MUSIC HISTORY TIMELINE - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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MUSIC HISTORY TIMELINE. Antiquity. prehistoric times to about 200 A.D. Music of ancient Greece. Mainly what we know is: MONOPHONIC- comprised of a single melodic line without accompaniment or harmonic support. Improvisation-a musician’s ability to alter, vary, or ornament a melody.

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Music history timeline




  • prehistoric times to about 200 A.D. Music of ancient Greece. Mainly what we know is:

  • MONOPHONIC- comprised of a single melodic line without accompaniment or harmonic support.

  • Improvisation-a musician’s ability to alter, vary, or ornament a melody.

Middle ages 800 1400 medieval period


  • Notation began-written music

  • Liturgical music of the Roman Catholic Church

  • Gregorian Chant was the first common music that we have documents.

  • Western European body of music. A theory of it’s usage came into being.

  • Rise of POLYPHONY, the most important development of western music. Polyphonic music is more than one melodic line going on at a time.

  • Act of composition replaced improvisation, and with this came a need for notation, a system of preserving sounds. Decline of feudal aristocratic society, and time of initial separation of church and state, and between religion and science.

  • GREGORIAN CHANT- Monophonic, modal, sung acappello, non-metric, limited range, sung in Latin, written with a special neumatic notation.


  • AUTHENTIC MODES-1 D-Dorian,3 E-Phyrgian, 5F- Lydian, 7G-Mixolydian.

  • PLAGUL MODES- 2Hypodorian 4Hypophrygian 6Hypolydian 8Hypomixolydian

Middle ages cont d

Middle Ages Cont’d

  • SECULAR SONG-Undoubtedly played an important role in Medieval Society, by relatively little of it has been preserved. (LITURGICAL Music preserved by the Catholic Church). What we do have suggests that secular song and poetic creativity flourished mainly in France and Germany. Examples-French poet-composers called “troubadours and traversers”-both meaning “finders”.

  • The French troubadours and trouvere songs were models for German poet-composers “minnesingers and Meistersingers”.

  • EARLY POLYPHONY began in middle ages towards end of the Christian era. It is not known when part singing actually started.

Ars antqua

Ars Antqua

  • 1150-1300 ARS ANTIQUA-“Old ART” era of further significant developments in polyphony. 1st recognition of COMPOSERS.




  • D. PIERRE de la Croix

14 th century

14th Century

  • 14th Century

  • Musical leadership was shared by France where it was called Ars Nova, “New Art”, and Italy, where it was called the Trecento. Important characteristics were held in common by both countries.

    • Far more secular music than sacred music was composed.

    • Tempus Imperfection (duple division of notes) was used more often than

    • Tempus Perfection (triple division symbolic of Father, Son and Holy Ghost)

    • Rhythmic modes were abandoned in favor of more complex and diversified rhythms.

    • Cantus Firma was used less often. More music was freshly composed without any borrowed material.

    • Melodic and rhythmic interest tended to center in the top voice.

    • Harmonic 3rds and 6ths appeared more frequently.

    • LANDINI CADENCE, a melodic formula came into being. It consisted of a scale degree pattern 7-6-1.

  • Earliest organ music preserved in notation is in the Robertobridge Codex in1325

14 th century cont d

14th Century Cont’d

  • 4 Types of Composition

    • a. Motet

    • b. Ballade-aabc-3 part compositions with melodic and rhythmic interest in the top voice.

    • c. Rondeau-round?

    • d. Virelai

  • Leading composer of French ARS NOVA was Guillame de Machaut-1300-1377

  • Phillippe de Vitry- known for his treatise on notation entitled ARS NOVA, from which the entire 14th century musical practices took its name.

  • ITALIAN polyphonic music came prominently into the picture for the 1st time.

  • 3 secular forms of music during the Italian Trecento

    • Madrigal- 2 vocal parts, each stanza, in duple time, concludes with a ritornello, section in triple meter.

    • Caccia- 1st musical form to exploit the principle of canon based on continuous imitation between 2 or more parts.

    • Ballata- Dance song

  • Principal composers of Italian Trecento was Francesco Landini. Most important manuscript collection is the Squarcialupi Codexx which contained some 350 compositions.

Renaissance 1400 1600

RENAISSANCE- 1400-1600

  • Renaissance- translates into re-birth or renewal. A revolution generally reflected in the arts, literature, and philosophy. After a century of supreme authority by the church the 15th century sought to build a stable world upon human achievements. HUMANISM Efforts to rekindle music’s power over human emotions led to a period of sensuous, deeply felt music-making. Most vocal music was religious. The Renaissance was an era of two worlds-the sacred and the secular- that came to compliment each other. The creative paradox was evident in the patronage system that supported musicians and music-making. The most important invention of the period—movable type—which directly affected the dissemination of music, its audience, and its creation. The 1st polyphonic music publication in 1501. New technologies also led to improvements in instrument making. As a result, for the first time in Western music, composers wrote idiomatic instrumental music, including works for keyboard instruments. The development of instrumental music in this period set the stage for further development in the future.

Renaissance cont d

Renaissance Cont’d

Centers of musical activity shifted from central France and Italy to England, northern

France and the Franco-Flemish region.

  • There was a marked trend toward a HOMOPHONIC texture, also called CHORDALSTYLE or familiar style, with a topmost melody supported by chordal harmonies.

  • Melodic progress was characterized by numerous 3rds. Triple meter was employed more than in the 14th century.

