The study of how music has developed and changed over time.

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2
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1answer
141 views

Why did Shostakovich not release his 4th, but did release his 5th symphony?

Why did Shostakovich not release his 4th, but did release his 5th symphony? (The 4th was released eventually, just not when it was written)
10
votes
1answer
65 views

How were tuning/temperaments indicated on scores (if they ever were)?

Bradley Lehman claims that the details of the intended tuning for the Well-Tempered Claivier are encoded in the squiggle at the top of the manuscript (related wikipedia link). Are there other ...
9
votes
1answer
69 views

Where did the term backbeat come from?

In most modern music in 4/4 beats 2 and 4 are where the snare hits are and are usually referred to as the backbeat. Normally in 4/4 the 2 and 4 beat would not be accented, but the snare hits do just ...
11
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3answers
119 views

Are octaves, fifths, fourths and thirds considered as “consonant” in all music cultures?

Our western music culture revolves around the rule that certain intervals are very consonant, and others (such as the interval between a B and F) are dissonant. The octave is the most consonant ...
1
vote
2answers
162 views

What are the origins of music theory? [closed]

When learning music theory, I always have wondered about the vocabulary words, and how weird some of them were. Who came up with the words? Now, I'm just curious about not just the origins of the ...
10
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1answer
916 views

Vivaldi's “The Four Seasons”, Who Chose the Title?

Did Vivaldi himself choose the title "The Four Seasons" and the titles for each of the four concerto, or they're chosen by publishers?
24
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4answers
216 views

When were the terms “Major” and “Minor” applied to keys?

In 1547, Heinrich Glarean published Dodecachordon in which he posited that in addition to the 4 existing pairs of church modes (plagal and authentic versions of modes with finals on D (Dorian), E ...
8
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2answers
82 views

Intended tempo of exercises in Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum

Fux uses whole notes for the cantus firmi in his book, so do others influenced by his work. But I find them almost unbearably slow within the usual tempo ranges. I know that there must have been a ...
23
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4answers
871 views

Has music notation become more prescriptive?

Another question asks about the Meaning of 1/1 and 1/2 beneath pedaling marking near some sustain pedal markings. It looks like they are used to specify a particular amount of pedal to use while ...
12
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2answers
417 views

Baroque music composed in the 21st century

Which characteristically Baroque elements of music composition still have currency in the 21st century? Are there any 21st-century composers or songwriters who still compose primarily or largely in ...
6
votes
1answer
133 views

Who invented modal Jazz?

Can anyone be said to have done so? Or was it just a movement that emerged from the various people playing at the time? I believe that Kind of Blue was the first album to popularize it but can Miles ...
0
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2answers
91 views

Which disco tracks were the most influential in electronic music? [closed]

While attempting to better my understanding of the roots of electronic dance-able popular (as opposed to classical or experimental) music, I found out that most of its influences come from disco and ...
10
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4answers
110 views

Was the viola da gamba or violin particularly associated with England in the late 16th or early 17th century?

The viola da gamba was an instrument in use throughout western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries; the modern(ish) violin became popular around the turn of the 17th century. But instruments ...
4
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3answers
103 views

Book about development of music

I'm not new to the musical world, and for quite a bit of time I've been wondering on all the reasons that are behind our usual way of understanding music (7-note diatonic scale, 12-note chromatic ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

How many disruptive ideas in music harmony were there, that became widely accepted? [closed]

How often radically new musical ideas become common practice? New in a sense where composer/performer is unquestionably first to abruptly depart with musical tradition with no similar precedent, even ...
5
votes
4answers
343 views

Why are so many Eurovision song contest songs sung in English?

One thing that strikes a lot of non-European viewers of the Eurovision Song Contest is that many of the songs are sung in English. Outside of the ESC, are most modern songs produced in Europe ...
6
votes
1answer
81 views

Fux counterpoint: why is it in the modal system?

Assuming Fux's counterpoint was written in 1752, why are there some references to the modal system and none to tonality? I mean... 1752 is way beyond the end of modality! Composers already had the ...
8
votes
3answers
632 views

Origin of the asymmetrical keyboard layout of a piano

The piano keyboard has white keys based on the C Diatonic scale plus black keys, which add the remaining notes used in western music. The asymmetrical way in which the black and white keys are placed ...
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0answers
24 views

Where can I find CD compilations of top radio hits by year? [closed]

I did a quick Google search and it proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I would like to get CD's for each year of radio hits. I think it would be a good reference as well as an easy ...
7
votes
3answers
182 views

History of screaming in music throughout the world

Screaming is a common technique in metal and other music genres but according to Wikipedia it has also been used in blues music and very few times in more classical Western works. Are there other ...
12
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1answer
130 views

Singing an opera “all'italiana”

When an opera is played without staging (be it either a rehearsal or an actual concert) it is called all'italiana (translated: "in the italian style"). Or, at least, this is how we call it here in ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the aeolian mode the minor scale?

I've studied music theory for many years now, and one thing has always confused me about the naming methodology for the minor scale. A major scale is based off the Ionian mode and consist of only ...
9
votes
2answers
207 views

Where did the British names for different note lengths come from?

I was always taught to use a certain set of names for the length of a note, such as crotchet, minim, quaver, and so on. I'm aware though that those terms aren't used as much outside the UK, and that ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why is the guitar tuned E A D G B E? [duplicate]

Why is the standard tuning for the guitar E A D G B E, from the lowest string to the highest? The interval between strings is a perfect 4th, except for the interval between the G and B strings, ...
4
votes
0answers
75 views

Was the Angolan style of music called kizomba inspired by Kassav'?

