THE TROUBADOURS, DESCANT AND MENSURAL
THE influences which combined to affect the development of song in the eleventh and twelfth centuries were so numerous and closely intertwined that the task of unravelling the threads of the web is well nigh impossible. They may be classified as follows:
The music of the troubadours.
The art of descant (also called "discant").
The period of troubadour art extended from at least the middle of the twelfth century to the closing years of the thirteenth. Polyphonic composition may be said to date from the first crude experiments in harmony, of which our earliest records come down from about A.D. 900. The art of discant, as distinguished by the practice of singers from the written polyphony of composers, must have originated almost as soon as