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The Baroque music period took place during 1600-1750. Baroque music is one that is described as starting minimally but then flourishing. Bass lines and dancing were added to this music. Which allowed it to expand and diversify over time. It’s also mentioned that this music is almost like a speech. When listening to this music it does seem like a dramatic reading of story.
Opera music thrived during this time. Opera music was inspired by Greek mythology. It told a story through music and grabbed the attention of listeners. This isn’t a genre that I am very familiar with. However, Greek mythology is fascinating and I was surprised that it played a part in opera music. This is for sure not something that I would have been able to spot while listening to this music.
The composer’s song that I listened to was Jean Baptiste Lully’s song “Miserere”. This song is exactly how I expected baroque music to sound. Opera music is a very distinct and easy one to pick out. This is why this song met my expectations of what was read. I still can’t imagine people dancing to this type of music. However, aside from that, the song “Miserere” was one that truly embodies baroque music.
The Medieval Period started around 470 AD and ended around the beginning of the renaissance. The Medieval Period excites me the most because it started the development of Western musical notation, which are sheets containing symbols that represent the pitch and duration of the sound. Musical notations are really important to music because it formed a way to communicate in the music world and was preserved throughout generations. The historical event within the Medieval I know the most is the Declaration of Magna Carta, which restricted the power of kings and showcased the importance of the constitution. The textbook defines the Medieval Period as a period that developed the ability to create musical notation and start of early church music.
The musical piece that interested me the most is “Je vivroie liement/Liement me deport” written by Guillaume de Machaut. This piece of music met my expectations of what the medieval and stood out to me the most because the use of different instruments and the vocals takes the edge off my mind. This style of music brings positive vibes to my ears.
The Romantic Period is one of the six historical periods of Western Art that lasted from the 1820-1900s. The Romantic period is explained to be revolutionary. Many musicians decided to experiment with their music breaking boundaries that were set before their time. The textbook explains that the romantic era’s, “universality of classical balance gave away to the precarious uniqueness of the particular.” This excites me because this means that music is slowly branching out to wider audiences. Their social status seems to not matter as much as it did before and more people can enjoy music for its craft.
A historical event that occurred during the Romantic Period is colonization and the rise of industrialization and nationalism. The era seems to reflect the historical events well since industrialization was the era of new inventions, the Romantic period invented new instruments and genres. The rise of nationalism reflected the pridefulness many musicians had during this era. Many performers showed off their “seemingly superhuman technique and bravura.” As mentioned before music in this era is described as grand and skillful. Concertos were still popular and showed off all the skills a musician had.
One of the composers that I chose to listen to was Franz Liszt. The piece I chose was “La Campanella” and I was amazed at the talent. He was able to play slow and gentle and before I knew it he immerses into a fast and intense moment. The description of the Romantic Period resembled the piece accurately. It had extreme playing that showed off a lot of his skills in a phenomenal way. Overall, the Romantic period was different from my thinking but still eye-opening and engaging.
In the Classical Period of music which ranges from 1730 to 1820. What excites me about this period of music is how we get to learn about the period of the composers that can be listed together with this period, composers that are the face and anyone can name when it comes to classic music. This period is also when The Enlightenment occurred meaning new ideas were coming about challenging traditional that brought “…reason, individual rights and empowerment…” (Music A Social Experience, 51). The Enlightenment takes a part as inspiration for the American and French Revolutions where both challenged and overthrew their oppressors because of unfair treatment & taxes. Moving forward, classical period music was said to be an “‘international’ style that drew from primary from Germanic and Italian tastes”(51), its a blend that is very structured when it comes to the balance, lines, and etc. This period of music also prioritized the difference in melodies, the tones, also bringing in new instruments being the symphony and string quartet as this period included music of “thematic development” which was a big part because this was a period where the music went from private to public audiences.
The composer I chose is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who is very well known composer. Mozarts musical piece “symphony no.25 in g minor” had surprised me because of all the instruments that the music had began with as i was expecting a more calm feeling but was struck with the opposite. But it did include a very noticeable contrast in melodies that was stated in the text book. I was reminded with how musical sounded like because I was expecting a very structured and calm sound.
The Twentieth-Century was a period of time full of new innovations that included advanced technology which made life a lot easier in modern society. This period of time really excites me the most because all the genres of music, movies, and games that are enjoyed by everyone are created during the twentieth century. The textbook stated that a Hungarian composer by the name of Bela Bartok (1881-1945) and other music researcher was able to create a new field in the world of science called comparative musicology, which was used to compare the traditional music of all the different part of the world and be combined to make a new music. Then in 1960, the term world music was emerged to describe this type of music.
