music, Western

music, Western


      history of Western music from ancient times to the present.

      All ancient civilizations entered historical times with a flourishing musical culture. That the earliest writers explained it in terms of legend and myth is evidence of the remote beginnings of the art of sound. Among the speculations about its origin, the more plausible are that it began as a primitive form of communication, that it grew out of a device to expedite communal labour, or that it originated as a powerful adjunct to religious ceremonies. While such theories must necessarily remain speculative, it is clear, despite the prehistoric musical artifacts found in central Europe, that the cradle of Western music was the fertile crescent cupping the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. There the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Hebrew nations, among others, evolved political, social cultures that were absorbed by the conquering Greeks and, in turn, by the Romans, who transported a relatively sophisticated art form back to western Europe.

      In all of these early cultures the social functions of music were essentially the same since their climate, geographic location, cultural pace, and mutual influences produced many more social similarities than differences. The primary function of music was apparently religious, ranging from heightening the effect of “magic” to ennobling liturgies. The other musical occasions depicted in both pictures and written accounts were equally functional: stirring incitements to military zeal, soothing accompaniments to communal or solitary labour, heightening aids to dramatic spectacles, and enlivening backgrounds to social gatherings that involved either singing or dancing or both. In every case musical sounds were an adjunct either to bodily movement (dance, march, game, or work) or to song. Many centuries were to pass before pleasure in euphonious sound became an end in itself.

The establishment of Western musical traditions

Roots in antiquity
Ancient Middle East and Egypt
      The inhabitants of the Mesopotamian region around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (the Sumerians (Sumer), the Babylonians (Babylonia), and the Assyrians) flourished from c. 3500 to c. 500 BC. Their pictures and the few surviving artifacts indicate that they had instruments of every basic type—idiophones (idiophone), whose sound is made by resonating as a whole; aerophones (aerophone), which resonate a column of blown air; chordophones (chordophone), with strings to be plucked or struck; and membranophones (membranophone), made of stretched skins over a resonating body. An undecipherable hymn engraved in stone, dating from c. 800 BC, is evidence of a primitive system of musical notation.

      The Egyptians (art and architecture, Egyptian), entering historical times about 500 years later than the Mesopotamians, enjoyed all of the same types of activities and instruments, as may be deduced from numerous written references to music as well as seen on many artifacts, especially the pictures preserved on pottery utensils.

      The musical culture of the Hebrew peoples (Jew), recorded from about 2000 BC and documented primarily in the Old Testament, was more directly influential in the West because of its adoption and adaptation into the Christian liturgy. Because of the prohibition of Jewish religious law against the making of “graven images,” there are very few surviving artifacts or pictures. Among the established practices of the temple service still current in the synagogue are the extensive use of the shofar (a ritualistic ram's-horn trumpet) and the singing of passages from the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), prayers, and songs of praise.

Ancient Greece
      Of the eastern Mediterranean cultures, it was undoubtedly that of the Greeks that furnished the most direct link with musical development in western Europe, by way of the Romans, who defeated them but adopted much of Greek culture intact. Entering historical times relatively late, c. 1000 BC, the Greeks soon dominated their neighbours and absorbed many elements of earlier cultures, which they modified and combined into an enlightened and sophisticated civilization. The two basic Greek religious cults—one devoted to Apollo, the other to Dionysus—became the prototypes for the two aesthetic poles, classical and romantic, that have contended throughout Western cultural history. The Apollonians were characterized by objectivity of expression, simplicity, and clarity, and their favoured instrument was the kithara, a type of lyre. The Dionysians, on the other hand, preferred the reed-blown aulos and were identified by subjectivity, emotional abandon, and sensuality.

      The prevailing doctrine of ethos, as explained by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, was based on the belief that music has a direct effect upon the soul and actions of mankind. As a result, the Greek political and social systems were intertwined with music, which had a primary role in the dramas (dramatic literature) of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. And the Grecian educational system was focused upon musica and gymnastica, the former referring to all cultural and intellectual studies, as distinguished from those related to physical training.

      To support its fundamental role in society, an intricate scientific rationale of music evolved, encompassing tuning, instruments, modes (melodic formulas based on certain scales), and rhythms. The 6th-century-BC philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was the first to record the vibratory ratios that established the series of notes still used in Western music. From the total gamut of notes used were derived the various modes bearing the names of Grecian tribes—Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, etc. The rhythmic system, deriving from poetry, was based on long–short relationships rather than strong–weak accentual metre. After Pythagoras, Aristoxenus was the major historian and theoretician of Greek music.

      When the musical culture of the eastern Mediterranean was transplanted into the western Mediterranean by the returning Roman legions, it was inevitably modified by local tastes and traditions. In most cases, the resulting practices were more limited than their models. The diatonic (seven-note) scale, for example, became the standard, displacing the chromatic and enharmonic structures of the Grecian system. Of particular consequence was the new concept of metre as a series of equal durations, with emphasis being determined by accent (stress) rather than by duration.

      An inventory of the musical heritage transplanted from the ancient East (particularly Greece) to Rome reveals the rich treasure inherited: an acoustical theory that accounted for the identification and classification of tones; a concept of tonal organization resulting in the system of modes; principles of rhythmic organization; basic principles of instrument construction; a system of notation (musical notation) that conveyed all necessary indications of pitch and duration; and a large repertory of melodies to serve as models for further composition.

The Middle Ages (Middle Ages)
Monophonic liturgical (liturgical music) chant
      With the decline of the Roman Empire, the institution destined to perpetuate and expand the musical heritage of antiquity was the Christian Church (Christianity), but it was not a unified process. Many of the cultural centres of the Western church developed distinctive characteristics while sharing the common heritage of the Hebrew liturgy and Greek culture. In Milan, for example, metrical hymnody, as distinguished from the earlier practice of unmetred psalmody, was cultivated, particularly under the influence of the 4th-century Bishop Ambrose (Ambrose, Saint), who first attempted to codify the growing repertory of chant (vocal music)s. This body of Milanese church music, therefore, came to be called Ambrosian chant. Somewhat later a unique style and repertory known as Mozarabic chant evolved in Spain, and in France the Gallican style prevailed.

      But the mainstream of church music was the type of chant practiced in Rome. Beginning in the late 6th century, according to tradition, with Pope Gregory I (Gregory I, Saint), the vast number of traditional melodies that became the foundation for the later development of Western art music were codified and organized. A systematic organization of tonal materials also was gradually accomplished, resulting in the eight church modes. Each melody was assigned a specific function in the services of the liturgical year—some for the mass and some for the divine offices such as Matins, Vespers, and Compline. After a period of assimilation, the Gregorian chant repertory began a process of expansion in the 9th century, when the practice of troping originated. A trope is either a text or a melodic section added to a preexisting melody or a combination of text and music incorporated into existing liturgical music. It is not surprising that church musicians, after years of singing traditional chants, should want to express themselves by adding words to vocalized melodies. Perhaps the motive was more functional: the added syllables would make the long textless passages easier to remember. Tuotilo (died 915), a monk of St. Gall in Switzerland, is credited with the invention of tropes. Notker Balbulus (died 912) is notable for his association with the sequence, a long hymn that originated as a trope added to the final syllable of the Alleluia of the mass.

Development of polyphony
      At the same time that the Gregorian repertory was being expanded by the interpolation of tropes and sequences, it was being further enriched by a revolutionary concept destined to give a new direction to the art of sound for hundreds of years. This concept was polyphony, or the simultaneous sounding of two or more melodic lines. The practice emerged gradually during the Dark Ages, and the lack of definite knowledge regarding its origin has brought forward several plausible theories: it resulted from singers with different natural vocal ranges singing at their most comfortable pitch levels; it was a practice of organists adopted by singers (singing); or it came about when the repetition of a melody at a different pitch level was sung simultaneously with the original statement of the melody. Whatever motivated this dramatic departure from traditional monophony (music consisting of a single voice part), it was an established practice when it was described in Musica enchiriadis (c. 900), a manual for singers and one of the major musical documents of the Middle Ages. To a given plainsong, or vox principalis, a second voice (vox organalis) could be added at the interval (distance between notes) of a fourth or fifth (four or five steps) below. Music so performed was known as organum. While it may be assumed that the first attempts at polyphony involved only parallel motion at a set interval, the Musica enchiriadis describes and gives examples of two-part singing in similar (but not exactly parallel) and contrary movement—evidence that a considerable process of evolution had already taken place.

      The next major source of information was the Micrologus, written in the early 11th century by the Italian monk and musical theorist Guido of Arezzo (Guido d'Arezzo). This work documented principles that were crucial to the further development of polyphony. Rhythmic independence was added to melodic independence, and the added voice might sing two or more tones to one in the original plainsong. During the half century after Guido's death, developments came more rapidly as the plainsong chant became the lower rather than the upper voice. After the emancipation of the organal part, vox organalis, its ultimate freedom was reached in the organums of the monastery of Saint-Martial in Limoges, France, where the plainsong part was reduced to the role of sustaining each tone while the organal part indulged in free melismata (groups of notes sung to a single syllable), either improvised or composed. This new style was called organum purum.

      Early in the 12th century the centre of musical activity shifted to the church of Notre-Dame in Paris, where the French (France) composer Léonin recorded in the Magnus Liber Organi (“Great Book of Organum”) a collection of two-part organums for the entire church year. A generation later his successor, Pérotin, edited and revised the Magnus Liber, incorporating the rhythmic patterns already well-known in secular music and adding more than one part to the cantus firmus (the “given” or preexisting plainsong melody). When metre was applied to the original plainsong as well as to the vox organalis, the resulting form was called a clausula. Then, when words were provided for the added part or parts, a clausula became a motet. At first the words given to the motet were a commentary in Latin on the text of the original plainsong tenor (the voice part “holding” the cantus firmus; from Latin tenere, “to hold”). Later in the 13th century the added words were in French and secular in nature. Finally, each added part was given its own text, resulting in the classic Paris motet: a three-part composition consisting of a portion of plainchant (tenor) overlaid with two faster moving parts, each with its own secular text in French. At the same time another polyphonic form, the conductus, was flourishing. It differed from a motet in that its basic part was not plainsong and that all parts sang the same Latin text in note-against-note style. The conductus gradually disappeared with the rise of the motet, which apparently served both liturgical and secular functions.

