U.S. & World
U.S. & World

The Music Era

By on August 11, 2013

Overview of the Music Era
Music has been a key part of humanity and it has undergone several transformations in each century. This article will encompass on the key musical eras that changed the sound of music from one century to the next as follows;

• Medieval Era
• Renaissance
• Baroque
• Romantic Era
• Twentieth Century music

The Music Era

Medieval Era
This era took place lasted for more than two hundred years between 1150-1400. The Church was in charge of music that featured plainsong and Gregorian chant developed by Pope Gregory I. The Church maintained strict rules that controlled composing and performing of music. The University of Notre Dame was the first to develop organum, which marked the beginning of harmony in music’s history. It involved two or three independent lines flowing in harmony. Some of the key composers in this period include;
• Guillaume de Machaut (14th century)
• Landini (14th century)

Renaissance period
This period lasted from 1400 to 1600 and witnesses a resurgence of new beliefs and ideas and did away with old dogmatic beliefs. Musicians and composers had more freedom in the composing and content of their music. Renaissance took place in science, music and the church and it gave rise to exemplary composers such as Frescobaldi, Dunstable, Dufay, Duarte Lobo and Ockeghem. Some of the key characteristics of renaissance music include;
• Introduction of major and minor scales
• Emergence of instrumental music particularly from keyboards
• Emergence and spread of secular music

Baroque period
This musical era began in 1600 and ended in 1750. During this period the elite and upper echelon of society invited great musicians to perform in their dinners and garden parties since there was widespread appreciation of music all over. Some of the best composers during the Baroque period include Antonio Vivaldi who was the best instrumental concerto composer, Rameu Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. The main features of Baroque are;
• Birth of classical music due to increased instrumental compositions.
• Birth of orchestra and opera- Opera began in Florence, Italy.

Classical period

Ludwig Van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Johann Stamitz belong to this period which took place from 1750 to 1830. Classical music was more elegant and melodic than its previous state. Vienna became the training ground for most musicians that became successful and recognized throughout Europe. Significant achievements in this period involve;
• Invention of the orchestral symphony by Johann Stamitz.
• Introduction of sonata – Sonata is whereby a given musical composition is performed instrumentally instead of singing.
• Further improvements on symphony, concerto and quartet.

Romantic Era
Spanning from 1820 to 1900, this period marked the beginning of expressive music. Performers channeled a lot of emotions through their music and the dominant themes were chivalry, praise for heroes and love stories. This is due to the fact that a lot of political and social revolutions were taking place and impacted the lives of many who lived in Europe. German composers performed German folk stories in operas and Italian composers also performed their native folk stories in Italian operas. Some of the best composers of the romantic period are;
• Giuseppe Verdi
• Carl Maria von Weber
• Johannes Brahms
• Hector Berlioz

Twentieth Century Music
Twentieth century music is the modern form of music and is still relevant in today’s world. This period includes a wide array of popular genres such as Jazz, Rock, Pop, Country, Reggae, Soul and Hip Hop music. Different forms of each genre are played all over the world as the twentieth century saw the world living as one global community with deep diversity and plenty of musical genres to offer. Below are some features of twentieth century music
• Use of sophisticated technology in music production
• The form is not rigid and different genres can be blended in one song
• Different genres are not limited to particular regions
• Rise of pop music and electronic effects in music
• Includes complex rhythms

Additional Information:
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Author: Starlie Vincent