Music History and Development

Words: 859
Topic: Art & Design

Different Cultures all have there owned a specific way of communicating through music. Music is basically broken into two specific groups Eastern Music and Western Music.

Eastern music is mainly derived from the orient and India. While western music first emerged from Europe. Western music has developed in many ways since the middle ages through its form, sound, and message.

The Middle Ages

Starting with the Middle Ages, they covered almost one thousand years. That was from the year of 476 to the year 1450. During this time, the Christian church and the state were the centers of authority during this time. Music was very important in the cultures of Greece, Rome, the Judaic humanity, and many other places (Burney 1957).

Many around the world at this point used a chant or a monophonic melody in their worship, which was created by much more melodic phrases then Gregorian Chant, organum was also the first type of music too utilize fourth and fifth intervals, which would become one of the building blocks of modern musical theory.

Music in the church had not changed much during this time, as said by Charles Burney in A General History of Music Volume I, Music in the church, however, appears to have undergone no other change at this time than in being applied in some parts of the service. A type of popular music began to erupt and was sung all over Europe by the troubadours and troubles of France.

The Renaissance

The Renaissance began in the year 1420 and ended in the year 1600. The Renaissance was an era of searching, scientific questioning, and imaginative awakening and marked the passing from a highly religious civilization to a worldlier one.

The Renaissance is often observed as the golden age of Cappella singing. Renaissance music features a fuller and extra consonant sound than music from the middle ages. Some Renaissance pieces are constructed on a permanent, preexistent melody, while others mirror the text through the music.

The Baroque Age

Baroque music has a distinctive artistic style, and it is an idiomatic form. Composers began to write towards a particular medium, such a violin or the solo voice, rather than music with identical or no dialects that might either sung or played by almost any combination of voices and instruments.

The violin became the primary instrument and formulated its artistic style, instrumental as well as vocal styles started to be distinguished, finally becoming so different that the composers could adopt vocal artistic style into instrumental writing and vice versa.

A distinctive Baroque piece comprises of a melodic line of voice, a bass line for an uninterrupted instrument just like a cello or bassoon playing, a plucked or keyboard instrument playing the figured chord to fill the intervening space between the two poles.

The Classical Period

The Classical Era saw the intersection of two contradicting schools of thought in society. The first was the remnant of the Baroque Era, which said that the nobility had absolute power in society. The second was from the Middle Ages, who said that the nobility had gone too far with their power and should give some of their power over to the middle class.

The result of this was many opportunities for composers. Not only they could have their traditional occupations or servents to various noblemen who served as their patron, but they could also make a fair living performing their work at public concerts, an innovation of the time.

The Romantic Era

In the middle of the Romantic Era, an era presented as dedicated to irrationality and unreason, the most purely rational social science, classical political economy—carried on the Enlightenment tradition. Enlightenment continued to be shown in the speech of political and economic liberalism. During the Romantic era, people were very big in the idea of connecting with nature.

Everything was about connecting with nature, and people believed that nature was a source of inspiration. Therefore from this, people began to express and explain things using guidelines of nature instead of logic. The whole idea was that everyone created something of them, and it is original, and that is art. This time was all about emotions, deep thinking, personal experience, and connecting with nature.

The Twentieth-Century

Music written since 1900 is called the twentieth-century music. There have been different types and styles of music printed in the twentieth century than ever before (Yudkin 2007). In the twentieth century, the only limitations of the composers are their imagination. “One of the great forms of musical styles shows the variety of life during the early twentieth century.

More people were free to choose where to live, how to earn a living, and how to spend their time. One of the ranges of experience that expanded and is more accessible to the world is the car, airplane, phonograph, movies, and radio” (Yudkin 2007).

Technological growths have also had determine on twentieth-century music, especially electronic music. The progress of the technology has also had an enormous impact on the evolution of the twentieth century, with some composers, for example, the cassette player as a compositional tool or electronically generated sounds alongside classical music instruments.


Burney, C. (1957). A General History of Music 2. New York: Dover Publications.

Yudkin, J. (2007). Understanding Music fifth edition. Boston University: Prentice Publications