The evolution of music

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The paper talks about how music has changed over the years sinces the medieval era

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The evolution of music

  1. 1. Wise 1Tyler WiseMs. BennettBritish Literature16 September 2011 The Evolution of Music Have you ever listened to an old song that was composed around the Baroque Era, orsome other time period? Some people might listen to these styles of music and think that theysound totally different from modern day music. Also, to certain people this style of music mightseem like a whole new language, depending on the time period in which it was composed. Thereason people might view the baroque style of music as a new language is because music hasgrown and developed over the past six-hundred years since music history was first recorded.Music history made its first appearance during the Renaissance, which occurred around the timeof 1400 C.E, and the beginning of music history opened the door for people to really expressthemselves through writing new styles of music. Once the Renaissance Era passed, the BaroqueEra began and introduced a whole new type of playing. This style of music had changeddrastically by causing music to be used for more religious events and people were only to play orsing music during church services, and composers were to use only a single style of writingwhile composing, giving them no freedom to express themselves. This era lasted around 150years before people got tired and bored of this music. The Classical Era began around the year of1750 and brought more of a rebellious feeling into the musical world. The reason why thesefeelings were brought about is because people no longer had to listen to what the church said,and they were able to compose at their own free will without any consequences. With this newfreedom, composers began to get crazy with their writing and began using a lot of notes in their
  2. 2. Wise 2pieces. All of these eras critically defined the way that music is composed, and also how musictoday sounds compared to how music sounded at the beginning. The Renaissance was one of the most productive eras of music because of the vastamount of technology that was brought into the world at the time and fine art was beginning toflourish. ( Music History) . Some of the new technology included new forms of printing musicwhich made it easier for composers to publish their work, and kept them from having to writeevery individual part for each instrument or voice. There were also many different advances ininstrument technology, and with these new advances the world was introduced to certaininstruments such as lutes, violins, viola, different variations of the guitar, and many otherstringed instruments. During this time another kind of instrument was created, and theseinstruments were called wind instruments; in order to play their instruments the musicians wouldhave to put air into the instrument to make sound come out. Throughout the Renaissance most ofthe music that was heard was the music of the minstrels. The job of the minstrel would normallybe to carry around a lute or some other stringed instrument and sing songs that included storiesof brave heroes or another important event in their history. The other way that people heardmusic was during their church services, and it was played to praise God. Other than these twoways, there was no real opportunity for people to really get involved with music. Toward the endof the Renaissance Era some composers decided to try a new style of composing by adding morethan one melodic line to a single piece of music. This type of composing is called polyphonic; inwhich two or more instruments or voices would be play two or more different melodies at thesame time. (Think Quest: The Medieval Era) This type of composing is very well known today,and it is used in almost every piece of modern music that is written. The Renaissance wasflourished until the Roman Catholic Church began to take over the people’s culture, and started
  3. 3. Wise 3setting strict values for the people to follow, or they would have to suffer dire consequences. Forexample, if someone were to disregard the values that were set to them by the church then theycould be put to death in an instant for their crime. These new values that were now set for thepeople to follow is what caused the Renaissance to end and made the world leap into theBaroque Period. The Baroque Era, which occurred from 1600-1750, was one of the strictest time periodsin music history. What made it the strictest time period in music history was that music was onlypermitted for the church, and the Roman Catholic Church had ordered all music to be played forthe glory of God and nothing else. The consequence of not following this command was ex-communication, and possibly even for committing such an atrocity. During this period many newinstruments succeeded the instruments from the previous era. These instruments included thetrumpet, trombone, bassoon, flute, and oboe. A big difference that made this period popular wasthe first use of an orchestra, and the use of an orchestra opened a new door for composers tobegin writing longer and better pieces of music for musicians to perform. The ensembles thatplayed these new pieces such as an opera or a sonata normally consisted of string instrumentssuch as violins, cellos, and bass viols. The new wind instruments that were created during thistime never really had a chance to be heard because the world was still learning about how thesenew wind instruments work, and also the mechanics of them. Unlike the previous time period,the old way of composing called homophonic writing became popular once again. Homophonicis where the composer writes a line of music that only has one melody or moving line. One of thefathers of music, Johann Sebastian Bach, was born during the Baroque Era and brought manynew concepts about music into the world. As a child he was very talented and played the organ,the clavichord and sang in his churches choir. (Think Quest: The Baroque Era) He was the one
  4. 4. Wise 4person who set down the basis of music theory and created all of the rules composers must usewhile writing pieces of music. Even about 300 years later, the rules that he created are still usedby many of the great composers today. As time went on the people of the Baroque Era began toget unruly, and people began to defy the Roman Catholic Church. With all of the composerspeers beginning to rebel against the church caused many of the composers to jump on thebandwagon and refuse to write their music for the church and start to write pieces for thingsother occasions. This revolt toward the church led the world into the most famous era of musichistory, the Classical Era. The Classical Era of music history occurred during the years of 1750-1820 and it was oneof the greatest eras in music history. For a composer to be in this time period they were able towrite music of their own free will and actually be able to publish and have their music heard bythe world. Like the previous era, homophonic composition grew even more popular than it waspreviously, and it brought composers to begin writing pieces for certain instruments calledconcertos. A concerto is a duet between two different instruments normally piano and some otherinstrument chosen by the composer. One of the most common instruments used in a concertowas the trumpet. The concerto originally consisted of three movements, and first began as aquick march. Then later the concerto would move in to a slower lyric-based movement, andfinally the concerto would end with a fast closing movement that would put an “exclamationpoint” at the end of the piece. The other ways that music was composed included symphonicpieces, which for the first time included the wind instruments from the previous years that werenot able to be used because of the lack of knowledge people had about these new instruments,but with the new innovations to the instruments players were now able to accurately play in theensemble without problems from the instruments. Some of the problems that musicians have
  5. 5. Wise 5with the new instruments is that they must be very well trained in their instrument of choice inorder to produce a good sound. One of the composers who was the most famous composer of histime was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When he was only four the young Mozart was able to playthe harpsichord with ease and he was inspired to play the harpsichord from his sister playingaround him. (Think Quest: The Classical Era) Mozart was not a regular young man he was theepitome of a prodigy; he was able to easily play by ear anything that he could come up with.Also, he had wrote countless amounts of operas and symphonies, which made Mozart famousbeyond belief. Even though he was the best-known composer he lived a long life of sadness withvery bad luck throughout. The Classical Era of music was getting very popular until a few peoplethought that the way music sounded had grown dull, and the world did not fancy music as muchas they used to. Therefore the world was brought into the modern era of music. Music history has shown the world how differently people look at music and why themusic that people listen to today sounds the way it does. The Renaissance caused the world ofmusic to first flourish, and without it the world may have not turned out quite like it has. Thegreat but strict Baroque Era brought a new feeling toward music and paved the way to theClassical Era because people did not believe that music should be centered around God and onlyGod. The Classical Era bore some of the greatest composers to walk the face of earth into theworld and changed the meaning of music completely. In conclusion, music history is one ofthose things that has changed the world, and also the people in it; without it we may have notgotten this far in life.
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