|Jacques de Liège
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)
Magister Leoninus (Léonin) (1163 – 1190)
Adam de la Halle (1238 – 1288)
Philippe de Vitry (1291 – 1361)
Francesco Landini (1325 – 1397)
Perotinus Magister (Pérotin) (~1160 – 1220)
Jean de Muris (~1290 – ~1355)
Guillaume de Machaut (~1300 – 1377)
A large proportion of the music developed in Europe during the medieval period was vocal, both of a religious and secular nature. In church music, this took the form of Gregorian and other types of chants, while non-religious music consisted largely of the songs of traveling minstrels and troubadours.
Vocal music was, until the 9th century, written for one voice part only. Then a second, lower part was introduced, which duplicated the top melody exactly by an interval of a fifth or fourth. A third voice was sometimes added, sounding an octave below. The idea of contrary motion slowly developed, in which the lower part moved in the opposite direction to the top. While the idea of two or more voices, or polyphony, began to influence church music, secular songs continued to be written for one voice, accompanied by various instruments.
During the 12th century, vocal music became more rhythmically interesting as added parts began to include more notes than the principal melody, now called the cantus firmus.
|Thomas Morley (1557 – 1602)
John Dowland (1562-1626)
John Taverner (~1475 – 1545)
Thomas Tallis (~1505 – 1585)
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (~1525 – 1594)
Orlande de Lassus (~1532 – 1594)
William Byrd (~1539 – 1623)
The Renaissance was a time of rebirth and massive cultural upheaval. Artists of all kinds in western Europe became more aware of the classical past and the world beyond the narrow confines of medieval theology. Music was nonetheless influenced by the general receptivity to new ideas.
The Flemish composer Lassus and the Italian composer Palestrina were both masters of Renaissance polyphony, in which voice parts are given equal importance and share in the melody. Tomás Victoria, from Spain, was one to the great composers of counterpoint. And, in England, secular music flourished with Byrd, who wrote madrigals, instrumental works, and solo songs in addition to his church music.
The madrigal was one of the most influential and most popular forms of music during the Renaissance. It consisted of a composition for several voices and was generally unaccompanied. The text usually followed amorous or pastoral themes (secular in content rather than religious). The composer Lassus wrote some 150 madrigals, which are highly expressive in their strong rhythms and dramatic mood swings. It was Palestrina’s skillful use of the secular madrigal as a basis for many of his sacred works that gave his music its unique quality.
|Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 – 1621)
Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643)
Heinrich Schütz (1585 – 1672)
Samuel Scheidt (1587 – 1654)
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632 – 1687)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (~1634 – 1704)
Dietrich Buxtehude (~1637 – 1707)
The most important figure of the Early Baroque period was the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi. He transformed music through his imaginative development of traditional forms. In particular, the dramatic styles of his madrigals (vocal compositions) anticipates the solo cantata and operatic recitative (a singing styles that resembles speech) of the Late Baroque period. Monteverdi was also the earliest significant composer of opera.
Other music that flourished during this period was church organ music. Dutch composer Jan Sweelinck pioneered a number of forms, including the fugue, which strongly influenced J.S. Bach. Another leading musician was Dietrich Buxtehude, whose fame inspired Bach to walk two hundred miles just to hear him play.
The early 17th century saw the rise of Baroque monody, where the melody is given to one instrument of voice, while a basso continuo (“continuing bass”), usually consisting of a keyboard and bass melody instrument, supplies the accompaniment. This did much to distinguish it from the polyphony of the Renaissance. The basso continuo was a common device in both vocal and instrumental Baroque music. Its keyboard part was never written out, but each chord change was indicated by numbers written over or under the bass line.
|Johann Pachelbel (1653 – 1706)
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Alessandro Scarlatti (1660 – 1725)
François Couperin (1668 – 1733)
Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1751)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
Johann Mattheson (1681 – 1764)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757)
George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759)
The greatest legacy handed down by the Late Baroque period was its enormous wealth of operas (such as Handel’s Serse) and oratorios, (two of the greatest being the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach and Handel’s magnificent Messiah). It is perhaps these two oratorios which most typify the sense of opulence and splendor associated with the period. Other major musical contributions of the Late Baroque era were various dance forms, such as the minuet, gigue, courante, allemande, and sarabande. These dances reflected movements that were ornamental, which was another key feature of this particular time in the history of music.