      When the influential treatise Ars Nova (“New Art”) by the composer Philippe de Vitry (Vitry, Philippe de) appeared early in the 14th century, the preceding epoch acquired its designation of Ars Antiqua (Old Art), for it was only in retrospect that the rapid developments of the century and a half from c. 1150 to c. 1300 could appear as antiquated. De Vitry recorded the innovations of his day, particularly in the areas of metre and harmony. While 13th-century music had been organized around the triple “modal” rhythms derived from secular music and a harmonic vocabulary based on “perfect” consonances (unison, fourth, fifth, octave), the New Art of the 14th century used duple as well as triple divisions of the basic pulse and brought about a taste for harmonious intervals of thirds and sixths.

      The musical centre of 14th-century Italy was Florence, where a blind organist, Francisco Landini, and his predecessors and contemporaries Giovanni da Cascia, Jacopo da Bologna, and Lorenzo and Ghirardello da Firenze were the leading composers of several new forms: madrigals (contrapuntal compositions for several voices), ballatas (similar to the French virelai), and caccias (three-voice songs using melodic imitation).

Monophonic secular song
      Secular music undoubtedly flourished during the early Middle Ages, but, aside from sporadic references, the earliest accounts of such music in the Western world described the music of the goliards (goliard); these people were itinerant minor clerics and students who, from the 7th century on, roamed the land singing and playing topical songs dealing with love, war, famine, and other issues of the day. The emergence in France of a fully developed secular-musical tradition about the beginning of the 12th century is evidence that the art had been evolving continuously before that time. Partially motivated by the attitude of chivalry engendered by the Crusades, a new life-style began among the nobility of southern France. Calling themselves troubadours (troubadour), they circulated among the leading courts of the region, devoting themselves to writing and singing poetry in the vernacular. The troubadour movement flourished in Provence during the 12th and 13th centuries. About the middle of the 12th century, noblemen of northern France, most notably Adam de La Halle, took up the pastime, calling themselves trouvères (trouvère). In Germany a similar group known as Minnesingers (minnesinger), represented by Walther von der Vogelweide, began their activities about 1150 and continued for almost a century after their French counterparts had ceased composing. Late in the 13th century the burgher class in Germany began imitating the aristocratic Minnesingers. Calling themselves Meistersingers (meistersinger), they flourished for more than 500 years, organizing themselves into fraternities and following strict rules of poetry, music, and performance. The most famous of them, Hans Sachs, was immortalized in the 19th century in Richard Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Relatively little is known of similar secular-musical activities in Italy, Spain, and England. Closely associated with the entertainments of the aristocratic dilettantes were the professional musicians of the peasant class called jongleurs and minstrels in France, Gaukler in Germany, and scops and gleemen in England.

      The musical style that had been established by the troubadours—which was monophonic, of limited range, and sectional in structure—was adopted by each of the succeeding groups. Of particular significance in view of its influence on polyphonic music was the metric system, which is based on six rhythmic modes. Supposedly derived from Greek poetic metres such as trochaic (long–short) and iambic (short–long), these modes brought about a prevailing triple metre in French music, while German poetry produced duple as well as triple metre. A great variety of formal patterns evolved, in which musical structure and poetic structure were closely related. The most characteristic was the ballade, which was called Bar form in Germany, with an AAB structure. This type, along with the rondeau (song for solo voice with choral refrain) and the similar virelai (an analogue of the Italian ballata), was destined to become a favoured form employed by composers of polyphony such as Guillaume de Machaut (Machaut, Guillaume de), the universally acknowledged master of French music of the Ars Nova period. Machaut also continued the composition of motets, organizing them around recurrent rhythmic patterns (isorhythm), a major structural technique of the age. The beginnings of an independent instrumental repertory during the 13th century are represented by the estampie, a monophonic dance form almost identical in style to the vocal secular music.

The Renaissance period
      The term Renaissance, in spite of its various connotations, is difficult to apply to music. Borrowed from the visual arts and literature, the term is meaningful primarily as a chronological designation. Some historians date the beginning of the musical Renaissance at about 1400, some with the rise of imitative counterpoint, about 1450. Others relate it to the musical association with Humanistic poetry at the beginning of the 16th century, and still others reserve the term for the conscious attempt to recreate and imitate supposedly classical models that took place about 1600.

The court of Burgundy
      No one line of demarcation is completely satisfactory, but, adhering to commonly accepted usage, one may conveniently accept as the beginning of the musical Renaissance the flourishing and secularization of music at the beginning of the 15th century, particularly at the court of Burgundy. Certainly many manifestations of a cultural renaissance were evident at the time: interest in preserving artifacts and literature of classical antiquity, the waning authority and influence of the church, the waxing Humanism, the burgeoning of urban centres and universities, and the growing economic affluence of the states of western Europe.

      As one manifestation of their cultivation of elegant living, the aristocracy of both church and state vied with one another in maintaining resident musicians who could serve both chapel and banqueting hall. The frequent interchange of these musicians accounts for the rapid dissemination of new musical techniques and tastes. Partly because of economic advantages, Burgundy and its capital, Dijon, became the centre of European activity in music as well as the intellectual and artistic focus of northern Europe during the first half of the 15th century. Comprising most of eastern France and the Low Countries, the courts of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold attracted the leading musicians of western Europe. Prime among them was Guillaume Dufay (Dufay, Guillaume), who had spent some time in Rome and Florence before settling in Cambrai about 1440. An important contemporary of Dufay was Gilles Binchois, who served at Dijon from about 1430 until 1460. The alliance of Burgundy with England accounted for the presence on the Continent of the English composer John Dunstable (Dunstable, John), who had a profound influence on Dufay. While the contributions of the English to the mainstream of continental music are sparsely documented, the differences in style between Dufay and his predecessor Machaut are partially accounted for by the new techniques and, especially, the richer harmonies adopted by the Burgundian composers from their English allies.

New religious musical forms
      The social circumstances of the age determined that composers would devote their efforts to the mass, the motet, and the chanson (secular French song). During the first half of the 15th century, the mass became established as a unified polyphonic setting of the five main parts of the Ordinary of the mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), with each movement based on either the relevant portion of plainsong or, reflecting the dawning Renaissance, a secular song such as the popular “L'Homme armé” (“The Armed Man”) and “Se la face ay pale.” Still reflecting medieval practices, the preexisting melody (or cantus firmus) was usually in the tenor (or lowest) part and in long, sustained tones, while the upper parts provided free elaboration. Dufay's nine complete settings of the mass, compared with Machaut's single setting, give a clear indication of the growing importance of the mass as a musical form. The motet became simply a setting of a Latin text from Scriptures or the liturgy in the prevailing polyphonic style of the time. It was no longer necessarily anchored to a plainsong tenor; the composer could give free reign to his invention, although some did, of course, resort to older techniques.

Secular music
      It was in secular music that giant strides took place. While their chansons continued the tradition of rondeaux, virelais, and ballades, Dufay and his contemporaries added free forms divorced from the ordered patterns of the Ars Antiqua and Ars Nova periods.

      Among the distinctive features of Burgundian musical style was the prevailing three-part texture, with melodic and rhythmic interest centred in the top part. Because it was so typical of secular songs, this texture is commonly referred to as “ballade style” whether it appears in mass, motet, or chanson. Its possible stylistic implication is that a solo voice sang the upper melody, accompanied by instruments playing the lower parts, although no documents remain to establish exactly how the music was performed. There was probably no standard performing medium: all parts may have been sung; some or all may have been doubled by instruments; or there may have been one vocal part supported by instrumental accompaniment.

The Franco-Flemish school (Franco-Netherlandish school)
      A watershed in the history of music occurred about the middle of the 15th century. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the end of the Hundred Years' War at about the same time increased commerce from the East and affluence in the West. Most significant musically was the pervasive influence of musicians from the Low Countries, whose domination of the musical scene during the last half of the 15th century is reflected in the period designations the Netherlands school and the Franco-Flemish school. These musicians travelled and resided throughout Europe in response to their great demand at princely courts, including those of the Medici family in Florence and the Sforzas in Milan. Further dissemination of knowledge resulted from the invention and development of printing.

      The leading composers, whose patrons were now members of the civil aristocracy as well as princes of the church, were Jean d'Okeghem (Ockeghem, Jean de), Jakob Obrecht (Obrecht, Jakob), and, especially, Josquin des Prez. D'Okeghem (Josquin des Prez), born and trained in Flanders, spent most of his life in the service of the kings of France and was recognized by his contemporaries as the “Prince of Music.” Obrecht remained near his birthplace in the Netherlands, going occasionally to Italy in the retinue of Duca Ercole I (Duke Hercules I) of Ferrara. More typical of the peripatetic Netherlanders was the career of Josquin, the most influential composer of the period. After training at St. Quentin, he served the Sforza family in Milan, the papal choir in Rome, Ercole I, and King Louis XII of France before returning to his native Flanders in 1516. These three composers and several contemporaries hastened the development of the musical techniques that became the basis of 16th-century practice and influenced succeeding developments.

