Music History Through the Middle Ages, Rennisance, Baroque, Etc...

Topics: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Baroque music Pages: 6 (2001 words) Published: April 11, 2005
Music has evolved too many different forms that we recognize today. We trace this development throughout time. Beginning in the middle ages, we have seen advancement from the Gregorian chant all the way to the Jazz of the 20th century. The current events, politics, religion, technology and composers can shape musical eras during time. Here I will look at the middle ages, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic and twentieth century periods. I hope that a better understanding can be reached to why, when, where and who are the reasons for musical evolution. Middle Ages

Beginning with fall of Rome in 476a.d. the first half of this millennium is referred to as the "dark ages". In society, all power flowed from the king with the approval of the Roman Catholic Church and its bishops. This is what we know as church and state. The "dark ages" or an encompassment of the middle ages by history, gave to many early development in western music. Polyphony, which combines two or more simultaneous melodic lines, is a perfect example of this. Because polyphony required to be written to indicate precise rhythm and pitch, a new notational system was designed. Lifestyle in the middle Ages centered on the church. All levels of society choose religious life. This was not easy for patrons, some orders required vows of poverty. Discipline was evident among the church. A typical day began at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. with the celebration of daily services, reading of lessons, and the singing of psalms. Probably one of the most notable themes of the middle ages was sacred music, shaped in part by Greek, Hebrew, and Syrian influences. Religious pieces known as a Gregorian chant were popular. These consist of a single-line melody and monophonic texture lacking harmony and counterpoint. The Mass, a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ, is the most solemn ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. Haec dies, from the Mass for Easter Day, serves as a fine example of Gregorian chant used during this period. Minstrels now began to emerge as a class of musicians who wandered among the courts and towns. Some of these minstrels juggled, showed tricks, and introduced animals, along with the normal singing and dancing. This type of music that accompanied dinner and after-dinner entertainment is secular. Secular music became an integral part of medieval court life. Renaissance

The renaissance began in 1450 and lasted to 1600. It marks the passing of European society to a more secular one. The Renaissance is dated to onset the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. In the world, the age saw many explorers in search of a faster trade route to China, which led to the discovery of North America. Musicians in the Renaissance society are now professionals and were supported by the church, city and state as well as the royal and aristocratic courts. The rise of the merchant class brought new fans to music professionals. With the advent of cheaper printing, music books became available and affordable making musical literacy spread dramatically. The musical style of the renaissance can be noted in the vocal forms by smoothly gliding melodies. This became regarded as the golden age of cappella style, which is music without instrumental accompaniment. Polyphony in renaissance style was based on continuous imitation. This offered many possibilities such as cantus firmus. Sacred music played a prominent part in ritual of the church. Motets and hymns became a part of Mass. The motet became a sacred form with a single Latin text. Motets in praise of the Virgin Mary were extremely popular because of the many religious groups devoted to Marian worship. Josquin Desprez, a popular master of the motet and influencer of many composers, composed more than a hundred motets and numerous secular pieces. Baroque

The Baroque period stretched across half of European history. It began shortly before 1600 and ended with the death of Bach in...
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