Foundations Of Western Art Music Essay

933 words - 4 pages

The context of performances throughout history revolves around the subject and purpose of the composition. Social events such as weddings and banquets, Religious gathering, accompanying workers during harvest and soldiers on their way to battle and for the Greeks performances were closely tired with sports and athletic games for encouragement and motivation.
The social attitudes surrounding these subjects and purposes heavily influenced composers approaches to writing, use of modes to create moods, instrumentation for texture and even figuration for interest. The Development of instruments plays an important role in the composers work, brass instruments like the Trombone and the French Horn, woodwind like the flute or clarinet or string and plucked instruments like the lute and double bass. Each varying from culture to geographical origin to century. Recently a 500 year old instrument was finally built by Slawomir Zubrzycki, the Viola Organista designed by the great Leonardo Da Vinci who at the time simply did not pocess the means of constructing this magnificent instrument, for if he did we surely would of seen a significant cultural trend amongst the music composers of the era.

In the 17th Century the French Horn began to become an important brass element to music composers. The Instrument began as an invention based on early hunting horns and has origins first being used in late 16th Century, Western Europe Operas. These horns were monotone until 1753 where a German musician of the name Hampel, invented a use of moveable slides in varying lengths to change the key of the horn. In 1760 it was further developed by the discovery that placing your hand over the bell of the French Horn, lowered the tone called stopping. The Stopping Valve is most commonly found on single Bb Horns, descant horns and some triple horns.
Similar to the French Horn is the Trombone, however this instruments history begins in the 15th Century as an invention or development on the Brass Trumpet. Also known as the Sackbut, the Trombone also became prevalent in solemnity occasions in churches before becoming apart of the baroque music and invited into opera orchestras. In Baroque music there was typically 3 types of trombones, the Alto tuned in Eb, the Tenor tuned in Eb and the Bass Trombone tuned in F. If we compare modern trombones to the early instruments, the early trombones 'bore' was much more narrow hence the requirement for 3 or more types of the instrument.
Separate from the brass instruments to have a unique place in influencing composers is the double bass. This instruments history has an inexact beginning, the earliest known representation of the double bass type instrument dates from around 1516. Although it is important to note in 1493 Prospero wrote of 'viols as big as myself'. Between 1616 and 1620 a German musical theorist named Michael Pretorius describes the instrument...

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