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Economic and political changes in the High Middle Ages led to the formation of guilds and the growth of towns, and this would lead to significant changes for theatre starting in this time and continuing into the Guido of Arezzo was one of the first to develop musical notation, which made it easier for singers to remember Gregorian chants.

It was during the 12th and 13th centuries that Gregorian plainchant gave birth to polyphony, which appeared in the works of French Notre Dame School (Léonin and Pérotin). Later it evolved into the ars nova (Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut) and the musical genres of late Middle Ages. An important composer during the 12th century was the nun Hildegard of Bingen.

The most significant secular movement was that of the troubadours, who arose in Occitania (Southern France) in the late 11th century. The troubadours were often itinerant, came from all classes of society, and wrote songs on a variety of topics, though with a particular focus on courtly love. Their style went on to influence the trouvères of northern France, the minnesingers of Germany, and the composers of secular music of the Trecento in northern Italy.

Economic and political changes in the High Middle Ages led to the formation of guilds and the growth of towns, and this would lead to significant changes for theatre starting in this time and continuing into the Late Middle Ages. Trade guilds began to perform plays, usually religiously based, and often dealing with a biblical story that referenced their profession. For instance, a baker's guild would perform a reenactment of the Last Supper.[11] In the British Isles, plays were produced in some 127 different towns during the Middle Ages. These vernacular Mystery plays were written in cycles of a large number of plays: York (48 plays), Chester (24), Wakefield (32) and Unknown (42). A larger number of plays survive from France and Germany in this period and some type of religious dramas were performed in nearly every European country in the Late Middle Ages. Many of these plays contained comedy, devils, villains and clowns.[12]

There were also a number of secular performances staged in the Middle Ages, the earliest of which is The Play of the Greenwood by Adam de la Halle in 1276. It contains satirical scenes and folk material such as faeries and other supernatural occurrences

There were also a number of secular performances staged in the Middle Ages, the earliest of which is The Play of the Greenwood by Adam de la Halle in 1276. It contains satirical scenes and folk material such as faeries and other supernatural occurrences. Farces also rose dramatically in popularity after the 13th century. The majority of these plays come from France and Germany and are similar in tone and form, emphasizing sex and bodily excretions.[13]