Early Music refers to compositions of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. From the haunting parallel voices of a group of Gregorian monks to the sublime French polyphony of poet/musician Guillaume de Machaut, much Early Music reflects the strong Catholic influence that governed the works of this era. Secular musicians -- troubadours, minstrels, etc. -- helped bring wind, string and percussion instruments into prominence, which were then assimilated into the works of more respected composers. In recent years, many contemporary ensembles have rediscovered the power of stark polyphonic pieces by church composers like Giovanni Da Palestrina, and the chromatic, oddly modern-sounding madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo, whose music flourished before the rules of harmony were standardized in the Baroque and Classical periods.