Medieval music-making (up to c. 1400)
At the start of the Medieval era, the notated music is thought to have been monophonic with no instrumental support.
We know that instead of major and minor scales that sound 'familiar' to today's listeners in the West, medieval music was primarily modal. The rhythms that would have been used in performance were not written down and can really only be guessed at. In the church, plain chant (also known as Gregorian chant) was most common.
Polyphony develops during the later Medieval period. Harmony centres on, at first, consonant intervals of perfect fifths and octaves, although in later music, perfect fourths will be introduced. Once rhythms started to be written down, songs could be more easily shared and passed on.
The popular stringed instruments were the most portable, the lute and gittern, and the fiddle. In church and temple settings, the psaltery and hammered dulcimer could be heard.