On Writing Music History

Envision that, as an admirer of old style music, you wished to get a more extensive comprehension of the historical backdrop of music; you wished to get a handle on the “10,000 foot view,” in a manner of speaking. Were you to secure the music history message most generally utilized in North American schools and colleges, you would experience a tome portraying crafted by somewhere in the range of 500 writers. Presently I can’t keep 500 arrangers in my mind, and I don’t figure you can either. All things considered, you need to see the entire picture without a moment’s delay, not briefly gain data to be disgorged on a section test and afterward neglected to make space for new data.

My optimal music history, in this way, would treat just twenty-four arrangers, approximately four for each verifiable period- – Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern. Undoubtedly, such periodization has fallen into notoriety among proficient students of history, yet it stays helpful as a method for sorting out the bigger point of view. You will presumably be comfortable with in any event half of these writers: Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Debussy, Stravinsky. mp3quacks.com

In addition, my optimal music history would demand giving a representation to each attestation – no vacant speculations, kindly – and would draw all the melodic models for every writer from a solitary work, with the goal that the collection for the history would be constrained to twenty-four works, ideally music effectively accessible on iTunes or YouTube. What’s more, for medieval music, for the most part dependent on plainsong, let the determinations, so far as could reasonably be expected, be founded on a similar bit of plainsong.


Plainsong, Kyrie Cunctipotens

Tuotilo of St. Nerve, Kyrie Cunctipotens figure of speech (ca. 900)

Cunctipotens genitor (St. Military School, ca. 1125)

Mysterious, En non Diu-Quant voi-Eius in Oriente (thirteenth century)

Machaut, Missa Nostre Dame (Kyrie, ca.1364)


Dufay, Ave regina coelorum (ca. 1464)

Josquin des Pres, Missa Pange Lingua (Agnus Dei; ca.1515)

Victoria, Missa O Magnum Mysterium (motet; Kyrie; second half, sixteenth century)

Weelkes, As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending (1601)


Purcell, Dido and Aeneas (1689), “Dido’s Lament”

Buxtehude, Ein feste Burg (second half, seventeenth century)

Vivaldi, Concerto Grosso in A Minor, Op.3, No. 8 (first development, 1712)

Bach, Cantata 140, Wachet auf ruft uns pass on Stimme (1731) (first development)

Exemplary [46:00]

Haydn, String Quartet in C Major, Op. 73, No. 3 (1797) (first development)

Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro (1786) (Act II Finale)

Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 (first development, 1803)

Sentimental [30:00]

Schubert, Erlkönig (1815)

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique (Dream of a Witches Sabbath, 1830)

Wagner, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde (1865)

Verdi, Otello (Act I, Drinking Song, 1887)

Current [23:30]

Debussy, La Mer (Jeux de Vagues, 1905)

Schoenberg, Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16 (Colors, 1909)

Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps (First 4 developments, 1913)

Reich, Music for 18 Musicians (I. Heartbeats, 1976)

At last, my optimal music history would portray the style of an individual writer or verifiable period in melodic terms. Now I run into a hindrance. The overall population has grasped the jargon of craftsmanship analysis and artistic analysis so one can examine a composition or a sonnet without losing the peruser. Music analysis appreciates no such normal jargon, with the goal that college understudies are frequently required to take courses in music hypothesis before being allowed to take a music history course.

Composing an independent history of traditional music in melodic terms requires clarifying the fundamentals of music hypothesis on the fly, in a manner of speaking. One incomplete arrangement is incorporate a glossary of each specialized term utilized in the book just as a groundwork of essential music hypothesis that the peruser could counsel as important. The peruser of a book, as opposed to the audience of a talk, has the upside of having the option to control the pace totally, stopping for clarifications of specialized terms at whatever point essential.

To abstain from getting excessively entrapped in music hypothesis, my optimal music history would portray works, authors and periods as far as three generally ideas: time, tonality, and timbre.

· Time in music has a few unique implications, including span, musicality (in the feeling of “beating time”), reiteration, and chronicled time (the setting of individual writers and works along a continuum).

· Tonality alludes to the various leveled association of melodic occasions regarding a solitary bringing together pitch. Music from the regular practice time frame, around 1600 to 1900, can be depicted as tonal music. (Whenever requested to name your five most loved bits of old style music, your decisions would almost certainly originate from this period.)