      Rather than the three parts typical of most Burgundian music, four parts became standard for vocal polyphony in the late 15th century. The fourth part was added below the tenor, increasing the total range and resulting in greater breadth of sound. The presence of the four parts also allowed for contrasts of texture such as the “duet style” so characteristic of Josquin, when the two upper parts might sing a passage alone and be echoed by the two lower parts alone. The emergence of the technique of imitation (one voice repeating recognizably a figure heard first in another voice) as the chief form-generating principle brought about more equality of parts. At the same time “familiar style,” in which all parts move together in chords, provided a means of textural contrast. The great variety of rhythmic techniques that evolved during the 14th and early 15th centuries made possible a wide range of expression—from quiet tranquillity for sacred music to lively and spirited secular music. Knowledge of the musical practices comes not only from the thousands of surviving compositions but from informative treatises such as the 12 by the composer Johannes Tinctoris (Tinctoris, Johannes) (1436–1511), one of which, Terminorum musicae diffinitorium (c. 1475), is the earliest printed dictionary of musical terms.

      The chief forms of vocal music continued to be the mass, the motet, and the chanson, to which must be added other national types that developed during the 15th century—the villancico (secular poetry set for voice and lute or for three or four voices) in Spain and the frottola (a simple, chordal setting in three or four parts of an Italian text) in Italy. The emergence of the frottola in northern Italy led to the development of the Renaissance madrigal, which impelled that country to musical supremacy in Europe.

Instrumental music
      At the same time, an independent instrumental idiom was evolving. While instruments had been in common usage throughout the Middle Ages, their function was primarily to double or to substitute for voices in vocal polyphonic music or to provide music for dancing. Techniques unsuitable for voices were doubtless part of an instrumentalist's musical vocabulary, but most such music was improvised rather than being written. Although there are a few sources of instrumental music dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, the earliest relatively extensive documentation comes from the 15th century, particularly from German sources, such as the Buxheimer Orgelbuch and Conrad Paumann's Fundamentum organisandi (Fundamentals of Organ Playing). The compositions in both collections are of two basic types, arrangements of vocal works and keyboard pieces entitled Praeambulum (Prelude).

      During the course of the 16th century, instrumental music burgeoned rapidly, along with the continually developing idiomatically instrumental techniques, such as strongly accented rhythms, rapid repeated tones and figures, angular melodic lines involving wide intervallic skips, wide ranges, long, sustained tones and phrases, and much melodic ornamentation.

Musical forms (musical form)
       dance forms, a continuation of a tradition unbroken since the beginnings of recorded music history, were most characteristically composed in pairs, although single dances as well as embryonic suites of three or more dances appeared. The pairs usually consisted of pieces in contrasting tempo and metre that often were unified by sharing a common melody. Common dance pairs included the pavane and galliard, the allemande and courante, and the basse danse and tourdion.

      Preludes (prelude) continued as a major form of organ music and were joined by the fantasia, the intonazione, and the toccata in a category frequently referred to as “free forms” because of the inconsistency and unpredictability of their structure and musical content—sections in imitative counterpoint, sections of sustained chords, sections in virtuoso figuration. If a distinction must be made, it might be said in very general terms that the fantasia tended to be more contrapuntal while the toccata (or “touch piece”) featured passages designed to demonstrate the performer's agility, although the designations were freely interchangeable. To the same category belong the descriptive pieces such as The King's Hunt, which featured naive musical representations of natural sounds.

      The ricercar (ricercare) and the canzona, generally referred to as fugal forms because of their relationship to the principle of the fugue (that of melodic imitation), arose out of the growing understanding of and dependence on imitation as a unifying structural technique. Although these designations were applied to a great variety of pieces—some identical in style to the fantasia or prelude—the classic ricercar of the 16th century was virtually an instrumental motet, slow and churchlike in character and consisting of a number of sections, each utilizing imitation. The canzona followed the same structural principle but was a lively counterpart to the chanson, with the sections sometimes in contrasting tempo and metre. Cantus firmus compositions were based upon preexisting melody. During the 16th century most were designed for liturgical usage but were based upon both secular melodies and plainsong. In most cases the cantus firmus was sounded in long, sustained tones while the other part or parts added decorative contrapuntal lines. The organ mass, in which the choir and the organ alternated lines of the liturgical text, was a popular practice.

      Variations also often used a preexisting melody but differed from cantus firmus compositions in that the melody was much shorter and was repeated a number of times, each time with different accompanying parts. The two basic types during the Renaissance were the plain, or melodic, variations and the ground. In the former, the chosen melody usually appeared in the top part and was varied in each repetition with ornamentation and melodic figuration or with changing accompaniments. The ground, or ground bass, was a simple melodic pattern sounded in the lowest part, which served as a foundation for imaginative figuration in the upper parts.

Solo and ensemble instruments
      The four major vehicles for instrumental music of the period were the lute, the organ, stringed keyboard instruments (stringed instrument), and instrumental ensembles (orchestra). Most popular by far was the lute, which could produce the major elements of instrumental style except for long, sustained tones. Noteworthy composers of lute music included Luis Milán in Spain, Arnold Schlick in Germany, and John Dowland in England. The organ, because of its close association with liturgical music, continued to be an important instrument, and its literature includes all of the formal types except dances. Among the leading organ composers were the Germans Paumann, Schlick, and Paul Hofhaimer, the Italians Claudio Merulo and Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, the Spaniard Antonio de Cabezón, and the Englishman John Bull.

      The two basic classes of stringed keyboard instruments were the harpsichord (virginals, spinet, clavecin, clavicembalo), with quill-plucked strings, and the clavichord, with strings struck by thin metal tongues. Keyboard instruments were highly capable of idiomatically instrumental effects and flourished, particularly in England, from the last half of the 16th century onward, thanks to the composers William Byrd, John Bull, and Orlando Gibbons. A major manuscript source of the keyboard works of these masters is the famous Fitzwilliam Virginal Book of the 17th century.

      Instrumental ensembles of the Renaissance were not standardized, although consorts (groups) of viols, of woodwind instruments such as recorders and shawms (loud oboes), or of brass-family instruments such as the cornet and sackbut (early trombone) were common. More common, however, were mixed consorts of various types of instruments, depending on the players available. All types of instrumental forms were performed by ensembles except for the prelude and the toccata, which were essentially keyboard works. Representative composers included the Gabrielis and Gibbons.

Vocal music in the 16th century
      At the beginning of the 16th century the style of vocal music was generally uniform because of the pervading influence of Netherlanders during the preceding half century. That uniformity persisted well into the late Renaissance but was gradually superseded by emerging national differences, new forms, and the increasing importance of Italy as a musical centre during the last half of the 16th century.

      The rapid accumulation of new musical techniques and resources produced a wide vocabulary of artistic expression, and the invention of music printing helped the rapid dispersal of new techniques. In an age in which music was an essential social grace, composers wrote more secular music, in which fewer technical restrictions were in force and experimentation and novelty were applauded. Advances were particularly apparent in venturesome harmonies as chromaticism (the use of notes not belonging to the mode of the composition) sounded the death knell of the modal system.

      Liturgical practice dictated that the mass and the motet remain the chief forms of sacred vocal music. Compared with secular music, their style was conservative, but inevitably some of the newer secular techniques crept in and figured effectively in the music of the Counter-Reformation within the Roman Catholic Church.

      Four distinct types of mass settings were established during the century. Two types were continuations of earlier practice: the tenor mass, in which the same cantus firmus served for all five portions of the Ordinary of the mass, and the plainsong mass, in which the cantus firmus (usually a corresponding section of plainsong) differed for each portion. Reflecting the more liberal attitudes of the Renaissance were the free mass, with no borrowed materials, and the parody mass, in which the entire polyphonic web was freely adapted from a motet or a secular composition. In all cases when a cantus firmus was used, the preexistent melody might appear in its original form or in paraphrased version, with tones added, omitted, or altered. As a result of the upheaval in the church caused by the Reformation, new forms derived from established models appeared in Protestant worship: the German Lutheran chorale (hymn tune, arranged from plainsong or a secular melody), the chorale motet, English anthems (Anglican form of motet) and services, and the psalm tunes in Calvinist areas.

      While not young in a chronological sense, the musical life of Italy was reborn at the beginning of the 16th century after a century of relative dormancy. The frottola remained the prevailing secular form in northern Italy for the first three decades of the century.

      When the humanistic poets, seeking a more refined expression, and the Netherlanders and composers trained by them, applying a more sophisticated musical technique, turned their efforts to the frottola, the result was the madrigal. The name was borrowed from the 14th-century form, but there was no resemblance in poetic or musical structure. Compared to the frottola, the earliest Renaissance madrigals, dating from about 1530, were characterized by quiet and restrained expression. Usually written for three or four voices, they were mostly homophonic (melody supported by chords) with occasional bits of imitation. Among the early madrigal composers were several Flemish composers resident in Italy, among them Adriaan Willaert, Jacques Arcadelt, and Philippe Verdelot. About 1560 the normal number of parts increased to five or six, and the texture became more consistently polyphonic. At the same time, more attention was given to expressive settings of the text, notably in the madrigals of Cipriano de Rore, Philippe de Monte, and the Gabrielis. During the last two decades of the century and continuing until the middle of the 17th century, the musical style of the madrigal changed appreciably. The late madrigals were of a very dramatic nature, featuring colouristic effects, vivid word-painting, and extensive chromaticism. Their declamatory character dictated a return to a more homophonic style. Noteworthy among the many composers of the late madrigal were Luca Marenzio, Don Carlo Gesualdo, and Claudio Monteverdi.

      During the course of the century simpler secular forms, such as the villanella, the canzonetta, and the balletto, appeared in Italy, largely as a reaction against the refinement, complication, and sophistication of the madrigal. They reverted to the chordal style of the frottola, often with intentionally parodistic lyrics. The balletto was particularly distinguished by a refrain of nonsense syllables such as “fa la la.”

