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Instrumental Music Through The Eras Essay

1008 words - 5 pages

Music has shaped the lives of people throughout history. Even in its earliest forms, music has included use of instruments. One of the oldest musical instruments known is a variation of the flute; the original flute is thought to date back nearly 67,000 years ago. Tonight we are going to move throughout the eras with a history of instrumental music. This concert will begin with the Renaissance Era and continue through time until we have reached modern instrumental music.

During the Renaissance Era musical instruments were used primarily to accompany dance. The most famous court dance style in the Renaissance Era was the basse danse, where couples would gracefully and quietly move ...view middle of the document...

Following the Renaissance is the Baroque Era. In the 17th century composers began using more emotional styles with their music. During this time, it was understood that a more monophonic style would be better suited for the emotional music being written. During this period many transformations took place with the musical instruments we now know today. The birth of the slide trumpet and the French horn took place in the 17th century, this period also showed advances in organs which began including pedals and other artistic devices.
Our program this evening includes two pieces from the Baroque Era, Barbara Strozzi’s Amor dormiglione and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata No.140. Strozzi is unique to the period because instead of publishing her compositions in collections, she published in single-composer volumes. All of Strozzi’s music was vocal except for a volume of sacred music which is featured this evening. Moving forward we have Johan Sebastian Bach, who was known mostly as a virtuoso organist instead of as a composer. Bach’s compositions were enthusiastic and free yet contained tenacity. Bach's use of counterpoint was brilliant and innovative, and the immense complexities of his compositional style—which often included religious and numerological symbols that seem to fit perfectly together in a profound puzzle of special codes.

Following the Baroque Era comes the Classical and Romantic Eras. For purposes of this concert they have been combined as the two eras only spanned from around 1750 to 1900. During these periods new musical instruments were introduced. These new instruments were capable of producing new timbres and louder volumes than instruments previously. Existing instruments over went design changes that allowed them to produce larger ranges of notes and different tone qualities. During the Classical and Romantic periods orchestras were created. These orchestras could play more ornate musical pieces than previous musical groups due to the innovation seen among...

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