In today’s era where everyone is exhausted and irritated, music is playing an important role in our lifestyle. Undoubtedly, music had a great role in the lifecycle of humans even before we can speak. Some evidence shows that early-man made flutes from animal bones and stones as percussion. Voice was the first and the natural medium of expression in our ancestors, whether to comfort a child or to communicate with others. These were some of the beginnings from where the evolution of music starts. Therefore, in this article, we will move further with the history of music. We will also find some evidence of how music was important in sacred and secular things.
History of Music
Impacts from west to east divided into the pre-Christian music of Greek and then the Romans. Musical practice is transferred by the travelers, preferably musicians, who bring wealth from distinct countries. Around Europe from the very beginning of the first century, monasteries were the places where music became a part of the people. At the very beginning, music was part of the devotees and followers of god and then it followed to others.
Christianity had established itself and demands a new music culture. Christian music has its roots in the beliefs of the Hebrew people. Consequently, this was the basis of sacred music for centuries.
Medieval Period of Music
As we see the history of music, we enter the time of Medieval Period, which generally has the time period of 500AD till the mid 15thcentury. In this time period, music was a dominant art among cathedrals and kings. In the medieval period, it adopts more elaborated structures which helps in the production of beautiful works. Hildegard von Bingen and Perotin were the pioneers of many of the forms which can still recognize in the motet and the sacred Mass.
Earlier, instruments were developed in with the accordance of imagination of the composer. With the ending of the medieval period, there was an emergence of instruments in their own way that results in the new forms of music. Before going to the renaissance period, it is important to discuss Troubadours and the Trouveres. They both were the storytellers and musicians who travel across Europe and Asia, and sung ballads, and mixes their musical culture with them.
The renaissance was the golden period of musical history, which has a time period of 1450 to 1600AD. Free from the musical culture of the medieval period, the composers of the renaissance came in a new way. Josquin De Prez was one of the early composers of the renaissance period. He was the great master of polyphonic style, which consists of combining voices to create soothing music. After that Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, and William Byrd starts to work on the ideas and compositions of des Prez. This period also includes the invention of some new instruments like the bassoon and the trombone. These inventions gave composers more ideas to work and explore the music than before. Keyboard instruments also came in trend and that was the point when the advent of sonata increases. With the end of the renaissance, the Church modes start to mix up with the functional harmony.
Baroque Period of Music
The Baroque Period is the home for some of the most famous composers and the compositions we have in Classic Western music. It also has some of the inventions of the most important musical instruments. Italy, Germany, and England were dominating the musical landscape from the period of the renaissance. Some of the famous composers of the era were, G F Handel, Vivaldi, and Purcell. Their composition glittered the whole period, like Handel’s “The Messiah”, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, and Purcell’s opera “Dido and Aeneas”.
Vocal music was on the list but it also includes anthems and chorales. In the Baroque period, opera was an established music form and had an astonishing expression.
After the Baroque, we jump into the classical period with the time period of 1730 to 1820. In this period, Haydn and Mozart are dominating the musical world and Germany and Austria s creative hearts. This period moves away from the polyphonic form to the homophonic. One of the significant development of this period was Piano, which was replaced with the harpsichord of Baroque. Along with Chamber music, Orchestra also got proper recognition and was a feature of the classical era. Also, Opera came in its forms in these years which was quite better than the imagination of Baroque composers.
The Romantic era started with the contribution of Beethoven and had a time period of 1780 to 1880. Beethoven’s work on sonata form in his concertos was different from any other composers that cannot be matched. the romantic era has gone through so many changes and developments in the quality of instruments and diverse compositions. the echoes of the romantic era are still working at present with the works of Elgar and Arthur Bliss. Debussy and Ravel are the key composers of this colorful era with the works of Monet and Manet. both of them composed incredibly for the piano with their poetry. Their works of the orchestra are some of the most beautiful pieces ever written.
Therefore, music has come a long way journey from centuries. Each period we described has different composers and forms of compositions. However, with all these periods and forms, classical music is still relevant today, and many composers worked to make it what we see it today. We still look back to these periods and remember how beautifully they crafted them. We are thankful for their hard work, for the incredible compositions they gave us.