The composer I chose was Jerome Kern (1885-1978) because after listening to his music kind of sound like it from the Classical Period but also at the same time it has the background notes that are from the Twentieth-Century. At first, I did not expect the music to be this peaceful and smooth but at the same time, it doesn’t sound like a piece of music from the Twentieth-Century.
The Twentieth-Century Period was characterized by remarkable new innovations in many different fields, and things that excited me about this period included the new genres of music that were started during this period of time. Some historical events I know from this time period include World Wars 1 and 2, the first flight of the Wright Brothers, and the invention of rap in the 1970s. The textbook describes music from this period as essentially experimental, as it tells is that composers (inspired by Expressionism) left the major-minor scale behind and explored atonality, which is music without a tonal center. In addition to this, electronic instruments were used in the 1950s and 60s, and tape recorders were used to manipulate sounds in the environment, while other composers (such as John Cage) challenged the very definition of “music”, by using ambient noise as their sound.
One of the composers from this time period is William Grant Still and the piece I chose from him was Afro-American Symphony – I. Moderato Assai. It sounds like what I expected to hear after reading the textbook, because the music does indeed have a slow and steady pulse, and it builds up/increases in volume and tempo as the orchestra continues to play (which is characteristic of minimalism). The mood is also very bright, and when the flute comes in, the tempo picks up and becomes much more fast paced and frantic.
The Renaissance period comes from the word ‘rebirth’. During this era there was an interest in writings, philosophies, and art of ancient Greece and Rome. People started to value empirical evidence and reasoning compared to speculative which is without data. Music started to be characterized by textures of intertwining melodies and the Church and nobility became important patrons of music. One point that excites me about this period is how music sung by voices survived since instrumental music often gets improvised. Since I play the violin it is relieving to hear how original pieces of music still exist even if it is not for instruments.
A historical event that I knew about this period from high school is the Protestant Reformation. It was a sixteenth century European movement aimed at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The textbook describes music from that period “fresh” since Martin Luther created a new genre. His genre was named ‘the chorale’ which was a tune with German text sung by the congregation. Martin Luther believed that music sung in the vernacular was essential to worship, hence the reason why German music started to thrive during this era.
One composer I picked to listen to under the Renaissance time period was Thomas Morley. The piece I listened to is called ‘Sing We and Chant It’. This music does satisfy my textbook expectations because it is an up beat song and during the Renaissance one would think of optimistic music since it is during an era of rebirth. There were advancements during society and this song is a representation of that. Also in my high school orchestra class we would listen to songs from this era, and they all had a similar beat and rhythm.
The Twentieth-Century Period was a time period where most things transitioned to technology. It was where there was a significant change in how people lived. What excites me the most about this particular time period is how electrical instruments were created to make different sounds. It mentions in the textbook reading how tape recorders, for instance, were used to manipulate sounds to make them sound different. I found the fact that you could change up the sounds to make the same sounds sound different as fascinating. During this time period, one event I know is the infamous Holocaust which was where millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War. The textbook describes the music from this time period as the music that would “explore the dark reaches of the unconscious mind”. An example of this would be where John Cage performed absolutely nothing at all and called the noises from the concert hall “music”.
One composer that I picked listed under that time period at the end of Chapter 1 is Igor Stravinsky. I picked “The Rite of the Spring” because I liked how in the beginning of the song it started off really calm but as the song kept playing it got faster and more dramatic. The beginning of the song did not seem like what I expected after reading the textbook. However, towards the 2nd quarter of the song, it did seem like what I read about in the textbook. I felt that “dark” image from it.
During the Medieval times, which took place between 400 and 1430, Western notation was first created to record music. However, commoners music which was created without being notated was lost. Lyrics and melodies were first introduced such as polyphony. It excites me and interests me that subtle and simple music was created because it was the very beginning of the creation and notation of music. I expect this music to lack layering and range of pitch due to the fact that it was the first ever music created.
I decided to listen to Hildegard of Bingens (1098–1179) music. The piece named ”Voices of Angels – Voices of Ascension” sounded a lot like what the textbook described it to be. Most of the music contained one single voice without any background noises or layering. The sound of the singers voice was subtle and remained mainly the same high pitch throughout the piece. There was one single singer for the entire piece, who sang slowly and gracefully.
Based on the first letter of your last name, you will write a blog on one of the six historical periods of Western Art music described in Chapter 1.
Twentieth Century: W-Z
Some questions to answer after reading the textbook’s description of the period and reviewing the slides from the course schedule: What about this period excites you? Are there any historical events within the period that you know about? How does the textbook describe the music from that period?
Next, pick one of the composers listed under that time period at the end of Chapter 1 and listen to some of their music. Tell us which composer/piece you picked. Does the music sound like what you expected from the textbook or your own knowledge? Why or why not?
Due Sunday, February 9 by 12pm.
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