Western art music



History of European art music
Early
Medieval(476 – 1400)
Renaissance(1400 – 1600)
Common practice
Baroque(1600 – 1760)
Classical(1730 – 1820)
Romantic(1815 – 1910)
Modern and contemporary
20th century classical(1900 – 2000)
Contemporary classical(1975 – present)


Classical music is a broad term that usually refers to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, Western art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 9th century to the 21st century.[1] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which known as the common practice period.

When the term is used as a synonym for Western art music, the term encompasses a range of musical styles and approaches, ranging from compositional techniques (such as fugue)[2] to entertaining operettas.[3][4]

European classical music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century.[5] Western staff notation is used by composers to prescribe to the performer the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact execution of a piece of music. This leaves less room for practices, such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, that are frequently heard in non-European art musics (compare Indian classical music and Japanese traditional music), and popular music.[6][7][8]

The public taste for and appreciation of formal music of this type waned in the late 1900s in the United States and United Kingdom in particular.[9] Certainly this period has seen classical music falling well behind the immense commercial success of popular music, in the opinion of some, although the number of CDs sold is not indicative of the popularity of classical music.[10]

The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to "canonize" the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Beethoven as a golden age [11] The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1836.[12][13]

Timeline

Though classical music is considered to have spanned the period in Europe between Medieval to present, classical music actually began and had its roots in the era of the Ancient Greeks. The mathematician Pythagorus created a tuning system and helped to codify music. Ancient Greek instruments such as the aulos and lyre eventually led to the modern day instruments of a classical orchestra.

The major time divisions of classical music are the early period (which includes Medieval (476 – 1400) and Renaissance (1400 – 1600)); the Common practice period (which includes Baroque (1600 – 1760), Classical (1730 – 1820), and Romantic periods (1815 – 1910)); and the modern and contemporary period which includes 20th century classical (1900 – 2000) and contemporary classical (1975 – current).

The antecedent to the early period was the era of ancient music from before the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD), very little of which survived. The music that survived from this period is mostly from ancient Greece. The Medieval period includes music from after the fall of Rome to about 1450. Monophonic chant, also called plainsong or Gregorian Chant, was the dominant form until about 1100. Polyphonic (multi-voiced) music developed from monophonic chant throughout the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance Era. The Renaissance music was from 1450 – 1600. It was characterized by greater use of instrumentation, multiple interweaving melodic lines and by the use of the first bass instruments.

The common practice era began with the Baroque period in about 1600 and extended until 1750. Baroque music is characterized by the use of complex tonal counterpoint and the use of a basso continuo, a continuous bass line. During this period keyboard music played on the harpsichord and pipe organ became increasingly popular. The classical period, from about 1750 – 1820, established many of the norms of composition, presentation and style, and the piano became the predominant keyboard instrument.

The Romantic era, from 1820 – 1910, codified practice, expanded the role of music in cultural life and created institutions for the teaching, performance and preservation of music. It is characterized by increased attention to melody and rhythm, as well as expressive and emotional elements, paralleling romanticism in other art forms.

The modern era began with Impressionist music from 1910-1920, which was dominated by French composers who went against the traditional German ways of art and music. Impressionist music by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel was arrhythmic, and it used the pentatonic scale, long, flowing phrases and brass instruments rather than stringed instruments. Modern, 1905-1985, was a period which represented a crisis in the values of classical music and the extension of theory and technique. 20th century classical music, a wide variety of post-Romantic styles composed through the year 1999, includes late Romantic, Modern and Postmodern styles of composition. The term contemporary music is sometimes used to describe music composed in the late 20th century through present day.

The prefix neo is used to describe a 20th century or contemporary composition written in the style of an earlier period, such as classical, romantic, or modern. Stravinsky's Pulcinella, for example, is a neoclassical composition.

The dates are generalizations, since the periods overlapped and the categories are somewhat arbitrary. The use of counterpoint and fugue, which is considered characteristic of the Baroque era, was continued by Mozart, who is generally classified as typical of the classical period, by Beethoven who is often described as a founder of the romantic period, and Brahms, who is classified as romantic.

Aspects

Classical music is considered primarily a written musical tradition, preserved in music notation, as opposed to being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings of particular performances. While there are differences between particular performances of a classical work, a piece of classical music is generally held to transcend any interpretation of it. The use of musical notation is an effective method for transmitting classical music, since the written music contains the technical instructions for performing the work. The written score, however, does not usually contain explicit instructions as to how to interpret the piece in terms of production or performance, apart from directions for dynamics, tempo and expression (to a certain extent); this is left to the discretion of the performers, who are guided by their personal experience and musical education, their knowledge of the work's idiom, and the accumulated body of historic performance practices.

