Ars Nova, “New Art” in Latin, is a musical style which was highly used in France and the Burgundian Low countries in the 14th century. This was most especially during the period when Roman de Fauvel was being prepared and the death of Guillaume de Machaut, in 1310 and 1377 respectively. In other scenarios, Ars Nova is used to generally define the polyphonic music of the 14th century. The “Ars” in “Ars Nova” can be further be interpreted to mean a style or technique.
Guillaume de Machaut played a very crucial role during the time period when Ars Nova music style was in use. He was a highly-regarded French composer who contributed to both secular and sacred music of the time. His music highly incorporated new and experimental style that he was even considered the founder of Ars Nova style. So what was Ars Nova all about? This musical style of the medieval period simply involved application of more complex rhythm and polyphony of secular music. Another person who greatly was associated with Ars Nova music style was Philippe de Vitry who took part in composing Ars Nova, a treatise in 1320.
This musical style aroused complains by various people and for different reasons. The Pope criticized the complexity incorporated since the sacred chants were being neglected which music was generally based on. On the other hand, the rhythm and rhythmic notation of the new art style of music was also under siege since it made dividing sacred tests, easier. At the same time, music was taking a turn from sacredness to secularity and focusing more on beauty rather than church divinity. The changes that occurred with this type of music style can be associated with the contemporary changes that took place with literature and painting from the Renaissance period.
Compared to Ars Antiqua, Ars Nova is the complete opposite of the music style preceding it. This was highly noted in the rhythm use and development whereas secular music obtained more polyphonic sophistication which was only present in sacred music there before. With Machaut engineering the growth of Ars Nova music style, secular poetic forms such as Ballades and Rondeaux could now to be converted into polyphonic music. “Italians Ars Nova”, music of Francesco Landini and his compatriots, “Ars Nova today” and “Ars Novae Musicae” are some of the music’s that adopted this music style of the 14th century.