classical Antiquity—the origin of music history cannot be traced prior to the emergence of the first music notations, around the ninth century. European music was thus created in an eminently ruralised and religious setting. Gregorian chant was disseminated as a result of the monastic orders and the pilgrim routes, and the rise of cities—with the paradigmatic cases of Paris and Florence—led to the creation of new compositional technique that have characterised Western music to the present: polyphony and counterpoint. While in the north pre-Christian beliefs and melodies survive, the Ars Nova anticipated an autumn in the Middle Ages that came amid strong convulsions. Movements such as the Ars Subtilior, which appealed more to the intellect than to the senses, would quickly give way to a polyphonic equilibrium with Flanders as the torchbearer, announcing Humanism.