The Song category covers many types of song, from operatic
arias to German Lieder. It also covers works arranged for instruments, but which are either originally written with a voice part, or else they have the form of a song, but no words.
The earliest songs were monophonic. Few songs composed before 1300 have been
written down. We may have some survivors of folk songs passed down by oral tradition,
such as Summer is Icummen in. Church song was called plainsong.
Polyphonic songs evolved in the renaissance
period. Secular example include madrigals such as Weep Oh Mine Eyes,
by Bennet. Sacred examples include
In the Baroque and
period the songs became monophonic again, but often with elaborate instrumental accompaniments. These songs were called Arias (=
English 'Airs'), and are used in operas and oratorios as well as isolated works.
In the romantic 19th century, a
dominant form of song was the German Lied, exemplified by