University of Phoenix
Introduction to Humanities - The Ancient World to Medieval Times HUM/100
November 15, 2010
Defining the Humanities Paper
The purpose of this paper is to define the humanities and explain how the humanities differ from other forms of human expression and inquiry. The author of the paper will describe a cultural event that she has experienced or encountered and explain how this cultural event expressed what she knew about the humanities, style, art, genius, and culture of the time period that it represents. The paper will also discuss how the author’s form of cultural expression of choice compares with other forms she knows about from the same era. What is the Humanities
The humanities are an extensive discipline that uncovers how people throughout history have expressed, dealt with and understood the details surrounding human life and values or situations. The humanities also focus on the various contributions of human beings both individually and collectively in the advancement of the many art forms that now exist. Today when one thinks of the humanities he or she will think of those areas concerned with the advancement in other disciplines such as the sciences, math, and psychology and other disciplines and professions all of which are a part of human culture. The humanities include avenues that study human beings, their culture, and the way they express themselves. The humanities can be distinguished from other disciplines such as the social sciences, physical and biological because the humanities include the study of human subjects and the study of languages and literatures, the arts, history, and philosophy while all other forms of human inquiry are limited to the study of subjects that are not human (Fiero, 2011). Selected Cultural Event
An example of a cultural event that I experienced was a performance that my daughter was involved in last year. She is a pianist and a member of an orchestra which performs yearly at a local performance theatre. This was one of my most memorable experiences because I was introduced to music I had not heard from the baroque period and also because I was able to see my daughter in concert. Her orchestra’s performance consisted of music by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach which is her favorite, Claudio Monteviride, Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel another one that she likes very much. The baroque period was responsible for the development of tone that was very functional yet endearing. During the baroque period, composers and performers composed with more flare and drama as well as with more extravagant musical ornamentation. During this era composers made dramatic improvements in their musical composition and notation, and they developed new techniques for playing their instruments. Baroque music was also responsible for the establishment or introduction of musical genre called opera. Many of these musical terms and concepts that were developed in this era are still being used today (Fiero, 2011). The baroque periods was recognized for their order and elaborate culture and polished nature. All of these characteristics are very apparent from listening to the works of Antonio Vivaldi , Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. (Fiero, 2011) Comparison of other Art Forms
When the music that was heard at the orchestra performance was compared to other music from that same era along with other architecture or paintings it was noticed that all bore similar attributes. These attributes include but are not limited to being flamboyant, and elaborately ornamental with extensive ornamentation and detail (Fiero, 2011). The music from the baroque era was centered around the needs of churches, which at that time relied on the theatrical attributes of art to make worship more appealing and attractive. The art, sculpture and painting from the baroque era also showed the artists’ passion for intricacy and beauty. Such painting and other art forms such as sculptures include works created by Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Poussin (Fiero, 2011). Architecture includes elaborate buildings and churches and one of the most elaborate of this era is Versailles Palace in France. Conclusion
Europe underwent several periods dating back from the medieval era to the present. The medieval era ended and ushered in the Renaissance era. The Renaissance era in turn gave rise to the Baroque era which then gave birth way to the Rococo era and then the Classical followed by the Romantic which lead to the Modern era and eventually the post modern era (Fiero, 2011). Even though the eras changed the basic fundamentals of the arts, music and other art forms remained the same.
Fiero, G. K. (2011). The humanistic tradition, Book 1: The first civilizations and the classical legacy (6th. Ed). New York: McGraw Hill.