      Most of the Italian forms, along with their designations, were adopted by Elizabethan England during the last half of the 16th century. Most leading English composers, from William Byrd and Thomas Morley (Morley, Thomas) to John Wilbye, Thomas Weelkes, and Orlando Gibbons, contributed to the vast treasury of English secular music. Morley is particularly important as the editor of the most significant collection of English madrigals, the Triumphes of Oriana, published in 1603 and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I (Oriana). These pieces correspond in style roughly to the middle-period Italian madrigal. English counterparts of the canzonetta and balletto were the canzonet and ballett. A late 16th-century innovation in both Italy and England was the ayre (air), a simple, chordal setting especially suitable for a solo voice with a lute or a consort of instruments playing the other parts. John Dowland and Thomas Campion were notable composers of ayres.

      The French counterpart of Italian and English madrigals was the polyphonic chanson, a continuation of the chief medieval and early Renaissance form of secular music. Revitalized by composers such as Josquin, Clément Janequin, and Claudin de Sermisy, the chanson developed several distinctive features: a clearly delineated sectional structure with some repetition of sections, much vivid programmatic writing, and occasional use of irregular metric organization. The irregular metric structure, called musique mesurée, was used for maintaining faithfully the accentuation of the poetry and reflects the traditional primacy of textual over musical considerations in French music.

      The lied, or song, continued its 15th-century role as the chief secular form in Germanic areas, but it did not develop to the same extent as the madrigal and the chanson. Throughout the Renaissance it was relatively conservative in its adherence to the cantus firmus principle and its tendency toward chordal over contrapuntal texture. Following Heinrich Isaac in the 15th century, the major 16th-century lieder composers were Ludwig Senfl, Hans Leo Hassler, and Johann Hermann Schein. To all national schools of the 16th century must be added the name of the Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso, who wrote in French, Italian, or German, depending on his current employment. The Spanish villancico was a flourishing popular form, but there was no Iberian equivalent to the madrigal, the chanson, or the lied.

The tonal era and after: 1600 to the present
      The beginning of the 17th century was one of the most dramatic turning points in the history of music, even more so than the beginning of the Ars Nova and almost as revolutionary as the beginning of the 20th century. The winds of change had been felt several decades earlier, and the establishment of the new style required several decades after the turn of the century, but the year 1600 saw the performance of several works destined to change the course of music.

The Baroque (Baroque period) era
      Originally used in a derogatory sense of referring to something bizarre, degenerate, and abnormal, the term Baroque gradually acquired a positive connotation for the grandiose, dramatic, energetic spirit in art that prevailed during the period from about 1600 to about 1750. The new spirit required a vastly expanded musical vocabulary, and a rapid evolution of new techniques occurred, particularly in vocal music. Two distinct musical styles were recognized. One, the prima prattica (or stile antico), was the universal style of the 16th century, the culmination of two centuries of adherence to Flemish models. The other, called seconda prattica, or stile moderno, referred to the new theatrical style emanating from Italy.

      The expanded vocabulary allowed for a clearer distinction between sacred and secular music as well as between vocal and instrumental idioms, and national differences became more pronounced. The tonal organization of music evolved also, as the medieval modes that had previously served as the basis of melody and harmony were gradually replaced, during the 17th century, by the system of tonality dominating Western music until about 1900: a system based on contrasting keys, or sets of interrelated notes and chords deriving from a major or minor scale. Viewing the period as a whole, two additional innovations most clearly distinguish it from the preceding Renaissance: concertato (concertato style), or the contrast, combination, and alternation of voices and instruments, and basso continuo (thorough bass, figured bass), an accompaniment consisting of a low-pitched instrument, such as a violoncello or a bassoon, combined with a keyboard instrument or lute capable of harmonic elaboration.

      Most typical of the emerging style were the dramatic productions of the Camerata, a group in Florence who were dedicated to recreating and imitating the musical ideals and practices of classical antiquity—in a sense, the musical manifestation of the Renaissance. Their guiding philosophy was the preeminence of textual over musical considerations; their belief was that the function of music was to heighten the dramatic impact of words. The musical result was monody: originally recitative (solo singing reflecting speech rhythms), later also arioso (more lyric than recitative) and aria (opera) (more elaborate song), accompanied by a basso continuo that could provide an innocuous background to a solo voice. Among the major figures in this revolutionary movement were Giulio Caccini (Caccini, Giulio) and Jacopo Peri, both of whom composed operas based on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. Caccini also provided the name for the new movement with his publication of Le nuove musiche, a collection of solo songs with continuo accompaniment. The ideas and techniques conceived by the Camerata spread rapidly over Italy and, subsequently, all over Europe.

Early Italian operatic schools
      During the 1620s and 1630s the centre of operatic activity shifted from Florence to Rome, where several distinctive features developed: a chorus was used extensively, dancing was incorporated into the dramatic spectacle, and an overture in the style of a canzona became the accepted norm. A flourishing operatic activity developed a decade later in Venice, where the first public opera house was opened in 1637. Public taste began to influence operatic composition, and, as a result, several innovations, such as the extensive use of popular tunes, spectacular staging, and short, fanfare-like overtures, were introduced. The audience's desire for tuneful songs also contributed to the clear distinction between recitative and aria, which began with the Venetian school. Foremost among contemporary composers was Monteverdi (Monteverdi, Claudio), who had known of the activities of the Florentine Camerata while serving as musical director to the Gonzaga family in nearby Mantua. He adopted the new style for his later madrigals and wrote two operas, Orfeo (1607) and L'Arianna (1608), before moving to Venice in 1613. Francesco Cavalli and Antonio Cesti became the leading Venetian operatic composers after Monteverdi's death in 1643.

      The last major operatic centre to develop in Italy began its activities in the 1670s in Naples. Neapolitan opera seria, or serious opera, with characters from classical history or mythology, dominated Europe for a century. It was essentially a series of recitatives and arias, the latter mostly of the da capo type (ABA, the A section given improvised embellishment on its repetition) characterized by florid virtuosic singing. Other features were, first, the distinction between recitativo secco (dry recitative), accompanied by the continuo, and recitativo accompagnato, or stromentato, accompanied by the orchestra, and, second, the establishment of the Italian overture. Called a sinfonia, the overture in three parts (fast–slow–fast) evolved into the symphony during the 18th century. Alessandro Scarlatti was the most influential of the early Neapolitan operatic composers.

      During the same period, opera was introduced at courtly functions outside Italy. After Luigi Rossi's Orfeo was performed in Paris in 1647, the Italian form was gradually merged with the major French dramatic form, the ballet; the importance of dancing in French operas thereafter is not surprising. Another distinguishing feature was the French overture (a slow movement, a fast movement, and, occasionally, a return to the opening slow section), which, like the Italian overture, later had an independent life. The masters of French opera during the Baroque period were Jean-Baptiste Lully and his successor Jean-Philippe Rameau. Because of the social and political upheaval of the Thirty Years' War, there was less operatic activity in Germany than in France, and the activity that did occur was more completely dominated by the Italian style. Hamburg, Munich, Dresden, and Vienna were the major centres, with Reinhard Keiser and Georg Philipp Telemann as the most prolific composers.

      The situation in England resembled that in France, since the English also had a flourishing musicodramatic form, the masque, which gradually merged with Italian opera. Henry Purcell and John Blow were the chief composers of opera in English before Italian domination of serious opera became almost complete during the 18th century.

Cantata and oratorio
      The leading Neapolitan opera composers also helped to establish the Baroque successor to the madrigal—the cantata—which originated as a secular form for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment. Giacomo Carissimi (Carissimi, Giacomo) standardized the form as a short drama in verse consisting of two or more arias with their preceding recitatives. The cantata was introduced into France by one of Carissimi's students, Marc-Antoine Charpentier; Louis Nicolas Clérambault continued the tradition in the late Baroque period. With the fading stylistic distinction between sacred and secular music, the cantata was quickly converted to church purposes, particularly in Germany, where it became the chief decorative service music for the Lutheran Church. Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Kuhnau were two of the leading composers of such church cantatas.

      While the new concertato techniques were being applied to established forms of church music, such as the mass, service, motet, anthem, and chorale, new forms emerged that were clear departures from Renaissance styles and types. The oratorio and settings of the Passion story developed simultaneously with opera and on almost identical lines, consisting of recitatives, arias, vocal ensembles, instrumental interludes, and choruses. Emilio del Cavaliere (Cavaliere, Emilio del) was the “founder” of the oratorio with his La rappresentazione di anima e di corpo (The Representation of the Soul and the Body). Produced in Rome in 1600, this work, unlike true oratorio, used actors and costumes. Carissimi and Alessandro Scarlatti were the chief Italian Baroque composers of oratorio, and Heinrich Schütz, a pupil of both Giovanni Gabrieli and Monteverdi in Venice, was the leading 17th-century German composer in this field.

Instrumental music
      The new techniques of Le nuove musiche were to be heard in music for instruments, especially now that they participated in genres formerly written for unaccompanied voices (e.g., the motet). The forms and mediums of instrumental music remained essentially the same but with considerably different emphasis. The lute, for example, lost status quickly with the rise of the harpsichord as the most common instrument for continuo accompaniment of dramatic productions. The organ, as the traditional church instrument, retained its position and assimilated the evolving forms.

Modification and expansion of older forms
       dance pairs of the Renaissance grew, about the middle of the 17th century, into dance suites consisting basically of four dances: allemande, courante, saraband, and gigue, with optional dances such as the gavotte, the bourrée, and the minuet sometimes inserted before the final movement. Variation forms—the chaconne (in which a set of harmonies or a bass theme is continuously repeated), the passacaglia (in which the theme is repeated but not necessarily in the bass), along with the ground bass and variations on well-known melodies—continued to be popular. Free forms also continued in the patterns of their Renaissance antecedents, while growing in dimension and inventiveness. The toccata, prelude, and fantasia were expanded into multisectional forms using the three basic instrumental textures—imitative counterpoint, chordal homophony, and virtuosic passage work—in combination, alternation, and contrast. The Renaissance fugal forms, chiefly the canzona and the ricercar, gradually evolved into the late Baroque fugue, and cantus firmus compositions continued to flourish as a result of their liturgical function.