The concerto grosso; the key instrumental form of the Late Baroque period, reflected the contrast between two groups of instruments: One was a small body of string soloists, known as the concertino, concertato, or concertante; the other group, known as the ripieno, formed the larger string section. The two groups would either alternate with one another or, at times, play together. Some of the greatest concerti grossi are those by Corelli, J.S. Bach, and Handel. It was from this early concerto form that the later Classical and Romantic concertos developed.
|Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714 – 1787)
C.P.E. Bach (1714 – 1788)
Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz (1717 – 1757)
Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
Luigi Boccherini (1743 – 1805)
Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752 – 1814)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
ErnstTheodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776 – 1822)
Heinrich Heine (1777 – 1856)
Based on the ideals of Ancient Greece and Rome, the Classical period stressed the importance of symmetry and form in the arts. In music, the elaborate ornamentation of the Late Baroque period gave way to a new simplicity and elegance. Emotional content was still present, but it was never allowed to obscure the clarity and formal structure of the music.
The Classical period has been called the “Golden Age of Music” because it was at this time that the major forms of Classical music–the symphony, concerto, sonata, and string quartet–were fully developed.
The sonata is the most important musical form of the Classical period: It influenced the development of all areas of orchestral and chamber music. Although the sonata was used most often in the opening movements of compositions, it is also found in slow movements and finales.
The sonata is made of of three sections: the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation. Like a story with a beginning, middle, and end, the result is a musical piece that is at once clearly symmetrical and satisfyingly whole, but which conveys a sense of growth as it unfolds.
|Nicolò Paganini (1782-1840)
Carl Maria von Weber (1786 – 1826)
Giaocchino Antonio Rossini (1792-1868)
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Gaetano Domenico Maria Donizetti (1797 – 1848)
Vincenzo Bellini (1801 – 1835)
Adolphe Adam (1803 – 1856)
Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
Mikhail Glinka (1804 – 1857)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)
Frederic Chopin (1810 – 1849)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)
Clara Wieck Schumann (1819 – 1896)
The early Romantic period was a time of great thinkers, artists, and scientists. It is possible that the wealth of creativity at the time reflected the desire of 18th century philosophers to reassess reality and, in particular, man’s role in the universe.
Early Romantic music was all about emotion and individual expression–the extremes of joy and sorrow, triumph and dejection, passion and despair. The intensity of passion, individualism and the striving for self-expression are central to the Romantic spirit.
In the early Romantic period, the concerto emerged as one of the chief musical forms of the concert platform. The use of a soloist typified the Romantic spirit of individual self-expression. In the Romantic concerto, dynamic contrast could be taken to extremes, with the delicacy of a solo instrument balanced against the full sound of an orchestra. From the performance point of view, too, the concerto exemplified the age of the Romantic spirit. As a result, showmanship and technique became just as important as musical form and content.
|Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
Charles-François Gounod (1818 – 1893)
Jacques Offenbach (1819 – 1880)
Franz von Suppé (1819 – 1895)
Franz Strauss (1822 – 1905)
Bedrich Smetana (1824 – 1884)
Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)
Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899)
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829 – 1869)
Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein (1829 – 1894)
Hans von Bülow (1830 – 1894)
Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (1833 – 1887)
Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921)
Léo Delibes (1836 – 1891)
Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875)
Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (1838 – 1920)
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841 – 1894)
Antonin Dvorák (1841 – 1904)
Arthur Sullivan (1842 – 1900)
Jules Massenet (1842 – 1912)
Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 – 1908)
Gabriel Urbain Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848 – 1918)
Leoš Janácek (1854 – 1928)
John Phillip Sousa (1854 – 1932)
Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934)
Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924)
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz (1860 – 1909)
Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911)
Frederick Delius (1862 – 1934)
Pietro Mascagni (1863 – 1945)
Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)
Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)
Franz Lehár (1870 – 1948)
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943)
The Late Romantic period saw the blossoming of self-expression in music. This was especially evident in the music of Tchaikovsky, which reflected the inner turmoil and anguish of his life. Many composers felt that by the time Wagner died, Romanticism had reached its limits of expression. Toward the end of the Late Romantic period, many new and diverse musical styles began to emerge – notably, the nationalism of composers such as Sibelius and Elgar, the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, and the atonal modernism of Schönberg.
