Learning Music History

A solid Music Education program trains its students in understanding Music History. History allows students to appreciate different styles of music. This is really important for composition students. Coupled with their understanding of theory, they can draw from various genres to create their own original styles.

“Rock music history”

Understanding the different time periods in Music History is very important because the students are able to see the progression of one style of music to the next. Also, the students will see the connection between styles and the events that occurred during different time periods. The students will see how historical events were and still are reflected in music. The following is a list of European time periods and the type of music that dominated during that time:

1.The Ancient Period (app.753 B.C.-336 A.D.) – Monophony (music having one voice)

2. The Medieval Period (app. 336-1500) – Polyphony (music having more than one voice)

3. The Renaissance Period (app. 1450-1600) – Musica Reservata (music that consists of various texts, sung simultaneously, that share the same sentiment)

4. The Baroque Period (app. 1600-1750) – Toccata (light, fast-moving piano composition), Fugues (composition with re-occurring themes in different voices), Preludes (usually a short introductory piece to a more complex composition)

5. The Classical Period (app. 1750-1827) – Sonata (composition consisting of three contrasting sections called the exposition, the development and the recapitulation)

6. The Romantic Period (1827-1900) – Program Music (music that moves emotions in order to create mental images or depict pictures in the imagination)

7. Music During the Early to Mid -Twentieth Century (1900-1951) – Impressionism (music that focuses on an atmosphere rather than arousing emotions using non-traditional methods), Expressionism (music that expresses intense emotions using non-traditional methods of writing)

Each type of music reflected the era in which it flourished. It took on its characteristics and told the story of events as they unfolded, making music a reflection of its time.