      The major new categories of instrumental music during the Baroque period were the sonata and the concerto. Originally applied to instrumental ensemble pieces derived from the canzona, the term sonata became the designation for a form that was to dominate instrumental music from the mid-18th until the 20th century. In its keyboard manifestation, it was a binary (two-part) structure similar to a dance-suite movement. For small ensemble, it evolved into a series of independent movements (usually in a slow–fast–slow–fast arrangement) called a sonata da chiesa (“church sonata (sonata da chiesa)”) or a dance suite called a sonata da camera (“chamber sonata (sonata da camera)”). Especially prominent was the trio sonata, for two violins (or flutes or oboes) and cello with continuo. Eventually, similar forms were adopted for orchestra (sinfonia or concerto), for orchestra with a small group of featured instruments ( concerto grosso), or for a solo instrument with orchestra (solo concerto). The fundamental principle of the concerto was that of contrast of instrumental groups and musical textures.

      Throughout the period, keyboard music flourished, notably in the hands of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in the Netherlands, Johann Pachelbel and Johann Froberger in Germany, Girolamo Frescobaldi in Italy, and Domenico Scarlatti in Spain; in France the chief exponents included Rameau and François Couperin.

      Instrumental ensemble music, both chamber and orchestral, was dominated by Italians, chiefly from Bologna, the Bolognese school producing such composers as Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giuseppe Tartini. Purcell in England and Couperin and Jean-Marie Leclair in France are representative of the many composers in other nations who were influenced by Italian models of instrumental ensemble music.

The late Baroque
      The Baroque era reached its zenith in the work of Johann Sebastian Bach (Bach, Johann Sebastian) (1685–1750) and George Frideric Handel (Handel, George Frideric) (1685–1759). Both were born in the same part of Germany; both were reared in the Lutheran Church; and both were primarily organists; but because of different environmental circumstances each became a master of different musical forms. Handel, because of his conditioning in Italy, was primarily a dramatic composer, writing opera, oratorio, and secular cantatas, mostly after he reached England. He also wrote quite extensively for orchestra and instrumental ensemble. Bach, by contrast, was influenced by his lifelong employment in the church and by his dedication as a teacher; his works thus include Passions, cantatas for church services, liturgical organ pieces, and harpsichord compositions, many instructional in purpose.

      In the works of both Handel and Bach changes in technique reached a culmination with the clear establishment of the tonal system, allowing for modulation from one key centre to another, primarily as a device for formal organization. Rich, chromatic harmonic language was both reason and result of such a change. The fusion of contrapuntal technique with homophonic style resulted in a distinctive hybrid texture that employed figured bass (homophony) as a foundation for two or more independent melodic lines (polyphony).

The Classical period
      As in the case of the Renaissance, difficulties with terminology again arise with the label classical. Does it refer to a period of time, a distinctive musical style, an aesthetic attitude, an ideal standard, or an established norm? Again, the term was borrowed from the visual arts of the same epoch and is awkward when applied to music in that there were no known models from classical antiquity for composers to imitate. A full understanding of the term depends on a clear conception of the term romantic, for the two stand at opposite poles. Each represents a set of artistic ideals that has been in opposition to the other since both were recognized by early Grecian writers. As has been noted, the ancient Greek followers of Apollo established the ideal of classicism, whereas the cult of Dionysus produced the prototype of romanticism. A mixture of the two qualities has prevailed throughout recorded history, with first one and then the other in the ascendancy. Thus, there have been many “classic” and many “romantic” eras, but the labels have come to refer most specifically to the last half of the 18th century and the 19th century, respectively, because those periods represent most vividly the two tempers.

      The social and political scene during the late 18th century was hardly a setting for a quiet, composed “classical” age in view of the prevailing revolutionary spirit and colonial rivalry. The revolutionary movement did have a direct effect on music in that “music for the masses” became a new ideal—music directly appealing to a large number of unsophisticated people who had previously been excluded from courtly entertainments.

Precursors of the Classical style

The Rococo style galant
      As the pendulum swung from the predominantly romantic Baroque period toward the Classical period, there was an inevitable overlapping of the old and the new. While Bach was composing his intricate and erudite polyphony, his sons were reflecting a new ideal, the Rococo. Fostered by the court of the French king Louis XV, whose life-style was far less formal than that of his illustrious great grandfather, the Rococo ideal was artistic expression dedicated to elegance, frivolity, and gracefulness; a work of art must be delicate, playful, entertaining, and immediately appealing. The result was often artificial and unrealistic, but it succeeded in capturing the discreetly sentimental and hedonistic attitudes of the times. Powdered wigs, lace cuffs, and perfumed handkerchiefs for both sexes were other manifestations of the same playful spirit that produced music in the style galant.

      The German counterpart of the essentially French Rococo was the empfindsamer Stil, or “sentimental style,” which flourished in the 1750s and 1760s. Its leading exponent was one of J.S. Bach's sons, Carl Philip Emanuel Bach (Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel), who served for a time at the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin. The distinguishing feature of this German reaction against Baroque profundity was its concern with emotional feeling in the music itself, on the part of the performers and, hopefully, in the reaction of the audience. The French obsession with lightness, gracefulness, and decoration was countered by the German determination to affect sensibilities that were often more attuned to tears than to laughter. A late and less reserved manifestation of Empfindsamkeit was the Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) movement in the arts during the 1770s and 1780s. The inclination toward the more intense personal expression of that movement was a harbinger of the coming Romantic period.

Consolidation of the Classical style
      The fundamental changes in musical style that distinguished Classical from Baroque were inspired by Rococo ideals and refined and stabilized by the Classicists, particularly Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christoph Willibald Gluck, and the young Ludwig van Beethoven.

Stylistic elements
      For the first time in the history of music, instrumental music became more important than vocal music. The orchestra and chamber groups, such as the string quartet, trio, and quintet, and the piano trio became standardized and replaced the heterogeneous trio sonata and other ensembles of the Baroque period. The basic duple and triple organization of metre remained unchanged, but rhythmic patterns tending toward more regularity and simplicity became the rule, producing the “tyranny of the bar line” that was to prevail for more than a century.

      Melody was inclined to be more motivistic, tuneful, and epigrammatic, in contrast to the extended, figurative style of many Baroque melodies. Harmony was second only to melody as a focal element. Harmonic patterns that clearly established the tonal centre were the rule of the day.

      As a reaction against the intricate polyphony of the later Baroque period, homophonic texture dominated by melody became the norm, but the accompanying patterns were different from those of the early Baroque, when monody supported by sustained chords was the prevailing style. In the late 18th century, figurations such as the Alberti bass (form of accompanying figure consisting of broken chords) and rhythmically enlivened repeated chords formed the typical textural patterns. Counterpoint was retained in some forms, however, and regained status particularly in development sections of works in sonata form.

      Formal structure, a definitive aspect of classical style, was characterized by simplicity and clarity. Sectional forms (created by contrast and repetition of thematic materials, tonalities, and textures), variations, and the new principle of development (fragmentation, expansion, and modification of themes) were the established norms. Phrases of musical material became shorter and more clearly demarcated as well as more balanced and regular. A new concept of dynamic contrast also contributed to formal clarity. Shading from loud to soft or vice versa provided a dramatic means of building toward an expressive climax. Orchestration and instrumentation were closely allied to dynamic variation, and much more colour contrast and variety appeared in orchestral music, even though the ensemble was more standardized than formerly.

      The pattern that served as the structural basis for most instrumental music of the classical period was the sonata. A large-scale work in several movements, it evolved from several Baroque predecessors, chiefly the Italian overture, the sonata da chiesa, and the concerto grosso. Depending on the medium of performance for which it was intended, it would be called, for example, a symphony, a concerto, a string quartet, a sextet, a trio. The designation sonata was reserved for a solo instrument or for an instrument accompanied by harpsichord or piano. Originally in three movements, the sonata became standardized as a four-movement form when a minuet was incorporated in the following sequence: (1) a serious allegro, (2) a slow, lyrical movement (andante or adagio), (3) a minuet and trio, and (4) a brilliant, vivacious finale. The internal structure of the first movement was so uniform that it acquired the designation sonata-allegro form; that is, the form employed in the allegro movement of a sonata, consisting basically of exposition, development, and recapitulation. The slower second movement is less structurally predictable. It is frequently a sectional form (for example, ABA, AABA, ABCA) or a set of variations. It may, even though in a slow tempo, be a sonata-allegro form, illustrating again the inconsistency of musical terminology. The third movement, usually omitted in the concerto and sometimes in other forms, is either a graceful minuet or a scherzo, a lively rhythmic form derived from the minuet. The structural pattern of the minuet had been fixed when it was established as the official court dance by Louis XIV in the mid-17th century. The last movement is frequently a rondo form, in which the principal theme recurs regularly between subordinate themes.

Instrumental music

      The most important and influential manifestation of the sonata form was that played by an orchestra—the symphony. During the 17th century the term sinfonia had been used for various kinds of instrumental music. “Sonata” was equally ambiguous. Late in the century, the designation sinfonia began to be confined to the Italian opera overture—a three-movement arrangement, fast–slow–fast. By the mid-18th century, opera overtures were being played independently in concerts. The insertion of the minuet between the last two movements resulted in the prototype of the Classical symphony.

