Questions tagged [history]

For questions about how music has developed and changed over time or for questions about concepts and ideas of a historic period of music. Do not use just because the subject of the question is a historic figure or piece.

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9
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3answers
135 views

Was a 13-line (6 over 7) staff system ever in wide use?

On the Wikipedia article for Passacaglia, there is an excerpt of a piece by 17th-century composer Bernardo Storace. It has a 6-line staff with both G and C clefs above a 7 line staff with both C and ...
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0answers
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What was the first published "cutaway/cut-out" score?

Sometimes scores are formatted so that silent measures are completely omitted—not just left empty, but left blank, including the staff. The oldest score in this style that I have seen is Lutosławski's ...
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1answer
100 views

Where does the nick-name for Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 come from? [duplicate]

It is commonly said in music spheres that Beethoven did not give the Sonata the title of Moonlight. That leads me to wonder what is the source of the unofficial name then if not from the composer?
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1answer
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How did the ancient greek Ionic dialect become the name of the first mode of the diatonic major scale?

How did the ancient greek Ionic dialect become the name of the first mode of the diatonic major scale?...being Ionic. Similarly, how did the ancient greek Aeolic dialect become the name of the first ...
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1answer
49 views

How would one research standards for English tempo descriptions in BPM ca. 1900?

I am transcribing a songbook of Celtic folk tunes compiled in 1928 and generating MIDI from the transcription so that I can learn them by ear. The book is filled with tempos like: Flowing and not too ...
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1answer
78 views

When did trumpet mutes come into use?

My casual understanding is that mutes began to be invented and developed amongst jazz musicians looking to create unique sounds. Certainly I've encountered mutes primarily in jazz playing and also in ...
5
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0answers
95 views

Which came first: the dot or the tie?

In considering the question of the benefits of dots versus ties for extending note values, I got to wondering about the origins of those two notations. Did one emerge before the other? For what ...
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2answers
145 views

When did Stradivarius become "Stradivarius!"

Instruments built by the Stradivarius family are popularly thought of amongst the pantheon of "greatest ever".1 But have they always been considered this way? Were they held in similarly ...
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2answers
109 views

What are the Deciding Factors as to Consonance/Dissonance?

Spawned by a previous question/answer. It seems that consonance/dissonance in intervals and harmonies have varied over time. So how would a decision be made to change one interval from one to the ...
5
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1answer
103 views

Did Rachmaninoff make his pieces hard to perform to challenge the pianist?

I'm not sure if this question belongs here, so I apologise if it doesn't. When when I was in high school, I was really into Rachmaninoff's pieces. My teacher once heard me trying to learn one of his ...
6
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1answer
115 views

Did Bach name his pieces?

I was listening "Brandenburg Concerto N° 4" and "Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in C minor, BWV 1062", and wondered: aside from the catalog number (that came later), did Bach name his ...
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1answer
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How did Glenn Gould know, in 1955, the proper ornamentation for Bach's "Goldberg Variations"?

This question has its origin in Why does the Open Goldberg score have a G rather than A in bar 9 of variation 25?. See that Q&A for background information. At what time, and on what basis, was ...
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4answers
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Outside of Equal Temperament, what decides the spelling of notes in a major scale?

I've been reading up on the history of temperament, and how enharmonic notes are more of a limitation of the modern piano (only one black key), and also mathematically they are the same if you use ...
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32 views

Identify song name and artist [closed]

I think it was in 70s or 80s a young woman from U.S. went to work for awhile on an island, maybe Jamaica. When she was ready to return I believe there was a problem taking her earnings with her so she ...
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1answer
104 views

Where can I find related materials in connection with Johann Joseph Fux's The Study of Counterpoint?

Allegedly, Beethoven condensed Fux's work into a "cheat sheet" version for ready reference (from the back cover of the Alfred Mann translation), and Mozart apparently annotated his own copy (...
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4answers
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Why didn't more composers who composed violin concertos compose viola concertos?

Wouldn't the glut of violin and cello concertos from the Baroque and Classical eras motivate composers to compose Viola Concertos? Isn't adding to the deluge of violin and cello concertos more ...
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How was mixolidian mode introduced in Northeastern Brazilian Music?

