Musical eras and representatives
We believe that during the long history of mankind, music frequently played a significant role of our daily life. However, there were only a few fragments of those ancient civilizations music surviving today. So we usually consider Middle Ages as our starting point to study the history of music. The decline of the Roman Empire was a symbol of the beginning of the Middle Ages. During that turbulent times, two centers of the power, king and church, had irreconcilable power crash. The power flowed gradually from the king to the church. This particular historical background implied the music style of this period hedging centered on the sacred, church music. Church music has its distinct characteristics, which is easily recognizable and impressive. The fixed elements, such as Virgo Maria, Hallelujah and so forth, showed up in almost every piece of church music, which directly lead to the pieces of this era sometimes sound like the same. Even if this is the case, I still consider the flourishing Messiah by Handel was a great representative of them. Messiah or we could call it Mass, is the most solemn ritual of the Catholic Church. Maybe individuals are not familiar with Handel, but they should be impressed by the melody of Hallelujah chorus, which was from the Messiah. We could hear this joyful piece in many occasions, take public celebration as example. This piece was a typical sacred music with sacred text and church style accompaniment. And owing to the use of the syllabic, neumatic and melismatic styles, which are three categories of the chant melodies, this Messiah largely showed the details of Medieval era music. The Renaissance, which focused on the humanism, has so many similarities with the Medieval era. I even consider the music of Renaissance was a development and continuation of the Medieval era’s. Even though secular music was existed in these two periods, personally, sacred music was dominant. Pope Marcellus Mass,...
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