However, improvisation once played an important role in classical music. A remnant of this improvisatory tradition in classical music can be heard in the cadenza, a passage found mostly in concertos and solo works, designed to allow skilled performers to exhibit their virtuoso skills on the instrument. Traditionally this was improvised by the performer; however more often than not, it is written for (or occasionally by) the performer beforehand.

Its written transmission, along with the veneration bestowed on certain classical works, has led to the expectation that performers will play a work in a way that realizes in detail the original intentions of the composer. During the 19th century the details that composers put in their scores generally increased. Yet the opposite trend — admiration of performers for new "interpretations" of the composer's work — can be seen, and it is not unknown for a composer to praise a performer for achieving a better realization of the composer's original intent than the composer was able to imagine. Thus, classical music performers often achieve very high reputations for their musicianship, even if they do not compose themselves. Generally however, it is the composers who are remembered more than the performers.

Classical composers often aspire to imbue their music with a very complex relationship between its affective (emotional) content and the intellectual means by which it is achieved. Many of the most esteemed works of classical music make use of musical development, the process by which a musical germ, idea or motif is repeated in different contexts or in altered form. The classical genres of sonata form and fugue employ rigorous forms of musical development.

Another consequence of the primacy of the composer's written score is that improvisation plays a relatively minor role in classical music, in sharp contrast to traditions like jazz, where improvisation is central. Improvisation in classical music performance was far more common during the Baroque era than in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and recently the performance of such music by modern classical musicians has been enriched by a revival of the old improvisational practices. During the classical period, Mozart and Beethoven sometimes improvised the cadenzas to their piano concertos (and thereby encouraged others to do so), but they also provided written cadenzas for use by other soloists.

Complexity

Classical works often display musical complexity through the composer's use of development, modulation (changing of keys), variation rather than exact repetition, musical phrases that are not of even length, counterpoint, polyphony and sophisticated harmony. Larger-scale classical works (such as symphonies, concertos, operas and oratorios) are built up from a hierarchy of smaller units: namely phrases, periods, sections, and movements. Musical analysis often seeks to distinguish and explain these structural levels.

Emotion

Autobiographies of composers reveal that some composers of classical music aspired to communicate a transcendent quality of emotion, what has been called the "sublime" in art. For example, Beethoven set Friedrich Schiller's poem, Ode to Joy in his 9th symphony. However, some composers, such as Iannis Xenakis, argue that the emotional effect of music on the listeners is arbitrary and therefore the objective complexity or informational content of the piece is paramount.

Instrumentation

Classical and popular music are often distinguished by their choice of instruments. The instruments used in common practice classical music were mostly invented before the mid-19th century (often much earlier), and codified in the 18th and 19th centuries. They consist of the instruments found in an orchestra, together with a few other solo instruments (such as the piano, harpsichord, and organ). Electric instruments such as the electric guitar appear occasionally in the classical music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Both classical and popular musicians have experimented in recent decades with electronic instruments such as the synthesizer, electric and digital techniques such as the use of sampled or computer-generated sounds, and the sounds of instruments from other cultures such as the gamelan.

None of the bass instruments existed until the Renaissance. In Medieval music, instruments are divided in two categories: loud instruments for use outdoors or in church, and quieter instruments for indoor use. Many instruments which are associated today with popular music used to have important roles in early classical music, such as bagpipes, vihuelas, hurdy-gurdies and some woodwind instruments. On the other hand, the acoustic guitar, for example, which used to be associated mainly with popular music, has gained prominence in classical music through the 19th and 20th centuries.

While equal temperament became gradually accepted as the dominant musical temperament during the 19th century, different historical temperaments are often used for music from earlier periods. For instance, music of the English Renaissance is often performed in mean tone temperament.

Influence

One criterion used to distinguish works of the classical musical canon is that of cultural durability. However, this is not a distinguishing mark of all classical music: while works by J. S. Bach continue to be widely performed and highly regarded, music by many of Bach's contemporaries is deemed mediocre and is rarely performed, even though it is squarely in the "classical" realm. To some extent, the notion of such durability is a self-fulfilling prophecy (and therefore a fallacy), simply because classical music is studied and preserved at much higher levels than other music.