This video [French] claims that kizomba was created after zouk creator Kassav' inspired Angolan artists. On the opposite, Eduardo Paim has claimed [Portuguese] that kizomba was created independently ...
9
votes
1answer
168 views

Is it a coincidence that “blue” notes are “chromatic”?

According to the OED: The word "chromatic" has been applied to music with lots of accidentals since at least the 17th century. In the 19th century, a "blue note" was one that was incorrect; starting ...
0
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1answer
71 views

Suggestions for comprehensive books about the history of music? [closed]

I really like music and history in general but like most people my knowledge is limited to mostly music from the early 1960s until the current times. I was wondering if there is any book that covers ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

Which early danceband guitarists tuned to Eb rather than E? [closed]

Often, nowadays, guitarists will tune to Eb etc.as a matter of course, for various reasons.I'm thinking of the 1930s and 40s, when guitarists were playing in dance bands.A lot of the music they played ...
12
votes
3answers
251 views

What is the reason for pitch inflation?

There's this phenomenon among instrumentalists to constantly raise the pitch of the concert A. This generally occurs among string players, since the range of tunings for woodwinds, for example, is ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why note B is marked with H in Scandinavia and Germany?

At least in Scandinavia and Germany two notes are marked differently than in most other countries: B -> H B♭ -> B I have heard that this is due to mistake in interpreting messy sheet notes, as ♭ ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is a violin's shape (particularly the f-holes) necessary or is it just for aesthetics?

Violins have a rather beautiful design. ... is such design necessary? Is a violin's natural sound only achieved when it has this specific shape? I have a particular interest in the f-holes. Are they ...
3
votes
3answers
293 views

The origin of “Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father” [closed]

The order of the flats is given by the mnemonic "*B*attle *E*nds *A*nd *D*own *G*oes *C*harles' *F*ather". What is the history behind this strange phrase?
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5answers
2k views

What is the history of considering Rock 'n' Roll to be “the Devil's music”?

Historically, what evidence has been cited in support of the claim that Rock 'n' Roll is the music of Devil? This notion exists in the popular culture, fueled by Footloose and half-remembered ...
4
votes
3answers
123 views

Can the “music of the spheres” be applied (or projected) to instrumental music?

I've read lots of books on Pythagoras and the philosophy of the Music of the Spheres, but it all seems to stop at labeling planets with scale degrees. And then what? If they're all there, filling up ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Was the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras the first one who referred to a musical scale?

I' ve read that the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first one who scientifically proved the theory of music. Also it is refered that he invented the Pythagorean musical scale. Was the ...
10
votes
2answers
383 views

What changes were made to Dvořák's Cello Concerto by Wihan?

Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, is a standard part of the modern cello repertoire, probably even the most popular concerto on the instrument. For the most part the version played ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Whose idea was it to put three pedals on a piano?

Who ever decided to put foot pedals on a piano? Do we know who did it, or do we only know the general period that this happened? I would like to know who did this and when did it happen?
1
vote
5answers
110 views

Did any player pianos use card decks?

Wikipedia doesn't mention any. But since Jacquard cards developed from Bouchon tapes in the eighteenth century; and then Hollerith cards evolved back into tapes and then into magnetic tapes (merging ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

Original underlying melodies of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies

As we all know, Liszt's 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies contain and conserve some Hungarian and Gipsy tunes (although some of them are in a somewhat modified form). I'd like to know if there's any resource ...
5
votes
3answers
325 views

English Horn Etymology

Why is the English Horn called a horn when it is a woodwind instrument, basically a lower oboe? When compared to other horns, such as the French Horn and the Flugelhorn, it seems to be a misnomer.
19
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4answers
3k views

What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?

I understand that historically there was a need for transposing instruments. e.g. Brass instruments would use lead pipes to change their key and players in brass bands would like to stick to the same ...
10
votes
2answers
195 views

Was the pitch A given that letter because the minor key was originally the “basic” mode?

It's something that's puzzled me; The key that has no sharps and no flats, in essence the "basic" key, is C Major. Well, fine, but why C? Why not label that key and note A, if it's the foundation of ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

Who was the first composer to notate a trombone smear?

I've been listening to Henry Fillmore's "Trombone Family". It brought me to thinking, how long have trombone smears been around in written sheet music? Was Fillmore, a.k.a. "Father of the Trombone ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

Physiological basis for note durations?

For some reason (probably read something like this a long time ago), I have it in my head that there was some sort of physiological basis for some note durations. This may have been something like, a ...
8
votes
1answer
173 views

Did Rostropovich ever play his Humoresque himself?

"Humoresque" op.5 for cello and piano is the only piece composed by Mstislav Rostropovich himself. Did he ever play Humoresque himself? From some sources I know that he didn't, whereas other sources ...
0
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2answers
250 views

Why is the note name “a” not on any important scale position? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is C the base note of standard notation and keys? The note names are derived from the alphabet, which starts with "a". But why is our note "a" not on any important ...
22
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9answers
1k views

Why does conventional playing style give the string manipulation to the left hand?

For the majority of players, the right hand is used for most tasks that require exacting manipulation: writing, throwing, etc. However, guitar, violin, lute, etc., etc., use the right hand for ...
3
votes
3answers
299 views

Why did Lou Reed make Metal Machine Music?

For background, it's a record that was made "without musical instruments" by rigging up ring-modulators and envelope filters and tone generators to create a sort of living shape of feedback. But ...
10
votes
1answer
330 views

Why is Italian the standard for expressive markings in music?

I was reading through the music for Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy a few days ago and I realized that I am often surprised when I see expressive markings (dynamics, tempo, accents and the like) that ...
2
votes
1answer
305 views

What is psychotropic music?

I hit the term psychotropic music and listened to some works but was surprised that this music style has no good description on the internet (its origin, history, goal, etc.). When googling you will ...