Grand opera was perhaps the greatest legacy of the Late Romantic period. In terms of content, there was a world of difference between the deep, psychological subtexts of Wagner’s epic operas, Verdi’s dramas of human passion, and Puccini’s realistic portrayals of everyday life. But there was one element common to nearly all grand opera, namely a dramatic unfolding of events usually ending in tragedy. Wagner’s musical drama Tristan and Isolde is arguably the clearest expression of Late Romantic grand opera.
|Early 20th Cent.
|Anton von Webern (1833 – 1945)
Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Erik Satie (1866 – 1925)
Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951)
Charles Ives (1874 – 1954)
Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)
Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)
Franz Schreker (1878 – 1934)
Ottorino Respighi (1879 – 1936)
Béla Bartók (1881 – 1945)
Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967)
Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)
Sir George Dyson (1883 – 1964)
Alban Berg (1885 – 1935)
Ernst Toch (1887 – 1964)
Arthur Honegger (1892 – 1955)
Darius Milhaud (1892 – 1974)
Virgil Garnett Thomson (1896 – 1989)
George Gershwin (1898 – 1937)
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 – 1967)
William Turner Walton (1902 – 1983)
Elliott Cook Carter (1908 -)
Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992)
Frank Loesser (1910 – 1969)
Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981)
Witold Lutoslawski (1913 – 1994)
Milton Byron Babbitt (1916 -)
Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990)
Toward the end of the 19th century, Romanticism reached its limits of expression, which is evident in Wagner’s operas. As a result, diverse and experimental music forms began to emerge, breaking away from the mainstream of Romanticism. These forms included the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel and the surrealism of Satie. The emphasis on irregular rhythms within Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring caused its first audience, in 1913, to riot. Then followed the experimentation in scales and rhythms of Bartók. But possibly the most significant in terms of lasting influence was the atonal and serial approach of Schoenberg and his followers, Berg and Webern.
A key form of music to emerge at the beginning of the 20th century was atonalism (not having any definite key). Schoenberg defined atonalism as the twelve-tone system and developed it into serial music. The twelve-tone system treated all twelve notes of the chromatic scale with equal importance, and no note could be repeated until the series had run its course. The whole series could be moved up or down, inverted or run backward. Serialsim went a step further and formalized the use of rhythm and harmony as well as pitch.
|Mid 20th Cent
|Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958)
Edgard Varèse (1883 – 1965)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)
Paul Hindemith (1895 – 1963)
Carl Orff (1895 – 1982)
Ernst Bacon (1898 – 1990)
Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)
Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)
Lukas Foss (1922 -
Andre Previn (1929 -)
During the mid 20th century, music evolved in many different directions. Some composers took Schoenberg ‘s “serial” system to new limits. The rise of jazz, as well as an increasing awareness of non-Western music, provided additional inspiration for many, while others ventured into electronic music by manipulating sounds and noises recorded on tape – a style known as musique concrète. Yet another route was that of “chance” music, notably in the work of John Cage, in which the elements of a composition or performance could be determined by, say, “the throw of the dice”.
In the 1930s and 1940s, many composers returned to forms and techniques of the Baroque and Classical eras. This “Neoclassical” style was a reaction to the emotional, dramatic character of Romanticism. The Neoclassicists turned to past models as a vehicle for expressing their ideas. The Neoclassicists wrote for small chamber ensembles and preferred a tightly knit treatment of thematic material. They did not copy 17th and 18th century forms, but took elements, such as the fugue, and added their own modern harmonies and rhythms. An example of this is Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress (1951).
|Late 20th Cent
||Dmitry Shostakovich (1906 – 1975)
John Cage (1912 – 1992)
Pierre Boulez (1925 -)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928 -)
Stephen Sondheim (1930 -)
Henryk Mikolaj Górecki (1933 -)
Harrison Birtwistle (1934 -)
Steve Reich (1936 -)
The rapid advances in technology during the late 20th century are partly responsible for the emergence of a wide variety of musical forms. Electronics played an important role in the development of music, both classical and popular, from the 1960s onward. The ability of the synthesizer to generate artificial tones and sounds attracted composers such as John Cage, Edgard Varèse, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Beginning in the 1970s, the use of computers, with their ability to memorize and play back whole compositions, discouraged live performances. Many composers turned to writing film scores, for which the precision of computerized music is ideally suited.
Minimalism, which emerged in the 1960s, focuses on the development of a single aspect of music, such as pitch or rhythm, while keeping other elements constant. This approach owes much to Indian raga music, in which the pattern of music changes very little. Computers play a large part in minimalist music because they can make fine, precise alterations. Steve Reich, for instance, made tiny changes in pulse by playing two identical patterns at the same time and slightly altering the speed of one of the patterns.