      During the waning Baroque period, vigorous advocates of the burgeoning Rococo and Empfindsamkeit ideals were active in Milan, Vienna, and Mannheim. In Milan, Giovanni Battista Sammartini (Sammartini, Giovanni Battista) began writing his symphonies, some 25 of them, in the 1730s. While employing the continuo of his models, Corelli and Giuseppe Torelli, the bithematic plan for his opening movements foreshadowed the exposition of the Classical symphonies. At about the same time, young composers in Vienna were experimenting with the new genre, thus laying the foundation for the later Viennese masters. The most famous and probably the most influential group was active in Mannheim in the court orchestra of Karl Theodor, the elector of the Palatinate. Their activity began in the 1740s, when Johann Stamitz (Stamitz, Johann) became leader of the orchestra. His experiments with dynamic techniques—crescendo (increasing in loudness), diminuendo (decreasing in loudness), sforzando (special emphasis)—with homophonic textures featuring the first violins in virtuoso passages and with tremolo and other dramatic effects, became the hallmarks of the Mannheim style and served as models for his son Karl Stamitz and for composers in Vienna. Thanks to the fortuitous presence of certain instrumentalists as well as to benevolent patronage, the basic ensemble of the modern symphony orchestra was gradually established: violins, violas, violoncellos, and double basses; two flutes, two oboes, and two bassoons; two French horns and two tympani. Trumpets were added for festive occasions.

The concerto
      Unlike the symphony, which had its origins in other forms, the Classical concerto grew directly out of the Baroque solo concerto and resembles it in that it is based on exchange of musical material between solo instrument or instruments and orchestra. While directly derived from the ritornello principle of the Baroque concerto (that of a recurrent musical passage when the soloists are silent), the internal structure of the first movement assimilated the developmental principle of sonata-allegro form. Pietro Locatelli and Giuseppe Tartini are especially notable for their numerous late-Baroque violin concerti.

      While music for small instrumental ensembles had flourished for over 200 years previously, the late 18th century witnessed the establishment of chamber music in the modern sense of the term: music in sonata form for a small group of instruments with one player for each part. Replacing the trio sonata of the Baroque period, the most popular classical ensemble was a group of four stringed instruments—two violins, a viola, and a violoncello. Both the group itself and a sonata written for the group were called a string quartet. Among other popular ensembles were the string trio (violin, viola, and violoncello; or two violins and a violoncello) and the piano trio (violin, violoncello, and piano).

The keyboard (keyboard instrument) sonata
      The solo keyboard sonata was one of the most vital forms of the period, partly because of the great increase in amateur performers resulting from the newly affluent middle class. The sonatas of Domenico Paradisi, of J.S. Bach's sons, and of Haydn and Mozart reflect the evolution from the one-movement, binary form of the Baroque period to the standard classical three-movement form. A four-movement form did not become popular until the time of Beethoven. A celebrated contemporary of Mozart, Muzio Clementi (Clementi, Muzio), composed more than 60 sonatas for the piano alone and half again as many for piano and violin or flute and strongly influenced the style of piano writing.

Other instrumental forms
      While the sonata was unquestionably the most important form of instrumental music during the period, several other types were cultivated. For orchestra and chamber ensemble, a suitelike work called variously divertimento, serenade, cassation, or notturno (nocturne) was popular for light entertainment, differing from the more serious symphonies, concerti, and sonatas (which were intended for attentive listening) in that the ensemble of instruments was inconsistent, unpredictable, and often unspecified. The number, types, and arrangements of movements were equally flexible, ranging from three to 10 or more, some in dance forms and others in forms suitable for a sonata. While nonsonata forms for solo instruments (particularly keyboard) occasionally bear these designations, the most popular smaller solo forms were sets of variations, individual dances or marches, fantasies, and small pieces that would have been appropriate as movements of sonatas. For some reason, composition for the organ dwindled drastically after the death of J.S. Bach, in 1750.

      There was less distinction between Baroque and Classical opera than between instrumental styles of the two periods because opera, with musical interest centred on a solo voice, had been largely melodic-homophonic since its inception. Another reason for the continuity of operatic style throughout the 18th century was the universal domination by the Neapolitan opera seria. Even in Paris, where the Lully-Rameau tradition maintained its vitality, there was an Italian opera theatre. While there was some effective reform of certain aspects of Neapolitan style that had become decadent and some nationalistic reaction in the field of comic opera, nothing in the nature of serious opera challenged Neapolitan supremacy. As a result, the late 18th century was a period of great vitality in operatic composition.

      The distinguishing characteristics of Neapolitan opera seria reveal why it is little known and rarely heard today. It was a very conventionalized form, with artificial and overcomplex plots. There were usually six main characters representing three of each sex, with some of the male and female parts sung by castrati (emasculated male sopranos and contraltos). Each character was allotted a standardized number of arias in fairly standardized succession. Obviously, with such constant interruption of the action, dramatic truth received little if any consideration. The singers and the arias were the focus of the entire production, with little of musical interest in the parlando recitatives (i.e., using speech rhythms), little use of chorus, and little function for the orchestra aside from providing a subordinate accompaniment.

      Objections to the decadence and artificiality of the Neapolitan style, which had begun to appear as early as the 1720s, would have been fruitless had not a champion appeared to put suggestions and theories for reform into actual practice. Culminating the movement for reform was Christoph Willibald Gluck (Gluck, Christoph Willibald), who began his career in the 1740s by writing about 20 operas in the prevailing style. Then, beginning with Orfeo ed Euridice in 1762, he attempted to enhance both the dramatic and musical components of opera. Superfluous virtuosity and vocal display were drastically curtailed if not eliminated by providing music that reflected the emotional or dramatic situation. As a result of Gluck's reforms, opera moved toward a classical simplicity of style of which his and Mozart's works were the culmination.

      A second challenge to established Neapolitan opera was emerging through comic opera in which the subject matter was light, sentimental, often topical, and satirical, reflecting both the social changes of the period and ridicule of serious opera. The music was engagingly tuneful, easy to perform and to comprehend. Comic opera had appeared during the 17th century but began its independent existence during the first half of the 18th century in Italy, where it was called the opera buffa. The French opéra comique (opéra-comique) evolved during the same period and was given new impetus by the guerre des bouffons (“war of the buffoons”) of the early 1750s, when support of the Italian opera buffa company then performing in Paris exceeded that of the French heroic opera of Rameau. In England, ballad opera, beginning with The Beggar's Opera in 1728, followed a course of development similar in both period and style to that of the opéra comique. German singspiel grew out of translations and imitations of English ballad opera. Models that centred on Vienna adhered to the Italian style and culminated in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio and The Magic Flute. Yet Mozart also brought the old Italian style to its zenith in Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Così fan tutte (Thus Do They All), and Don Giovanni.

Other vocal music
      Aside from opera, secular vocal music was composed for solo voice and chorus. But the production of solo songs and cantatas in other countries could not compare with the growing interest in the German lied, which flourished under C.P.E. Bach and later composers. The most extensive development of secular part-songs took place in England, where numerous catches and glees were written.

      Large-scale sacred choral music of the period was strongly influenced by the prevailing operatic style. Except for the text, some passages from oratorios and passions are indistinguishable from an operatic excerpt. But the Handelian tradition combined with the Neapolitan style and culminated in Haydn's two noble oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons. Liturgical music, such as masses, motets, litanies, psalms, and canticles, also demonstrated that the same composers were writing for both church and theatre. In many instances the style was uniform for the two types, although the chorus naturally played a much greater role in church music.

The Romantic (Romanticism) period
      The beginning of the 19th century witnessed a change of both musical style and aesthetic attitude that has become identified as Romantic. The term romantic originated in German literature of the late 18th century, illustrating once again the overlapping of classical and romantic attitudes and ideals. The Franco-Swiss writer Mme de Staël articulated the new ideals of the movement in 1813 as original, modern, national, popular, derived from the soil, religion, and prevailing social institutions. Obviously, some of these proclaimed romantic ideals and purposes were the same as those of the 18th-century Classicists.

Establishment of the Romantic idiom
      In defining classicism, it was suggested that the distinctive elements of musical romanticism embrace emotionalism, subjectivity, individualism, nationalism, and a preference for a certain type of subject matter. Emotionalism is reflected in the revelation of intensely personal feelings, indeed, the sentimentality that pervades 19th-century music. Subjectivity replaces the formalism of the Classical period, in that impulse and inspiration play a major role in the motivation of both composer and performer, and the listener's response is expected to be more sensory than intellectual. Closely related to subjectivity is the individualism reflected in the highly self-centred expression of composers of the period, as well as by the conviction that a composer's most personal thoughts and feelings are the ultimate artistic message. In contrast to the universality of musical style that prevailed during the 18th century, much 19th-century music is identifiable in terms of national origin. Nationalism—the consciousness of the distinctive features of a nation and the intent to reveal, emphasize, and glorify those features—played a prominent part in Romantic music, partly as a result of social and political developments. The subject matter favoured by Romantic composers is most apparent in vocal music, where words can convey the explicit theme, but instrumental music was also affected by the Romantic attraction to national identification and to remoteness, strangeness, and fantasy, particularly to the fantastic aspects of medieval tales and legends.

Stylistic traits
      During the 19th century, musical techniques and materials were rapidly enriched by new resources, all devoted to the ideal of emotional or dramatic expressiveness. The orchestra, the piano, the solo voice with piano accompaniment, and the opera were the four predominating mediums; chamber and choral music occupied a less central position. Duple and triple divisions of the measure remained the basis of metre, but there were occasional experiments with metric irregularity, and rhythm was recognized as one of the most effective agents of expressiveness in music. Strong rhythmic energy, frequently produced by dotted patterns, provided a vigorous force that could be enhanced by faster and faster tempi. Flaccid patterns in slower tempi provided for the requisite pensive or sorrowful moods.

