The History of Western Music
Music has been around since the dawn of time, ever since man first inhabited this planet we have learned to communicate in ways other then conventional speaking. Different Cultures all have there own 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
In 500 A.D., western civilization began to emerge from the period known as “The Dark Ages,” a time in which many invading forces ruled Europe and brought an end to the Roman Empire. For the next hundred year, the newly emerging Christian Church would soon govern Europe, administering justice, initiating the Crusades against the East, creating Universities, and for the most part dictating the destiny of music, art and literature. Pope Gregory I is believed to have collected the music known as Gregorian Chant, which was the approved music of the Church. Later, Notre Dame in Paris was accredited, with the creation of a new kind of music called organum. 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…”(57). A type popular music began to erupt and was sung all over Europe by the troubadours and trouveres of France. The troubadours and trouveres played mainly lutes (a primitive guitar) and sung songs, which everyday people could appreciate and identify with. And it was during the middle Ages that western culture saw the arrival of the first great name in music, Guillaume de Machaut. De Machaut polyphonic style did not catch with many during the middle ages, but would later influence a flood of composers during the Renaissance.
The Renaissance began in the year 1420 and ended in the year 1600. The Renaissance meaning rebirth was a time of…
…bert Palmer in Rock & Roll an unruly history “Of necessity, then, rock and roll’s original audience was in many respects a secret audience teenagers gathering after school, cruising in their cars, or lying awake under their bedclothes deep in the night, their ears pressed to tiny little transistor radios.”(95).
Western Music has developed in many ways since the middle ages through its form, sound, and message. Throughout these different periods in western music one thing has remained constant, the true essence of music, a way to communicate with someone on a much more divine level than be by rudimentary conversation. Though Ludwig Van Beethoven and Paul McCartney may seem completely opposite they have one in common through their music they changed the world’s perception of its self
Burney, Charles. A General History Of Music. New York: Dover Publications, 1957.
Burney, Charles. A General History Of Music 2. New York: Dover Publications, 1957.
Einstein, Alfred. A Short History Of Music. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1969.
Palmer, Robert. Rock & Roll an unruly history. New York: Harmony Books, 1995.
Prendergast, Mark. The Ambient Century. New York: Bloomsbury, 2000