The History of Music

Topics: Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Music Pages: 5 (1776 words) Published: May 17, 2005
The History of Western Music

Music has been around since the dawn of time, ever since man first inhabited this planet we have learned to communicate in ways other then conventional speaking. Different Cultures all have there own specific way of communicating through music. Music is basically broken into two specific groups Eastern Music and Western Music. Eastern music is mainly derived from the orient and India. While, Western music first emerged from Europe. Western music has developed in many ways since the middle ages through its form, sound, and message. The Middle Ages

In 500 A.D., western civilization began to emerge from the period known as "The Dark Ages," a time in which many invading forces ruled Europe and brought an end to the Roman Empire. For the next hundred year, the newly emerging Christian Church would soon govern Europe, administering justice, initiating the Crusades against the East, creating Universities, and for the most part dictating the destiny of music, art and literature. Pope Gregory I is believed to have collected the music known as Gregorian Chant, which was the approved music of the Church. Later, Notre Dame in Paris was accredited, with the creation of a new kind of music called organum. Which was created by much more melodic phrases then Gregorian Chant, organum was also the first type of music too utilize fourth and fifth intervals, which would become one of the building blocks of modern musical theory. Music in the church had not changed much during this time as said by Charles Burney in A General History of Music Volume I, "Music in the church, however, appears to have undergone no other change at this time than in being applied in some parts of the service…"(57). A type popular music began to erupt and was sung all over Europe by the troubadours and trouvères of France. The troubadours and trouvères played mainly lutes (a primitive guitar) and sung songs, which everyday people could appreciate and identify with. And it was during the middle Ages that western culture saw the arrival of the first great name in music, Guillaume de Machaut. De Machaut polyphonic style did not catch with many during the middle ages, but would later influence a flood of composers during the Renaissance.

The Renaissance
The Renaissance began in the year 1420 and ended in the year 1600. The Renaissance meaning rebirth was a time of great cultural awakening and a pinnacle time for the arts. Sacred music began for the first time to break free of the confines of the Church, and a number of composers trained in the Netherlands mastered polyphonical music. One of the early masters of this Flemish style was Josquin des Prez. De Prez's use of multiple melody lines gave way too the idea of orchestral music which has been a staple in the world of music for hundreds of years. These polyphonic traditions reached a zenith through the works of Giovanni da Palestrina, who perfected this type of orchestral scoring. Secular music thrived during this period, and instrumental and dance music was performed at many social gatherings. The late Renaissance also saw in England the thriving of the English madrigal or ballad, the best known of which were composed by such masters as John Dowland, William Byrd, and Thomas Morley.

The Baroque Age
Named after the architectural style of the time, the Baroque period saw composers beginning to rebel against the styles that were prevalent during the Renaissance. Many monarchs employed composers at their courts, to compete with other countries. The greatest composer of the period, Johann Sebastian Bach, was an employed composer. Bach and other of the great composers of the time were able to break new musical ground, and in so doing succeeded in creating an entirely new style of music. During the early part of the seventeenth century the genre of opera was first created by a group of composers in Florence, Italy, the earliest of these operatic masterpieces...

Cited: Burney, Charles. A General History Of Music. New York: Dover Publications, 1957.
Burney, Charles. A General History Of Music 2. New York: Dover Publications, 1957.
Einstein, Alfred. A Short History Of Music. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1969.
Palmer, Robert. Rock & Roll an unruly history. New York: Harmony Books, 1995.
Prendergast, Mark. The Ambient Century. New York: Bloomsbury, 2000
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