Chris WeisEnglish Lit. /Comp. AMs. Tillery14 October 2011 Throughout the centuries the arts have been a source of inspiration, imagination,and emotion. Historically nearly every single culture has a form of music and that hasinfluenced the cultures themselves and music itself. Music has evolved drastically frommany forms and into many forms over the different time periods that generally stayconsistent with historic era labeling. The earliest record of music that we have is from the Medieval Era whichencompasses c. 1150 – c. 1400. The music of this time period was religiously based andconsisted of virelais, estampies and ballades to be used in church. Most of the recordsoriginate from churches of the time periods because music was used strictly in churchonly for worship. “Gregorian chant and plainsong which are monodic (i.e. written as onemusical line) gradually developed during the 11th to 13th centuries into organum (i.e.two or three lines moving simultaneously but independently, therefore almostinadvertently representing the beginnings of harmony).” ("History of Classical").However, organum is associated with strict rules of harmony and melody writing whichis one of the first rules in the musical world. One of the earliest forms of a band is found in the Middle Ages. The Troubadourswere traveling groups of musicians that performed on the road for different villages.Troubadours sung songs of courtly love and chivalry. Another group, the Minstrels,
“earned a living by the arts of poetry and music, and sang verses to the accompaniment ofa lute, harp or other instruments.” ("Medieval Music Index"). String instruments such asthe harp and wind instruments such as the lute were commonly used instruments of thetime. Most of the instruments and concepts of the time were carried on into the next eraof music. “The fifteenth century witnessed vastly increased freedoms, most particularly interms of what is actually perceived as harmony and polyphony (the simultaneousmovement of two or three interrelated parts).” (“History of Classical”). The greatestaccomplishment that the Renaissance Era of music produced was the advance of music inthe form of polyphony. Polyphony used two or more independent melodic voices incomposing a song. The individual parts of polyphony were written, in relation to eachother, at specific intervals to form chords that sounded pleasant. The Renaissance saw theblending of parts as opposed to the contrasting of parts and more detail to the flow ofharmony and a steady chord progression. These developments gave a basis for broaderpossibilities for musical growth. During the Renaissance there is the outbreak of secular music. “The main type[s]was the song, lied (German), frottola (Italian), chanson (French), madrigal (Italian) andvillancico (Spanish).” ("Renaissance Music"). In 1588 Italian Madrigals were publishedin England in English and they became extremely popular. There are three types ofmadrigal. One type of madrigal is the “…Madrigal Proper - This kind was through-composed (The music is different all the time.) There is a lot of word-painting music thatillustrates words.” ("Renaissance Music"). Another type is “The Ballett - It wassometimes danced as well as sung. The texture is mainly chordal. Whereas a madrigal
proper is through-composed, a ballett is strophic (two or more verses set to the samemusic. The most noticeable feature of a ballett is the fa-la-la refrain.” ("RenaissanceMusic"). These songs were performed mainly for upper class entertainment.Instrumentation of one of these groups could range from a lute, a viol, a sackbut, or avalve less trumpet. The next period of music is the Baroque Era. The Baroque Era when compared tothe predecessors can be said to be extravagant, formal, and ornate. The Baroque period’sgreatest evolution is of the finer details in music such as tempo, volume control, and mostimportantly the belief in the doctrine of affection. Composers during this period couldexpress themselves through their music and did this through the tempo changes andvolume mechanics used still to this day. Another substantial development of the Baroque Era was homophony andmonody. “Imitative polyphony (more than one line of music) still was an extremelyimportant factor in writing and playing music, while the homophonic method (a musicaltechnique that displays a vast separation amongst the melody line and theaccompaniment) was gaining acceptance and use quite rapidly.” ("The Baroque Era").Homophony is the composing of multiple voices or instruments to move togetherharmonically and in doing so form chords much like polyphony did. However, thedifferences in polyphony and homophony are slightly different but make a vast differencemusically. Homophony uses one dominant voice over accompanying voices that formchords.
The Baroque Era music can be most described as dramatic. The opera wasintroduced in the Baroque Era along with the formation of the orchestra. Soloist partswere written more commonly in Baroque pieces than before giving more importance oninstrumentalists. Composers paid more attention to the properties of the instruments theywere writing for and formed concepts of instrument grouping. The Baroque period is awealth of musical expansion. The Classical Era of music is when composers such as Wolfgang AmadeusMozart and Ludwig van Beethoven focus on clarity of thought and form through music.Classical pieces have a lighter feel than Baroque music had but was also mainlyhomophonic. Diversity of melodies and key changes within a song became morecommon allowing for a change in mood. The Classical period is known for the sonatastyle written frequently during this time. A sonata is used at the beginning of acomposition and highlights themes from the exposition before hand by a small group ofinstruments. The symphony is another style that arose out of this time period. “Thestandard symphony has four movements; the inner two usually include a slow movementand a movement based on a dance form or having a dance-like quality. There are severalpopular choices for the forms of the outer two movements, but some version of sonataform is the most common.” ("Classical Music and the Music"). During this timecomposers also wrote concertos which is a style of song that features a soloist instrumentaccompanied by the orchestra or a smaller group of instruments. The end of the Classicalperiod is marked by the development and exploration of musical limits by its composers,which gave into the next most common period, the Romantic Era.
