Thanks to the invention of the alphabet, Armenian music rises to the level of a specialized and anchored literary language, renovated and nationalized in its form and content. In the early Middle Ages it was largely influenced by early Christian Middle Eastern culture and at the same time created a unique characteristic.
During this period of music-history there were three stages of development which are defined in succession IV-V cc.(having a high point V c.), VI-VIII cc.(having a high point in the first quarter of VII c.) and IX-X cc. which at the same time marked a new beginning, summarizing the achievements of the whole epoch.
Immediately after the invention of the alphabet, through the efforts of Sahak Parthev and Mesrop Mashtots, as well as their senior students, the Bible and other religious texts were translated, first of all, the Liturgy, and ritual and ceremony became Armenian, improved and enhanced.Being separated from the Bible, in a separate book, the Davit Psalms were published, firstly forming the Armenian Psalm, and then adding to the prophetic blessings and newly created sermons and prayers, the ancient Armenian chronology.
There was a need to improve the ritual and ceremonial, as well as the musical sides,which was again carried out by Sahak Parthev and Mesrop Mashtots, who laid the foundations of church music with traditional Armenian vowels. Both were patriarchs of Armenian spiritual self-song, with their efforts initially focused not on the the rooting of an extensive style song but the large-scaled (monumental) style of song in Armenia. Mesrop Mashtots created the sorrowful-lyrical psalms and Sahak Parthev created festive songs of Holy Week.
The generous style in VII c. reaches the high point of development due to Komitas Aghtstsi and Barsegh Chon, Anania Shirakaci (with his resurrection chants) and Sahak Dzoraporetsi (with his chants dedicated to the church).He formed one of the first spiritually independent songs to be officially acclaimed, which was called “Chonyntir”.
In the first quarter of VIII c. by the efforts of the Stepanos Syunetsi Second, the Eastern Christian genre of eight to nine songs “in principle”, related to the same church holiday was adopted. The second large system of chords was developed, a set of sample melodies related to spiritually independent (non-Bible) songs. There was also a preliminary system of Armenian khazagirs, which was enriched with new singing features.
Catholicos Mashtots A Yeghivardetsi in IX c. ordains one of the main Armenian rituals “Mashtots”.
In the favorable conditions of X c. , on the one hand,in medieval Armenia the revolution path of the professional music art was concluded, with the embodiment of large-scale generalization phenomena;on the other hand, these phenomena, while also displaying many vital elements of a new quality,simultainously became the beginning of the rise of medieval Armenian art itself, (in particular musical poetic works of Grigor Narekatsi).
During X-XV cc. Armenian spiritual music made tremendous achievements.The national face was finally formed,being saturated with healthy folk-worldly vitality, and reached to the artistic world-level of the unanimously art of the time.
In V-VI cc. in the field of theory,a wealth of knowledge is accumulated through independent and translation rich literature.In addition to sound adjustments, there were developed sound and harmony teachings.At the beginning of VII c. the theory was enriched by a teaching on phonetics(acoustics), and a century later Armenian sounds were being rebuilt in the light of eightsound pan-Christian contemporary theory.People start to use a kind of old playwriting which fragments reached us in the form of chunks.
The issues of ritual were again shown in the works of Hovhan Odznetsi and Khosrov Andzevatsi.Mythological and naturalistic ideas typical to pegan period were replaced by philosophical views that support rational understanding of music which are raised in the works of Davit Anhaght,Davit Kerakan and Stepanos Syunetsi II.
In the field of theory the teachings on the basis of sound, volume and harmony found their further development. The whole system of syllables or sampler sounds was enriched, with significant advances in their scientific classification. Based on all of this,to some extent the art of playwriting and khazwriting also reached a certain level of development in this era.
In the field of musical aesthetics in X-XV centuries Armenian scholars refferd to the origins of music art, the essence of music, the power and nature of its influence, the relationship between secular and spiritual music, and the relation of music art to reality.
The inner content of the greatest movement made in the musical life of Armenia in the X-XI centuries constitutes the flourishing of the art of tagh(canto). Including the composition of melodies, sanctuaries, as well as heavy and key psalms, it presented a unique field of newly created works. A new style of music was being established and developed.
X-XI centuries were the period of blooming of tagh art and at the same time, the ornamental style. At this stage, the discreet, size-specific ornamentation accentuated and outlined the main features of the large sublime compositions. The best examples were those of Grigor Narekatsi`s taghs and, later, the works of Archimandrite Hovhannes Sarkavag.
In XII-XIII centuries the melodies were most adorned with various ornaments, without losing their generous character,and they began and continued brilliantly with the work of Nerses Shnorhali, with his taghs, heavy and key psalms and liturgical songs. Generally, in the musical and poetic legacy of Shnorhali, they receive almost the final image of all the lasting values of the music of the Armenian authoritarian culture, the liturgy and other manuscripts.
After Nerses Shnorhali, a number of music-poets worked in Cilicia and central Armenia.Their efforts enriched the field of works related to the second phase of the masterful-ornamental style of songwriting, also the medieval Armenian music and aesthetic thought was deepened and expanded.
XIV-XV centuries first in Cilicia, and then in central Armenia, there was a new professional class of anonymous singer-songwriters whose representatives saw their primary creative and performing task until the 12th-13th centuries in revising the musical component of the composed songs according to the requirements of ornate style of singing. Through their work the generous-ornamental style entered the third stage of development, which was characterized by the reversal of that style.