Music History

6 Periods of Music History
(Ancient) – Doesn’t really count  Medieval  Renaissance  Baroque  Classical  Romantic  Modern

Ancient Period
This term refers to the music of the Ancient civilizations (Greece, Rome, Babylon, Mesopotamia, et cetera.  Very little is known about the music of these civilizations, but it is certain that music played a part in their lives.  How can historians know anything about music from these cultures?

Medieval Period
800 – 1300 C.E.  Music was very simple.  Gregorian Chant  Monophony vs. Polyphony  Beginnings of Notation – all handwritten

Antiquity (a.k.A.) Medieval Period 0-1400 A.D.
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Medieval music’s melody
interval between each note is minimal

Three types of medieval chants
Syllabic - 1:1 ratio of syllable to a note  Neumatic - a syllable is sung with a group of notes that have very minimal intervals  Melismatic - a syllable can be sung with extended intervals of notes

This period had great contribution to the music of faith now.  This is when songs of religion began.

example: great amen

Medieval Notation

Renaissance Period – 1300-1600 C.E.  All music can be broken down into two main divisions Sacred and Secular  Sacred – having to do with religion  Secular – having nothing to do with religion

Each division had different types of music.  How did musicians make a living?  Famous Composers: William Byrd, Giovanni di Palestrina, Claudio Monteverdi, Josquin Desprez.

Baroque Period -1600-1700 C.E.  Music Theory had advanced a lot since ancient times  Major Composers – J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, and G.F. Haendel

Bach’s own Handwriting

Baroque Notation Printing

While the notation style is still not the same as today’s, the printing press made music much more readable than ever before.

Classical Period – 1700-1800 C.E.  Music Theory and instruments were mostly formed by now to our modern standards.  Major Composers – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn

Romantic Period – 1800-1900 C.E.  Musicians making a living on their own now.  Major Composers – Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Peter Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms


Modern Period – 1900 C.E.– Present  Classical music led to the development of popular music. Jazz, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop  In the 1900’s popular music became the dominant style of music.

Modern Classical Music
Classical music still exists in today’s music world  It is not as popular with younger generations as pop music is.  Modern classical is very different than the music it came from.  Three different ways that classical music still exists. Pop classical, Retrospective classical, and new classical.

Modern Classical
Classical Music in the 20th century has many different styles.  Neo-classicism, atonality, serial music, electronic music, et cetera.  Important Composers: Copland, Stravinsky, Schönberg.



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Chant Manuscript - William Byrd – Giovanni Plestrina – Claudio Monteverdi – Josquin Desprez – J.S. Bach - G.F. Händel – Bach Manuscript – Sacred Music Magazine – Spring 2006



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W.A. Mozart – F.J. Haydn - L.V. Beethoven - J. Brahms - F. Schubert – P.I. Tchaikovsky A. Copland - I. Stravinsky – A. Schönberg -

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