Northeastern region of Brazil has a great variety of traditional and folkloric music genres. The most well-known genre is forró, followed also by baião and xaxado. These music genres are usually ...
6
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3answers
227 views

Has such an anti-musical tune ever been composed?

The following part from chapter 84 of the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality fanfic describes a tune that appears to be designed to be unnerving. The humming started as a simple children's ...
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4answers
1k views

Why did it take a millennium to use harmony/polyphony (900 AD) when Pythagoras discovered perfect fourth and fifth around 500 BC?

Considering the fact that Pythagoras formulated the properties of Perfect Fifth and Fourth around 500 BC, why did it take so long to include them in Music?. The first instance of using the Fifth in ...
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2answers
126 views

When was the concept of a "triad chord" first introduced?

Chiara Bertoglio, “A Perfect Chord: Trinity in Music, Music in the Trinity,” Religions 4, no. 4 (December 2013): 485–501, §6. A “Harmonious” God, p. 493, claims: It was not before the 16th century, ...
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6answers
252 views

Why does guitar have so much more shape/tone variety than all other instruments?

For acoustic guitars, we have dreadnaught, auditorium, classical, jumbo, mini, grand concert, arch top, parlor (then there are new shapes coming from Taylor) Even if I count the whole orchestra family ...
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4answers
157 views

Accidentals - what's that?

We are aware that an accidental is a sign which changes the pitch of a note usually stated in the key signature, like a natural sign before a C in key D makes that into C♮, etc. Sometimes even the key ...
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2answers
102 views

What are the trends that led to fizzling of ars antiqua and rising of ars nova?

What is the trends that led to the fizzling of ars antique and to the rising of ars nova?
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2answers
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Who decides chord details in published songs?

I like to make lead sheets of songs like this to learn to improvise from, condensing the published sheet music down to a single page with no turns. In working from my two copies of It's Only A Paper ...
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1answer
174 views

History of "strumming" the piano (Rhythmic repeated chords)

In many songs, a particular chord gets played over and over on a piano, very similar to how you might strum a chord on a guitar. Examples: ...
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1answer
135 views

Did the first piano use an equal-tempered or natural scale?

Both the piano and the equal-tempered scale were invented in the 1700s (according to Wikipedia, at least). But what I'm wondering is whether the first piano constructed used an equal-tempered scale, ...
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1answer
128 views

What is the origin of the notation A4, B3, F5, etc. (i.e. <letter><number>)

Long before I started to play an instrument I used to tune my young son's guitar for him using a device which told me how close the strings were to the correct notes of E2, A2, D3, G3, B3 and E4. When ...
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2answers
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Chants in Renaissance vocal music

In notice that in some vocal works composed during the Renaissance, especially masses, long chunks of music (sometimes the whole piece) are preceded by a monophonic, often short chant which is ...
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2answers
134 views

What are the earliest examples of using the circle of fifths in western music

While reading about Vavilov's "Ave Maria" previously attributed to Caccini, I met an interesting argument, that probably nobody in the USSR and maybe later in the western countries noticed ...
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1answer
90 views

Is there literal correlation between sounds and the words to describe them?

In English, we describe pitches as "high" and "low", as being "sharp" or "flat". A timbre can be "fat". At least one study suggests that there is a ...
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5answers
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Do the world-renowned classical composers ever seriously modify their compositions after their works got published by publishers?

Do the world-renowned classical composers ever seriously or in minor ways modify their music compositions after their works got published by publishers and after their works are already openly ...
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1answer
138 views

Was Nina Simone really refused admission to Julliard on racial grounds even though she passed the audition? [closed]

I recently watched the movie 'Green Book'. While I was watching it I was reminded of someone who once told me that Nina Simone was refused entry to Julliard on racial grounds. Is this accurate and if ...
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4answers
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Who was listening to Bach's compositions in his lifetime?

Who ever encountered his work? Was his music played somewhere else in Europe, or only where he lived? What strata of society had any chance of coming into contact with his music? What might be the ...
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1answer
101 views

What was the amount of repertoire learned as an adult professional musician in various time periods?