      Melodic style was determined on one hand by the vocal ideal of song, with long, lyric lines. On the other hand, the new idiomatic possibilities of instruments were being exploited. In either case, expressiveness was the governing ideal. Harmonic and tonal elements were gradually expanded during the century, with more chromaticism, enriched sonorities (seventh and ninth chords), and more nonharmonic tones resulting in a more flexible tonal scheme. Tonic and dominant chords (those based on the first and fifth notes of the key), were no longer the secure poles of tonal movement; frequent and remote modulations (changes from one key to another) contributed to the restlessness of key centres. Because musical interest was centred in melody and harmony, texture remained prevailingly homophonic, though counterpoint played a prominent role in developmental sections. Fugues and other imitative forms occurred as a result of studied archaism or for special effect, but the composers' preoccupation with direct and immediate expression led them to neglect the traditional polyphonic forms, with their inherent traditions and restraints.

      The Romantic abhorrence of formalism has frequently been exaggerated for the purposes of distinguishing between Classical and Romantic attitudes. Established patterns such as the sonata-allegro and rondo forms were subjected to many modifications and extensions, but musical coherence demands a judicious balance of unity and variety, so most compositions of the 19th century are still fairly clear-cut sectional, variational, or developmental forms. The distinctive new features are largely in the area of emphasis and dimension—symphonies lasting over an hour in contrast to the 20- to 30-minute standard of the Classical period. Instrumental colour and variety, as another aspect of expressiveness, was made possible by a greatly enlarged orchestra and figured prominently in the new sound ideal.

Beethoven (Beethoven, Ludwig van) as a transitional figure
      The Janus-like figure who marked the transition from the Classical to the Romantic style was Beethoven, the first composer whose personality and character made a purposeful impact on the types and style of music he composed. Inspired by the revolutionary forces prevailing at the time, he declared himself a free artistic agent, with neither allegiance nor responsibility to any patron. His early works reflected the 18th-century acceptance of providing music on demand, and he applied his craftsmanship to supplying compositions in hope of financial reward. But in his later works, from about 1820 on, he declared his personal independence and wrote only what his imagination and inspiration dictated, thus establishing individuality, subjectivity, and emotional expression as the standard for Romantic composers. Yet the body of music he produced reflects the tastes of the 18th rather than the 19th century, in that he was attracted more by the absolute forms of instrumental music than by the dramatic and lyrical forms cultivated by the Romanticists. Symphonies, chamber music (particularly string quartets), and piano pieces (including 32 sonatas) far outweigh his one opera, one oratorio, one major mass, and assorted songs and part-songs. His lack of interest in dramatic vocal music reflects the classical side of his nature, though the expressive changes apparent in his instrumental works are evidence of his being the springboard to the Romantic epoch.

      The opera remained a flourishing medium throughout the 19th century, and Italian (Italy) opera continued as the dominant type during the first half of the century in the hands of Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, and Gaetano Donizetti. The reforms instigated by Gluck were discernible, but enough of the genre's indigenous Italianate character remained to distinguish it from other national types. The man who, more than any other, personifies Italian opera of the period is Giuseppe Verdi (Verdi, Giuseppe) (1813–1901), whose works are still among the most performed. Late in the century, the tendency toward even more realistic and topical subject matter produced the verismo (“realism”) school of Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Pietro Mascagni, and Giacomo Puccini.

      Meanwhile, German opera developed into the epitome of romantic subject matter and expressiveness, beginning in 1821 with the performance of Der Freischütz (The Freeshooter), by Carl Maria von Weber. Plots based on tales from Teutonic mythology and medieval legend that emphasized the mystical aspects of nature were a distinctive feature of Germanic operas and distinguished them from the more mundane Italianate plots. Richard Wagner (Wagner, Richard) (1813–83) crystallized the German Romantic ideal into the music drama, in which all aspects of the production—drama, music, design, performance—were intended to fuse into a manifestation of pure artistic expression in which no one element predominated over the others, as singing still tended to do in Italian opera. There was no development in Germany after Wagner comparable with the post-Verdi verismo group in Italy. Wagner's innovations—once again a readjustment of dramatic versus musical forces in musical theatre—were the point of departure for most German opera since his time, from Richard Strauss to the present.

      In Paris, the operatic centre of the world from late in the 18th century until well into the 19th, native composers were quick to sense the Gluckian changes in Italian opera as well as the new directions in Germany. Beginning with Rossini's Guillaume Tell in 1829 and crystallizing in the operas of Giacomo Meyerbeer in the 1830s and 1840s, French grand opera emerged as the most opulent and grandiose musico-dramatic spectacle of the first half of the century. During the later 19th century, opéra comique and grand opera merged to produce the prevailing French lyric opera. At the same time, opéra comique branched off in another direction to produce operettas, which developed into the musical comedies of the 20th century. Indigenous opera appeared in other regions, especially in Russia, Bohemia, and Scandinavia, as a result of nationalistic fervour.

      Reaching both a culmination and a turning point in the nine symphonies of Beethoven, orchestral music developed in two directions during the 19th century. On the one hand were composers who, because of their training and temperament, adhered primarily to Classical forms and ideals of absolute music. On the other hand were the composers seeking new realms of dramatic content, colour, and expressiveness. Even for the more conservative group, both the forms and the orchestra itself were greatly expanded during the century, but the total output of works was much smaller than in the Classical period. Romantic musical vocabulary replaced the Classical language in symphonies, of course, and programmatic content (i.e., an extramusical image or story) was a frequent element.

New orchestral forms
      The more progressive composers cultivated new musical types that represented the tastes and ideals of the Romantic period—the concert overture, the symphonic poem (later called tone poem), the symphonic suite, and symphonic variations (musical variation). The concert overture, a direct development of overtures to dramatic works, was an attempt to reconcile the old classical demands for form with Romantic desire for programmatic content. It was usually a sonata-allegro form with picturesque themes designed to suggest (with the help of the title) characters, locations, or dramatic situations. Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture and Brahms's Tragic Overture (completed 1880) are representatives of the genre. The symphonic poem, foreshadowed in Hector Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique (completed 1830), was originated by Franz Liszt at midcentury as an orchestral work, usually in one movement, based on an extramusical idea such as a poem or a narrative. The futility of attempting to depict explicit events and attitudes in purely musical terms resulted in the demise of the form early in the 20th century after the many tone poems of Richard Strauss. The symphonic suite was one of three distinct types: (1) an outgrowth of 18th-century dance suites, divertimentos, or serenades, (2) the extension of the symphonic poem into a composite work of several movements of related programmatic nature, or (3) a group of selections from a dramatic work such as a ballet. Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade represents the second type, and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is typical of the third. While variations had appeared as movements of symphonies and concerti since the mid-18th century, they became an independent orchestral form during the last quarter of the 19th century. César Franck's Variations symphoniques (1885) is a good example of the type. Popular orchestral pieces, such as the waltzes of Johann Strauss, also flourished.

      The mainstream of composers whose orchestral music reflected most clearly their allegiance to Classical forms and models—though conditioned by Romanticism, of course—is represented by Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Anton Bruckner. The more overtly Romantic contingent was centred around Berlioz, Liszt, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss.

The movement toward national expression
      A third group, chiefly nationalists who were reacting against Germanic domination of instrumental music as well as reflecting the sociopolitical developments of the era, combined features of both conservative and progressive camps, to which they added national characteristics. While there were manifestations of the movement in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Spain, and England, the most productive and outstanding of those who sought to reflect national distinctiveness were the Russian “Five”—César Cui, Mily Balakirev, Aleksandr Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov—the Bohemians Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, and the Scandinavians Edvard Grieg, Carl Nielsen, and Jean Sibelius. French composers such as Camille Saint-Saëns, César Franck, and Vincent d'Indy were motivated by the same impulse of independence, but they could hardly be categorized as nationalists in the same sense as their eastern European colleagues, since there was less distinctive folk material from which to draw colourful materials and since they had been in the mainstream of musical development all along.

Piano music (piano)
      One of the most popular media of the Romantic era, thanks to the rapid technical development of the instrument, was piano music. Another reason for the popularity of the piano was the growing demand for recreation and entertainment on the part of the newly affluent middle class. In tune with the taste of the times, small pieces of distinctive expressive character (hence, “character pieces”) were the most popular type, either as single pieces or as parts of composite works. Stylized dances continued to be popular, but nationalistic types such as the polonaise and mazurka and the novel waltz replaced the staid minuets of the previous era. Sonatas continued to occupy serious composers, and sets of variations continued to flourish. The virtuosity of the violinist Niccolò Paganini and his contemporaries led to many studies, or études, designed to exhibit the performer's dexterity as well as the invention of the composer. Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms were the major composers of piano music after Beethoven, but practically all composers of the time contributed to the literature.

      The vocal (vocal music) counterpart of the keyboard character piece was the solo song with piano accompaniment. With the rise of the German romantic poetry of Goethe, Schiller, Heine, and others, about the beginning of the 19th century, the German lied (“song”) flourished. After 1850, composers of other nations, especially France and Russia, also produced a song literature of universal appeal. A pioneer and certainly the most prolific composer of lieder was Schubert, who in his short life wrote more than 600 songs. His chief successors, in chronological order, were Karl Loewe, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Hugo Wolf, and Richard Strauss.

Chamber and choral music
      The great Viennese tradition of chamber music reached its zenith in the works of Beethoven and with the death of Schubert came temporarily to a close. The conciseness, unity, and balance that were basic to the Classical ideal were incompatible with the essence of musical Romanticism. When writing for instruments, the typical Romantic composer was inclined toward the colouristic effects and expressive possibilities of the orchestra. Chamber music continued to be written and performed, of course, but nowhere was it one of the primary interests of composers as it had been during the 18th century. Predictably, the more conservative composers, such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms, were the chief composers of chamber music.

      While the same musical vocabulary and style had served both church and opera house since the rise of dramatic music, the 19th century witnessed a separation of musical idioms according to function—sacred or secular. Music for use in church was generally conservative, especially after the “rediscovery” of Palestrina and systematic research into the reform of Gregorian chant. On the other hand, cantatas and popular part-songs produced for the many amateur choral societies incorporated as many of the new techniques as could be managed by the singers. There was some fusion of the two idioms in oratorios and in settings of liturgical texts for the concert hall or for special occasions. The requiem mass, with its vividly dramatic content, was attractive to Romantic composers, and Berlioz's and Verdi's settings remain as emotionally telling today as most operas of the period.