Popular music

Classical music has often incorporated elements or even taken material from popular music. Examples include occasional music such as Brahms' use of student drinking songs in his Academic Festival Overture, genres exemplified by Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, and the influence of jazz on early- and mid-twentieth century composers including Maurice Ravel, as exemplified by the movement entitled "Blues" in his sonata for violin and piano.[14] Certain postmodern, minimalist and postminimalist classical composers acknowledge a debt to popular music.[15]

There are, likewise, numerous examples of influence flowing in the opposite direction, including popular songs based on classical music, the use to which Pachelbel's Canon has been put since the 1970s, and the musical crossover phenomenon, where classical musicians have achieved success in the popular music arena (one notable example is the "Hooked on Classics" series of recordings made by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the early 1980s).

Folk music

Further information: European Classical Composers Noted for Use of Folk Music
Composers of classical music have often made use of folk music (music created by untutored musicians, often from a purely oral tradition). Some composers, like Dvořák and Smetana, have used folk themes to impart a nationalist flavor to their work, while others (like Bartók) have used specific themes, lifted whole from their folk-music origins.

Commercialism

Certain staples of classical music are often used commercially (that is, either in advertising or in the soundtracks of movies made for entertainment). In television commercials, several loud, bombastically rhythmic orchestral passages have become clichés, particularly the opening "O Fortuna" of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana; other examples in the same vein are the Dies Irae from the Verdi Requiem, Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King, and excerpts of Aaron Copland's "Rodeo".

Similarly, movies and television often revert to standard, clichéd snatches of classical music to convey refinement or opulence: some of the most-often heard pieces in this category include Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Education

Throughout history, parents have often made sure that their children receive classical music training from a young age. Some parents pursue music lessons for their children for social reasons or in an effort to instill a useful sense of self-discipline. Some consider that a degree of knowledge of important works of classical music is part of a good general education.

During the 1990s, several research papers and popular books emergence touting the so-called Mozart effect: a temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart. The popularized version of the controversial theory was expressed succinctly by a New York Times music columnist: "researchers have determined that listening to Mozart actually makes you smarter." Promoters marketed CDs claimed to induce the effect. Florida passed a law requiring toddlers in state-run schools to listen to classical music every day, and in 1998 the governor of Georgia budgeted $105,000 per year to provide every child born in Georgia with a tape or CD of classical music. One of the original researchers commented "I don't think it can hurt. I'm all for exposing children to wonderful cultural experiences. But I do think the money could be better spent on music education programs."

See also

Notes

1. ^ "Classical", The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music, ed. Michael Kennedy, (Oxford, 2007), Oxford Reference Online, accessed 23 July, 2007
2. ^ Walker, Paul. "Fugue", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
3. ^ Lamb, Andrew. "Operetta, §1: Nature and development", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
4. ^ Adorno, Theodore, "On the Social Situation of Music", Essays on Music, ed. Richard Leppart, trans. Susan H. Gillespie, (California, 2002), 429.
5. ^ Chew, Geffrey & Rastall, Richard. "Notation, §III, 1(vi): Plainchant: Pitch-specific notations, 13th–16th centuries", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
6. ^ Malm, W.P./Hughes, David W.. "Japan, §III, 1: Notation systems: Introduction", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
7. ^ IAN D. BENT, DAVID W. HUGHES, ROBERT C. PROVINE, RICHARD RASTALL, ANNE KILMER. "Notation, §I: General", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
8. ^ Middleton, Richard. "Popular music, §I, 4: Europe & North America: Genre, form, style", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
9. ^ Julian Lloyd Webber's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland stated that "Declining audiences, government cuts, disastrous CD sales, sponsors pulling out of the arts, fewer children learning musical instruments, and a total lack of interest from the general media, unless semi-naked bimbo violinists ... are involved. ... It is in stark contrast to music-making in the Far East, where there are still huge numbers of children learning instruments, healthy classical CD sales, media that take a real interest in classical music and, above all, concert halls that are packed with young people as a direct result of that media interest."
10. ^ The economic importance of music in the European Union includes comparison of the number of concerts, venues and musicians employed in classical and popular music
11. ^ Rushton, Julian, Classical Music, (London, 1994), 10
12. ^ The Oxford English Dictionary (2007|). classical, a.. The OED Online. Retrieved on 5-10-2007.
13. ^ "Classical", The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music, ed. Michael Kennedy, (Oxford, 2007), Oxford Reference Online, accessed 23 July, 2007
14. ^ Kelly, Barbara. L. "Ravel, Maurice, §3: 1918–37", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).
15. ^ See, for example, Siôn, Pwyll Ap. "Nyman, Michael", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed July 23 2007), grovemusic.com (subscription access).