As an adult professional musician (church organist), I discovered that, once I became a mother (a year ago), I had less time to practice (from approx 4 hrs a day to about 1.5 hrs a day), but--now I am ...
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4answers
1k views

Who decides how a historic piece is adjusted (if at all) for modern instruments?

Here we have a video of a historically-informed (or period) performance of Moonlight Sonata's first movement. Wikipedia notes: Some critics contest the methodology of the HIP movement, contending ...
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3answers
508 views

Latin voice denotations in Renaissance vocal music

I see that in the original printings of renaissance vocal music, the voices are labeled with Latin words like cantus, triplex, medius, etc... Assuming that these words denote the ranges of their ...
8
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1answer
594 views

What is the origin and original meaning of "tonic", "supertonic", "mediant", etc.?

Each of the pitches in the diatonic scale has a "name": tonic supertonic mediant subdominant dominant submediant subtonic I was first introduced to tonic, dominant, and subdominant in the ...
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3answers
262 views

60's pop music. How well known was theory, e.g. the pentatonic scale?

Many years ago, at school some friends and I played versions of instrumental guitar pieces by the Shadows and other bands. Our method was to slow down the vinyl record and listen to what was played ...
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2answers
90 views

Are there folk music families, analogous to language families?

A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestral language or parental language, called the proto-language of that family. The term "family" reflects ...
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2answers
108 views

What are the primary historical piano training methods, and what are their defining characteristics?

There are various historically important or well-known piano training methods or schools (“schools of thought” as opposed to institutions, which are not the focus here): • The Leschetizky method • The ...
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3answers
1k views

Does Schoenberg or Glenn Gould have a point? Does a great deal of music remain to be written in C major?

There's a great interview online where Glenn Gould talks about Stravinsky and Schoenberg (circa 1960). His comments about Stravinsky certainly haven't aged well but nonetheless, he does make some ...
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2answers
63 views

Which tempo indications have changed meaning over time, and how so?

I recall a piano teacher once telling me that the tempo marking in a piece I was learning (andante, if memory serves) meant different things in different eras. (Maybe slower in the Baroque than in the ...
8
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3answers
652 views

How did the ancient Greeks notate their music?

Ancient Greece had a sophisticated musical system that allowed for transposable modes and flexible instrument tunings. Known as the Greater Perfect System, it is discussed in detail in What are the ...
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2answers
2k views

Did Beethoven "invent" ragtime with Piano Sonata No 32 Op 111?

I had an interesting question. It is common knowledge that ragtime came about as a genre with Scott Joplin. However, I am curious if anyone has any information about Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 in ...
4
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3answers
214 views

Come to think of it, who did put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop?

There have been "la la la"s and nonsense lyrics in music since ... well, since a long time back. Why, who could forget that sixteenth-century classic "Nos Galan"? And Nigunim have ...
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1answer
97 views

Schubert G flat impromptu harmony

In my score, during the repetition of the opening theme, bar 5, the G flat major chord changes directly to an E flat minor chord, as is played in this performance. However, the performances by Kissin ...
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1answer
147 views

Why are notes created the way they are today? [duplicate]

The main question I have is admittedly broad. I'd like to know why the notes we use today are the way they are. By that I mean how is it that we have converged upon the specific discrete set of ...
8
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1answer
220 views

What is the meaning of the "chiaroscuro" sound that was considered ideal in Classical and early-Romantic Italian opera?

Apparently, in Classical and early-Romantic Italian opera (the "bel canto" opera repertoire), the ideal kind of vocal colour was a so-called chiaroscuro sound. The chiaro- part translates as ...
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2answers
100 views

How do our music and music technology compare with those of Francis Bacon in 1627? [closed]

In The New Atlantis a European ship, lost in the Pacific somewhere west of Peru, comes upon the mythical island of Bensalem: Bacon's vision of a utopia. The Father of its state-sponsored scientific ...
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1answer
196 views

Where did Scriabin define his note to color mapping?

I'm searching for the root source of Alexander Scriabin's note color mapping. Wikipedia states in: Clavier à lumières that it is located in the score of Prometheus: Poem of Fire. But, but, but in ...

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