The Romantic Era of music is as much if not more affected by the culturalchanges of its time then of its predecessors. “More than anything else, the 17th and 18thcenturies in Europe had been an era of discovery--a discovery not only of ‘new’ worlds,but also of the laws of science which govern and explain the universe.” ("Classical Musicand Romantic"). Throughout this time period artist portray Nature as mysterious and aweinspiring which still stands true in the eyes of the composers of the time. The composersof this time were very much affected by the change to city life as well. “Concretely we may say that music of the 19th century is: more concerned withcolor, whether of chord or instrumentation…” (Augusta State University). The works ofthis period tend to do the radical to achieve emotional effect on its audience. The use ofrandom key changes and sub dominant motion instead of dominant is more common.Unlike its predecessor, Romanticism strives for “a more radical kind of expression,seeking out the new, the curious, and the adventurous…” (Augusta State University). Theextreme works of either arrangement or of texture is held more highly than the controlledand balanced works of the Classical Era during the Romantic Era. Romantic Era musicgained a sense of philosophy or of deeper meaning. Emotion became more important thantechnical details. The Romantic Era also gave expansion to instrumentation adding thepiccolo, English horn, contrabassoon, bass and soprano clarinets, trombone, tuba, andharp to the orchestra. The size of works during this time was as large as the symphony toas small as a nocturne. The Romantic Era was expressive and boundless. The history of music is overwhelming in complexity. Many have argued who canbe attributed to inventing certain aspects. Music style has changed more that the actual
mechanics of writing music and with each time there is its own changes whether they bemechanics or stylistic. The outcome of the Western development of music is extravagantand took a lot of evolving to reach what it is today.
Works CitedAugusta State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www.aug.edu/~cshotwel/ 4350.Romantictraits.html>. We see the in the Romantic Period several perfections of the predecessing methods and styles of music composition. New forms consist of: nocturne, ballade, etude, impromptu, intermezzo, mazurka, and polonaise. Music cycle is developed. Symphonic poem is another concept developed.“The Baroque Era.” Think Quest Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/history/history-bar.htm>. The term Baroque era describes the style or period of European music between the years of 1600 and 1750. The term Baroque was derived from a Portuguese word meaning “a pearl of irregular shape.” The word Baroque was initially used to imply strangeness, abnormality and extravagance, applying more to art than music. It is only in the 20th century that this term has been employed to refer to a period in music history.“Classical Music and Romantic Music.” Music 345. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://trumpet.sdsu.edu/M151/Romantic_Music1.html>. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the culmination of the Classical Period, ended the Classical Period and ushered the Romantic period in. The Romantic Era’s musical changes and developements can be attributed to what the art world was experiencing at the time. Progression and the Age of Reason, using science and technology to explain things.“Classical Music and the Music of the Classical Era.” Connexions . N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://cnx.org/content/m15294/latest/>. The Classical Era, came
after Baroque, gave way to more natural and less complex music. Simple harmonies and melodies instead of just multiple harmonies competing for the main theme of the song.Classical Works. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www.classicalworks.com/html/glossary.html>. A glossary of music terms and music references.Columbia . N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://www.columbia.edu/itc/music/ito/history/>. 10th and 11th centuries saw the application of sacred lyrics to polyphonic music.Dr. Estrella’s Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://www.stevenestrella.com/composers/index.html?styletimeline.html>. Timeline, starting from the 500 b.c.a. to the 21st century, of the composers and noteable achievements in musical history.“History of Classical Music.” Naxos. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www.naxos.com/education/brief_history.asp>. The Gregorian chant and Polyphonic methods, which are monodic, of composing music develope in the eleventh through thirteenth century into organum.ipl2. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2011. <http://ipl2server-2.ischool.drexel.edu/div/mushist/>. The Renaissance is where we see the developement of polyphony in the Netherlands. Secular music started to flourish in this period as well.“Medieval Music Index.” Medieval Life and Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http:// www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-music/index.htm>.
“Music of the Classical Period.” Washington State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/hum_303/classical.html>. The classical period is where we see the music developement we are familiar with and that is most appealing and natural feeling, homophonic music.“Renaissance Music .” RPFuller. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. <http://www.rpfuller.com/gcse/music/renaissance.html>.Think Quest Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/ history/music-history.htm>. The Medieval Period is the most remote and longest of the music era’s in history.