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Knowing the score:

Musical notation consists of a series of extremely precise symbols that rely
on the individual musician’s technical skills and depth of musical
experience for appropriate interpretation of the pieces.
All musical notation occurs on, above or below the five parallel lines called
the ‘staff’ or the ‘stave’ (pentagrama).

These are the notes of the scale in English:

C = Do.
D = Re.
E = Mi.
F = Fa.
G = Sol.
A = La.
B = Si.

If a note appears with this sign , it means that it’s ‘flat’ (bemol).
And if a note appears with this other sign , it means that it’s
‘sharp’ (sostenido).
These signs indicates us the ‘key’ (tonalidad) in which the piece is
to be played.
The word ‘Key’ (also “clef”) represents these symbols: ‘G’ Key,
and ‘F’ Key, that are used to read music on the score.
There are more clefs, but the most used are these two ones.

This is the C scale in the Key of G:

This is the C scale in the Key of F:

The length in music, is represented by these musical figures:

From mayor to minor:


When these musical figures are combined they form what we know
as the ‘rhythm’.
At the beginning of a score, we also find the ‘time signature’,
composed of two numbers, that is used to measure the time in music.
These are the most used:

Many of the expressions used in musical scores to indicate phrasing are in

Italian: f stands for forte, for example, ff stands for fortissimo, p stands for
piano, cresc. for crescendo, dim. for diminuendo, rall. for rallentando and so

MIDDLE AGE: (From the fall of the Roman Empire [476

b.c.] to XV Century).

This period is characterized for the theocentric thinking.

Everything in the human thoughts and in the art word is related to the Church.
The music that was related to Church , was called Liturgical, and it’s still call
like that.
Among this kind of liturgical or sacra- music, we have the Gregorian Chant ,
also called plainchant or plainsong because it’s the same melody (just one
melody) singed by a chorus of men.
At this period there was also a music that was separated from the Church, it
was the profane music, that was singed by the Troubadours (trovadores)
Trouveurs (toveros) and Jongleurs (Juglares).
They were called the ‘living newspapers’ because they used to travel from
place to place, singing their stories and the news that happened at that time.
The Troubadours used to sing love stories, to the ladies that were already
married. If the lady liked the Troubadour, she would drop her handkerchief
from her balcony, allowing him to go up stairs…then Italian people called the
husband as the ‘cornuto’.

Renaissance: ( XVI Century).

This period is just the contrary of the Middle Age. The human thinking was
At this period, instrumental music was more develop because there were every
time more experts in the construction of instruments (luthiers).
New musical forms were created as the Motete, and the short pieces for
keyboard instruments as the ‘virginal’ that was very famous in the british
In the last decades of this movement it was born the musical theatre form that
we know now a day as ‘The Opera’.
The most ancient opera that was kept until today is ‘The Orpheus’ composed
by the Italian Monteverdi.
Baroque: (XVII Century – 1750 death of Johann Sebastian

This movement is characterized by the complexity of the musical

lines or melodies (called polyphonism).
As in the rest of the arts, music is full of ornaments.
At this period of musical history tonal music was completely
There were famouses luthiers schools in Italy as the well known
Stradivari, or Amati.
Their master pieces were never overcame, and they are paid millions
of dollars now a day.
At this period very important musical forms were develop as the
‘concerto’ and ‘concerto grosso’.
The concept of the orchestra Conductor that we have, wasn’t
develop at the beginning of this movement. The Conductor used to
guide the orchestra while he was sitting playing the harpsichord (a
keyboard instrument).
Then the baton (batuta) began to be used.
Famouses composers of this period are: Bach, Haendel, Scarlatti,
Vivaldi, Purcell.

CLASSICISM:(From 1750 to nearly 1790).

This movement is just the opposite from the baroque.
It is characterized for the simplicity of the musical lines, and the harmony and
balanced structures of musical forms.
The Sonata form itself was develop at this period. It was first a piano form,
then it was introduced into the symphony by Beethoven.
Beethoven is in the middle of the Classicism and the Romanticism, he was a
revolutionist of music.
He was the first composer that was independent from the economical support
of the courts.
Other famous composers from the classicism are: Mozart, Haydn, Gluck,

ROMANTICISM:(From nearly 1790 to nearly the end of

the XIX Century).

This is the movement of the exalted feelings, the passion, the inner and deep
feelings of the author reflected on his own pieces.
We are not talking only about love, but also about patriotism, hate, anguish
and all what concerns to the human soul.
We can say that Romantic music always has a extra- musical connotation.
At this period the piano was almost completely develop in the technique
aspect, and that fact made the composers write a lot of piano pieces, that were
characterized for the virtuosity and the difficulty of its playing.
The Opera characteristic was the lyricism, that was develop by composers as
This lyricism in the Opera was called ‘Il Bel Canto’.
In the last decades of this period other movements were appearing as the
Impressionism (Debussy), the Expressionism, post-romanticism.
The most famouses composers of this period were: Schubert, Chopin, Liszt ,
Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner.


This is the artistic movement of the rupture in all the arts.

All the formal rules are broken, and artists search for a new language .
In order to develop these new language, very different and revolutionist
techniques are created.
We have Picasso, Braque, Dalí, Pollock in paintings. Miller, Faulkner,
Irving in literature.
In Music the first half of the century there was Schoemberg, Webern, Berg,
and the second half of the century there were Schaeffer, Boulez, Nono, Cage,
Stockhausen, among others.
The formal rules of music were broken first, by the destruction of the tonality,
and then by the introduction of the concept of noise inside the music.
For modern composers there’s no difference between sound and noise.
Anything could be use to make music. Conventional instruments as the violin
or the piano are still used, but you can also play music hitting a spoon on a
glass if you want (these are called unconventional instruments).
There were also some ‘extreme’ positions in the world of music as the one
who had the American John Cage (1912-1992), he tried to change the way we
listen to music ; in his notorious work ‘4 minutes and 33 seconds’, a pianist
sits at the piano for that length of time without actually playing anything!

That’s all for the moment. I hope you have liked it (after all I have
written) if not… as they said in the Middle Age…: you can burn in
hell!!! Ha, ha, ha!

Nadia H.