On Writing Music History

On Writing Music History

Imagine, as a lover of classical music, you wanted to get a much wider understanding of a history of music; you desired to understanding the “big picture, inch so to speak. Had been you to get the music history text most in-demand in North American colleges and universities, you will face a tome describing the works of some five hundred or so composers. Now I cannot keep five hundred composers inside my head, and I actually don’t think you can either. After all, you need the whole picture at once, not quickly acquire information to be regurgitated on a part test and then overlooked to make space for new information. backing tracks by Paris Music

My ideal music history, therefore, would treat only twenty-four composers, roughly four for each and every historical period–Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Common, Romantic, Modern. To be sure, such periodization has fallen into disrepute among professional historians, but it remains useful as a way of organizing the larger perspective. In all probability you’ll be familiar with at least 50 % of these composers: Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Debussy, Stravinsky. 

Moreover, my ideal music history would demand on providing an model for each and every assertion–no empty generalizations, please–and would draw all the musical examples for every single composer from a solitary work, so that the repertoire for the would be limited to 24 works, preferably music easily obtainable on iTunes or Bebo. And for medieval music, generally based on plainsong, let the selections, so far as possible, be based on the same piece of plainsong.

Middle ages

Plainsong, Kyrie Cunctipotens
Tuotilo of St. Gall, Kyrie Cunctipotens trope (ca. 900)
Cunctipotens genitor (St. Martial School, ca. 1125)
Unknown, En non Diu-Quant voi-Eius in Oriente (13th century)
Machaut, Missa Nostre Woman (Kyrie, ca. 1364)
Dufay, Ave regina coelorum (ca. 1464)
Josquin parfois des Pres, Missa Pange Stato (Agnus Dei; ca. 1515)
Victoria, Missa O Magnum Mysterium (motet; Kyrie; next half, 16th century)
Weelkes, As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending (1601)
Purcell, Dido and Aeneas (1689), “Dido’s Lament”
Buxtehude, Ein feste Burg (2nd half, 17th century)
Vivaldi, Concerto Grosso within a Minor, Op. 3, Number 8 (1st activity, 1712)
Bach, Cantata one hundred and forty, Wachet auf ruft dem Gastronomie-Shop die Stimme (1731) (1st movement)
Classic [46: 00]
Haydn, String Quadrature in C Major, Operative. 73, No. 3 (1797) (1st movement)
Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro (1786) (Act II Finale)
Mozart, Symphony Number 3 (1st movement, 1803)

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