Modern period
Diversity of styles
      The striking changes in musical style that occurred about 1900 were a turning point in the history of Western music comparable to the dramatic transformation of the early 14th and early 17th centuries. But never before had the change been so rapid, and never before had there been such a diversity of resulting styles. The last decades of the 19th century witnessed what might be termed the diffusion of Romanticism, when significant departures from the current musical vocabulary appeared in the works of some nationalist composers and especially in the Impressionistic (Impressionism) style represented in France by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. The amorphous rhythmic patterns, the whole-tone scale, the concept of free relationship of adjacent harmonies, and the kaleidoscopic textures of musical Impressionism were musical manifestations of the aesthetic movements current in painting and literature.

      The experimental works of Arnold Schoenberg (Schoenberg, Arnold) and Igor Stravinsky (Stravinsky, Igor) about 1910 heralded a new epoch in music. Schoenberg was the pioneer when his adoption of the ideals of the Expressionist movement—like Impressionism an aesthetic development shared by other art forms—resulted in his discarding traditional harmonic concepts of consonance and dissonance and led to the development of atonality and 12-tone technique (in which all 12 tones of the octave are serialized, or given an ordered relationship). Stravinsky's revolutionary style, variously labelled “dynamism,” “barbarism,” or “primitivism,” concentrated on metric imbalance and percussive dissonance and introduced a decade of extreme experimentation that coincided with World War I, a period of major social and political upheaval.

      In contrast with Schoenberg's and Stravinsky's experiments during the second decade of the century, another line of demarcation appeared about 1920 with a general return to the aesthetic ideals of the late 18th century. Following the leadership of Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Béla Bartók, and Sergey Prokofiev, among others, most prominent composers entered a Neoclassical period characterized by restraint of emotional content; simplification of materials, structures, and textures; a greater attention to craftsmanship; and a revival of concern for linear counterpoint rather than instrumental or harmonic colour. Baroque emphasis on counterpoint and Classical formalism were now clothed in 20th-century melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, tonal, and orchestral idioms. The Expressionist followers of Schoenberg, most notably Alban Berg, continued in their preoccupation with serial techniques.

      Neoclassicism continued as the dominant trend throughout the period from about 1920 until World War II, while many of the experimental techniques introduced during the revolutionary second decade of the century were gradually refined, modified, and assimilated into the accepted musical vocabulary. At the same time, experimentation continued alongside a tenacious conservatism that echoed Romantic ideals and styles. Nationalism also continued to flourish, reaching a level in some countries never achieved during the 19th century.

      After World War II the two leading artistic attitudes tended to merge when the followers of Anton von Webern carried serial composition to such a rigorous extreme that its craftsmanship and intellectual orientation suggested Classicism rather than Expressionism. Shortly afterward, Stravinsky, the doyen of the Neoclassical group, began experimenting with serialism. Avant-garde music since that time has begun to employ the techniques made possible by technological developments in electronics.

Advent of electronic composition
      Beginning about 1950, two leading groups began experimenting with electronic music, one in Cologne and the other in Paris (France). The product of the latter group was referred to as musique concrète in acknowledgement of the principle that preexisting, or “concrete,” recorded sounds serve as the basis of all sonorities in the finished work. The basic sounds, which may be derived from any source—musical, natural, or mechanical—are modified electronically and arranged in any combination and succession suitable to the composer's purpose. The German group, led by Karlheinz Stockhausen (Stockhausen, Karlheinz), was concerned with a purer form of the medium in that its basic sounds are electrically generated instead of being recorded from sources external to the electronic apparatus. The two approaches share one connecting link with music of the past: all sounds have pitch, intensity, duration, and quality. All other concepts of musical organization have been discarded, including the necessity of a performer. Electronic compositions exist on a tape (or disc), and can be made audible by a speaker system. The dehumanizing of music has been carried several steps further by the use of mathematics and even of computers to determine the nature of sound materials—either electronic or that produced by more conventional means—and their organization. At the other extreme is aleatory music, in which the performer is allowed to choose the manner and order of presentation of materials specified or simply suggested by the composer.

      Another result of advances in electronics has been the tremendous growth of popular music during the 20th century. New techniques have made possible high-fidelity reproduction of sound and its widespread and rapid dissemination through radio, phonograph, tape recorder, and television. In addition, some of the instruments used in popular music have incorporated electronic amplification as well as sound production. While there has been a popular music as long as mankind has turned to singing and dancing for diversion and recreation, much of it was folk music and existed only as an oral tradition. But popular music in the modern sense originated in the late 18th century, when ballads made popular in ballad opera and dance music received wide circulation. The same types flourished throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, when a new direction was prompted by the emergence of jazz among blacks in the southern United States. After the original ragtime came jazz proper, swing, bebop, and rock in its numerous manifestations—punk, new wave, etc. Early in the century, the novelty of jazz rhythms and dominance of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments over strings attracted some serious composers who occasionally incorporated suitable jazz idioms into their works. Since about 1930, the influence has worked in both directions, and popular music has gradually adopted techniques that originated in serious music. Regardless of the interaction of popular and serious music, the popularity of the former is one of the most significant musical developments of the 20th century, especially in view of the widening gulf between the serious composer and the potential audience.

      It is impossible to arrive at a complete and objective description of a revolutionary movement while it is in progress; only a period of time can provide the necessary perspective. It can be acknowledged, however, that music has never before passed through a more anarchic phase than in the 20th century. The tremendous number and diversity of stylistic distinctions has precluded a characteristic designation for the first half of the century, but one must be forthcoming, for musicians of the future will need the terms modern and contemporary for their own times.

      Despite the disproportionate publicity given to the most radical experiments, the majority of leading composers working today continue along the moderate path established in the late 1920s and 1930s. And, if one can rely on the lessons of history, the mainstream of music will continue to absorb those new techniques that contribute to expressiveness and communication while discarding that which is merely novel and sensational, so that music history will remain an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process.

Ralph Thomas Daniel

Additional Reading
General music reference works include Don Michael Randel (ed.), The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (1986); and Denis Arnold, The New Oxford Companion to Music, 2 vol. (1983, reprinted 1990). Also useful are Friedrich Blume (ed.), Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 17 vol. (1949–86); Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 20 vol. (1980, reprinted 1993); and Theodore Baker, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed., rev. by Nicolas Slonimsky (1992).Survey histories include Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 4th ed. (1988); New Oxford History of Music, 10 vol. (1954–90), with some volumes in 2nd editions; and K Marie Stolba, The Development of Western Music: A History, 2nd ed. (1994).The Prentice Hall History of Music Series offers a comprehensive set of period surveys, including Jeremy Yudkin, Music in Medieval Europe (1989); Howard Mayer Brown, Music in the Renaissance (1976); Claude V. Palisca, Baroque Music, 3rd ed. (1991); Reinhard G. Pauly, Music in the Classic Period, 3rd ed. (1988); Rey M. Longyear, Nineteenth-century Romanticism in Music, 3rd ed. (1988); and Eric Salzman, Twentieth-century Music, 3rd ed. (1988). The following monographs offer more detailed studies of specific periods: Albrecht Riethmüller and Frieder Zaminer (eds.), Die Musik des Altertums (1989); Lise Manniche, Music and Musicians in Ancient Egypt (1991); Giovanni Comotti, Music in Greek and Roman Culture (1989; originally published in Italian, 1979); Richard H. Hoppin, Medieval Music (1978); Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance, rev. ed. (1959); Lorenzo Bianconi, Music in the Seventeenth Century (1987; originally published in 1982); Manfred F. Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era, from Monteverdi to Bach (1947, reissued 1977); Philip G. Downs, Classical Music (1992); Leon Plantinga, Romantic Music (1984); Robert P. Morgan, Twentieth-century Music (1991); and Nicolas Slonimsky, Music Since 1900, 5th ed. (1994).Ralph Thomas Daniel Ed.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Western swing — Stylistic origins Western blues folk swing Dixieland jazz Cultural origins 1920s and 1930s; small towns in the US Southwest Typical instruments guitar • piano • drums • vocals • …   Wikipedia

  • Western music (North America) — Western music Stylistic origins Traditional American and immigrant music Cultural origins American West Typical instruments (See String band) Fiddle Mandolin Guitar Bass fiddle Steel Guitar Banjo …   Wikipedia

  • Music of Sri Lanka — Music of South Asia Bangladesh Bhutan …   Wikipedia

  • Music of Canada — General topics Portal Genres …   Wikipedia

  • Western Province — Western, das englische Wort für westlich, ist ein Film Genre, siehe: Western, ein Literatur Genre, siehe: Wildwestroman, ein Musik Genre, siehe: Western Music. Westernreiten ist ein Reitstil im Pferdesport, siehe auch: Westernsattel.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Western (Begriffsklärung) — Western, (englisch für westlich) steht für ein Film Genre, siehe: Western, ein Literatur Genre, siehe: Wildwestroman, ein Musik Genre, siehe: Western Music. Western Blot, molekularbiologische und diagnostische Methode den französischen Spielfilm… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MUSIC — This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction written sources of direct and circumstantial evidence the material relics and iconography notated sources oral tradition archives and important collections of jewish music… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Music — For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). Music …   Wikipedia

  • music — musicless, adj. /myooh zik/, n. 1. an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color. 2. the tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or… …   Universalium

  • music and dance, Oceanic — Introduction       the music and dance traditions of the indigenous people of Oceania, in particular of Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, New Zealand, and Australia. Music and dance in Polynesia and Micronesia are audible and visual extensions of …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.