On Writing Music History

On Writing Music History

Presume, as a lover of classical music, you wanted to get a larger understanding of a history of music; you wanted to understand the “big picture, inch so to speak. Had been you to find the music history text most favored in North American colleges and universities, you would probably face a tome describing the works of some five 100 composers. Now I won’t be able to keep five hundred composers inside my head, and My spouse and i don’t think you can either. After all, you need the whole picture at once, not briefly acquire information to be regurgitated on a phase test and then overlooked to make space for new information. lyrics

My ideal music history, therefore, would treat only twenty-four composers, roughly four for every single 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. You will likely 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 persist on providing an representation for each and every assertion–no empty generalizations, please–and would draw all the musical examples for every single composer from an one work, so that the repertoire for the would be limited to 24 works, preferably music readily available on iTunes or Twitter. 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)
Confidential, En non Diu-Quant voi-Eius in Oriente (13th century)
Machaut, Missa Nostre Woman (Kyrie, ca. 1364)
Renaissance
Dufay, Ave regina coelorum (ca. 1464)
Josquin parfois des Pres, Missa Pange Stato (Agnus Dei; ca. 1515)
Victoria, Missa O Magnum Mysterium (motet; Kyrie; second half, 16th century)
Weelkes, As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending (1601)
Baroque
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 motion, 1712)
Bach, Cantata 150, Wachet auf ruft mir die Stimme (1731) (1st movement)
Classic [46: 00]
Haydn, String Quatern 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)
Romantic [30: 00]
Schubert, Erlk? nig (1815)
Berlioz, Sinfonie Fantastique (Dream of a Witches Sabbath, 1830)
Wagner, Prelude to Tristan darüber hinaus Isolde (1865)
Verdi, Otello (Act I, Drinking Tune, 1887)


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