    GENRES OF MUSIC - Mass, motet, carol, and secular polyphony.

    Principal English composer of the 1st half of the 15th Century was John Dunstable.


  • Musical characteristics

    • 4 voice writing became more common from middle of century.

    • More stylistic equality among different parts.

    • Imitation played a more prominent role than ever before.

    • Authentic V-I cadence and Plagul IV-I cadence became more common than modal cadences

Significant marks of renaissance era

Significant marks of Renaissance era

  • 1524-First publication of Lutheran chorales. Martin Luther was a theologian that revolutionized religion in Europe. His chorales led to further development of chorale-style writing that is still around in the 21st century.

  • 1592-Anthology of Italian madrigals and in 1601-Thomas Morley had a collection of madrigals.

  • The different musical genres used in the Renaissance period were:

    • Mass – in the Catholic Church

    • Carol- a popular 15th century form in England was the 2 part carol-which was sung to a religious poem of numerous stanzas with the same music.

    • Motet

Franco flemish music

Franco-Flemish Music

  • Four voice writing became more common from the middle of the century.

  • More stylistic equality among the parts.

  • Imitation played a more prominent role than ever before.

  • Composers of the late 15th and early 16th century initiated a more expressive style, which they called MUSICA RESERVATA that was intended to reflect a s powerefully as possible the nuances of text.

    Franco- Flemish composers developed new techniques rather than new genres.



In the canonic form, new imitative devices appeared

  • Augmentation (An increase of the time values of the notes in the imitating voice).

  • Diminution (A decrease of the time values)

  • Inversion (imitation of ascending interval by descending intervals.

  • Retrograde Motion (backward motion of the imitating voice, called crab canons)

The sixteenth century


The 16th century was an era of great achievements in all

the humanities. In music, vocal polyphony reached a

pinnacle of expressiveness that stands among the highest

in the history of Western music. The following important

musical developments:

Although Franco-Flemish techniques dominated throughout Europe, other national schools emerged over the course of the century.

The technique of vocal polyphony was highly developed.

Vocal style was dominant but the beginning of an independent instrumental style was evident.

16 th century cont d

16th Century Cont’d

  • Religious music was still dominated by the Roman Church, but Protestant music, principally in France, Germany, and England began a development that culminated with the end of the Baroque.

  • Secular music rose to a new eminence under the patronage of the nobility.

  • Imitation played a more prominent role than ever.

  • Modality still influenced both sacred and secular music, but the trend was strongly toward major and minor tonalities.

  • Triadic, chordal structures came to permeate 16th century music.

  • Textures varied from homophonic to contrapuntal and were generally characterized by balanced polyphony with equality of parts.



  • Masses and motets dominated religious music. Roman Catholic music had equality of voice parts was the characteristic texture. Although instruments were used in performance, the music was written a cappella with no instruments indicated.

  • Some of the following are the national schools that were starting to develop in music.

  • Franco-Flemish, Roman, Spanish, Venetian, English, German were the 1st national schools to be developed.

Genres cont d

Genres Cont’d

  • The Protestant Reformation was the most significant event to surface in the 16th century.

  • The most important musical contribution of the Lutheran Reformation was a new type of religious song called CHORALE. These hymns were intended for congregational singing. Chorales were monophonic at first, then they were set in simple 4-part harmony with the chorale melody uppermost, and finally, they were used in more elaborate contrapuntal settings for performance by chorus.

Secular music


  • Secular music again rivaled sacred music because of the widespread Renaissance spirit of humanism.

  • The rise of national schools was even more pronounced in secular than sacred music.

  • Secular music thrived in all European courts under the patronage of nobility.

  • Realize that Renaissance secular music was intended as entertainment for amateur performers rather than as concert music.

  • It was composed and performed as chamber music for a few participants rather than large choral ensembles.

  • English madrigals, as we know today, received its initial impetus from Italy.

Instrumental music


Although instrumental music in the Renaissance never

matched the quantity or quality of vocal music, it is important because

it reveals the rise of interest in instrumental media and the first

realization of an independent instrumental idiom.

  • Instrumental music generally stayed within the limits defined by vocal idioms.

  • Improvisation played an important role in performance, especially in melodic ornamentation.

  • As in the Middle Ages, instruments were freely employed in the performance of vocal music, though they were not often specified.

  • Published transcriptions of vocal music for instrumental performance were numerous.

Instrumental style in renaissance style is manifested in these ways

Instrumental style in Renaissance style is manifested in these ways

  • Rapid and long scale passages.

  • Numerous wide skips

  • Melodic range wider than vocal limitations

  • Extensive ornamentation (coloration, embellishment, and figuration).

  • A much freer treatment of dissonance.

Instruments of the renaissance


  • Strings, winds and keyboard instruments.

  • Bowed strings were viols, ancestors of the 17th century violin family.

  • Plucked strings- Lute was the most popular solo instrument. Tablature was the notation used for these instruments.

  • The most important Renaissance wind instrument was the recorder, an end-blown wooden flute. Recorders, made in all sizes from treble to bass were used in various kinds of ensemble music. The shawm and krummhorn were double-reed woodwinds. Cornets, made of wood or ivory, were soft-toned instruments. Various kinds of trumpets and trombones were in use, but they were limited to the natural tones of the harmonic series.

  • Large church organs were built in the Renaissance. String keyboard instruments were of two types: clavichord and harpsichord. Renaissance instrumental ensembles were almost entirely small chamber groups, rarely orchestras.

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