References

  • Norman Lebrecht, When the Music Stops: Managers, Maestros and the Corporate Murder of Classical Music, Simon & Schuster 1996

External links

Western art is the art of Europe, and those parts of the world that have come to follow predominantly European cultural traditions such as North America.

Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient
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The Classical period in Western music occurred from about 1750 to 1820, despite considerable overlap at both ends with preceding and following periods, as is true for all musical eras.
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Classical music in its widest sense refers to music composed in a classical tradition and intended as serious art, especially as distinguished from popular or folk music. The term is generally used to "canonize" a musical tradition dating to a period which is the "golden age" of
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History of European art music
Early
Medieval (476 – 1400)
Renaissance (1400 – 1600)
Common practice
Baroque (1600 – 1760)
Classical (1730 – 1820)
Romantic (1815 – 1910)
Modern and contemporary
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The term medieval music encompasses European music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD) and ends in approximately the middle of the fifteenth century.
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Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance, approximately 1400 to 1600. Defining the beginning of the era is difficult, given the lack of abrupt shifts in musical thinking during the 15th century.
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History of European art music
Early
Medieval (476 – 1400)
Renaissance (1400 – 1600)
Common practice
Baroque (1600 – 1760)
Classical (1730 – 1820)
Romantic (1815 – 1910)
Modern and contemporary
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Baroque music describes an era and a set of styles of European classical music which were in widespread use between approximately 1600 and 1750.[1] This era is said to begin in music after the Renaissance and was followed by the Classical music era.
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The Classical period in Western music occurred from about 1750 to 1820, despite considerable overlap at both ends with preceding and following periods, as is true for all musical eras.
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misleading. Please see the discussion on the talk page.


The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from 1820 to 1900, as well as music written according to the norms and styles of that period.
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20th century classical music, the classical music of the 20th century, was extremely diverse, beginning with the late Romantic style of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Impressionism of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and continuing through the Neoclassicism of middle-period Igor
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In the broadest sense, contemporary music is any music being written in the present day. Contemporary classical music can be understood as belonging to a period that started in the mid-1970s with the retreat of modernism.
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Western art is the art of Europe, and those parts of the world that have come to follow predominantly European cultural traditions such as North America.

Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient
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History of European art music
Early
Medieval (476 – 1400)
Renaissance (1400 – 1600)
Common practice
Baroque (1600 – 1760)
Classical (1730 – 1820)
Romantic (1815 – 1910)
Modern and contemporary
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In music, a fugue (IPA: [fjuːg]) is a type of contrapuntal composition or technique of composition for a fixed number of parts, normally referred to as
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Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is closely related both to opera and also to other forms of lighter musical theatre, and in many cases, it is difficult to assign a musical theatre work to a particular genre.
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Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media. It stands in contrast to art music[1]
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Music notation or musical notation is any system which represents aurally perceived music through the use of written symbols. Diverse systems of music notation have been developed in various cultures.
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Pitch is the perceived fundamental frequency of a sound. While the actual fundamental frequency can be precisely determined through physical measurement, it may differ from the perceived pitch because of overtones, or partials, in the sound.
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Meter or metre is the measurement of a musical line into measures of stressed and unstressed "beats", indicated in Western music notation by a symbol called a time signature.
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Rhythm (Greek ῥυθμός = 'flow', or in Modern Greek, 'style') is the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events.
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The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. Indian classical music has its origins as a meditation tool for attaining self realization.
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Many styles of traditional music are included in the music of Japan. Numerous performers can be found across the country, playing several of styles of folk and classical music.
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"Dieu et mon droit" [2]   (French)
"God and my right"
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Johann Sebastian Bach (pronounced [ˈjoːhan zəˈbastjan bax]) (21 March 1685 O.S. – 28 July 1750 N.S.
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Ludwig van Beethoven (English IPA: /ˈlʊdvɪg væn ˈbeɪtoʊvən/; German IPA:
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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language.
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The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. 750 BC[1] (the archaic period) to 146 BC (the Roman conquest). It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western Civilization.
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