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The Evolution Of Music Essay

950 words - 4 pages

Any non-living thing created by humans is bound to evolve at some point. Evolution is the process in which something (living or nonliving) changes. In this case, I am referring to music. Music has an interesting evolution because it is divided up into periods. Each period features new types of music that was popular at that period. The most major periods where music evolved were the medieval period, Renaissance period, Baroque period, Classical period, Romantic period, 20th century, and the 21st century.
The medieval period, believe it or not, was the middle age of music, not the beginning. It began in year 500 and ended in the 1450s. Music from this period is vastly different then the music someone would listen to today; it is religious, sacred, and mostly monophonic. The instruments used during this period included a wooden flute, lute, mandore, gittern, and psaltery (instruments you’ve probably never heard of). Usually, these instruments later evolved into the instruments people use today. When it came to music theory, the medieval period was the foundation for the theory. All the fundamentals and special markings started in this age. Few composer names could be gathered up during this period because of the lack of evidence that a composer left behind when he/she died. Some noteworthy names, however, are Abbess Hildegard von Bingen, Perotin Magnus, and Guillaume de Machaut.
As music continued to evolve, the next period popped up; the Renaissance period. This period was mostly focused on the rebirth of humanity and revival of culture, so the music was emotional and dramatic. Renaissance music had four main characteristics: music based on modes, richer texture in four or more parts, blending rather then contrasting musical texture, and a smooth flow of harmony with chord progressions. During this period, music was now mostly polyphonic with the arrival of a new harmonic that is still used today, a third. In the medieval period, thirds were considered dissonances, so they were not vastly used. Instruments from this period included cornets, trumpets, viol, and a new and improved transverse flute. Composers from this period included Johannes Ockeghem, Guillaume Dufay and Josquin des Prez.
Moving forward, the Baroque period brought music that was heavily shaped and dramatic. Musical theory widely evolved as tonality formed. Using new techniques music evolved to fit a wide group of instruments. Instruments from this period included the Violin, Harpsichord, Clarinet, and natural Horn. Baroque music is famous for its unity of mood, rhythm, texture, dynamics, and melody. Composers from this period included Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and Alessandro Scarlatti.
As time moves, the famous Classical period arrives. This period brought a texture that is not as heavy as the Baroque period, but is clearer and less difficult to comprehend. Classical music featured lighter keys,...

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