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History Of Western Music

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softwareNerd
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I'm currently listening to a audio-series on the "History of Western Music". The authors divide western music into the following phases:

- Medieval

- Rennaissance

- Baroque

- Classical

- Modern

The Rennaissaince phase is summarized as "equal voice polyphony". I don't think a single word or phrase was used to describe Medieval music., but I assume that it was mostly "monophony", if that's the term. And Baroque appears to be "non-equal voice polyhony" (my crude summary).

After listening up to the Classical-music lecture, I still do not think I can summarize the most distinguishing characteristic or each phase in a word, phrase or sentence.

My question is: is the above the right classification? And ... what would be a simple summary of each phase.

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I'm currently listening to a audio-series on the "History of Western Music". The authors divide western music into the following phases:

- Medieval

- Rennaissance

- Baroque

- Classical

- Modern

The Rennaissaince phase is summarized as "equal voice polyphony". I don't think a single word or phrase was used to describe Medieval music., but I assume that it was mostly "monophony", if that's the term. And Baroque appears to be "non-equal voice polyhony" (my crude summary).

After listening up to the Classical-music lecture, I still do not think I can summarize the most distinguishing characteristic or each phase in a word, phrase or sentence.

My question is: is the above the right classification? And ... what would be a simple summary of each phase.

Dear sotwareNerd,

Who are the authors of this series?

In my opinion those definitions aren't very good. The phases are useful to help classify time periods in an general way but do they include the Romantic period under Modern?

(I think the word you are looking for is Homophonic.)

I'll submit some better definitions for you later, if you have a sincere interest.

Regards,

Pytheus

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Well, I can edit in just a few marginal comments. Some medieval music was also polyphonic -- polyphony was introduced with Medieval music, I think around the 12th c. (Gregorian chant is a different kettle of fish). It's also conventional (and rightly so, I'd say) to subdivide modern, i.e. postclassical music into at least Romantic and Modern (or better: Beethoven, Romantic and Modern), and frankly I think the Rococo should be separated from the Baroque. Although I could go for Pre-music, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Post-music as the essential classification.

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Well, I can edit in just a few marginal comments. Some medieval music was also polyphonic -- polyphony was introduced with Medieval music, I think around the 12th c. (Gregorian chant is a different kettle of fish). It's also conventional (and rightly so, I'd say) to subdivide modern, i.e. postclassical music into at least Romantic and Modern (or better: Beethoven, Romantic and Modern), and frankly I think the Rococo should be separated from the Baroque. Although I could go for Pre-music, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Post-music as the essential classification.

I've heard that term "Pre-Music" before, but I don't understand what is means. Rather than "Post-Music" I'd submit Non-Music, also known as noise.

But as for Medieval music NOT being music I'd disagree, it does meet all the criteria as music as I understand it. Maybe not good music, but music none-the-less.

Of course all this could have been avoided if Rome had never fallen and the development of Greek musical thought had continued. But alas that didn't happen. These Greek musical ideas weren't "lost" they were DESTROYED! Burned in Bonfires of the Vanities by Chrsitian mobs intent on the destruction of anything pagan. Why do you think the Church modes are different from the original Greek ones? Because the original texts had been consigned to the flames and the morons left in charge GOT IT WRONG! :P

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My mistake, yes there is a "Romantic" stage defined in this lecture series. (Each lecture is by a different person. The series is from "Sussex Publications Ltd., ISBN: 1565111850".)

So, the stages are:

- Medieval (Homophonic)

- Rennaissance (Equal voice polyphony)

- Baroque (???)

- Classical (???)

- Romantic (???)

- Modern (???)

I'll add more after I have completed the series. There may be a summarization in the later lectures.

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I've heard that term "Pre-Music" before, but I don't understand what is means. Rather than "Post-Music" I'd submit Non-Music, also known as noise.
I learned "pre" from a guy who played in the symphony, which summed up his POV -- anything before Purcell. I agree with the more accurate term "Non-music".
But as for Medieval music NOT being music I'd disagree, it does meet all the criteria as music as I understand it. Maybe not good music, but music none-the-less.
I wouldn't say it's non-music. I am not a fan of chant, but I do enjoy a bit of the old medieval, even though I tend towards Renaissance and Baroque as my taste for Western.

The only performances of Ancient Greek music which I've heard are these -- I have no idea how accurate this is (although obviously it's not played on real instruments). I'm actually kind of interested because I'm trying to understand the nature of Kurdish music, given how it diverges from other middle eastern genres, and there are other traces of Greek influences on them.

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  • 16 years later...

A History of Emotion in Western Music (Spitzer 2020)

From the publisher:

Quote

When asked to describe what music means to them, most people talk about its power to express or elicit emotions. As a melody can produce a tear, tingle the spine, or energize athletes, music has a deep impact on how we experience and encounter the world. Because of the elusiveness of these musical emotions, however, little has been written about how music creates emotions and how musical emotion has changed its meaning for listeners across the last millennium.

In this sweeping landmark study, author Michael Spitzer provides the first history of musical emotion in the Western world, from Gregorian chant to Beyoncé. Combining intellectual history, music studies, philosophy, and cognitive psychology, A History of Emotion in Western Music introduces current approaches to the study of emotion and formulates an original theory of how musical emotion works. Diverging from psychological approaches that center listeners' self-reports or artificial experiments, Spitzer argues that musical emotions can be uncovered in the techniques and materials of composers and performers. Together with its extensive chronicle of the historical evolution of musical style and emotion, this book offers a rich union of theory and history.

Of related interest: Con Molto Sentimento (Enright 1995)

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