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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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1answer
71 views

What do we know about the oldest found melody?

In the 1950ies there has been found a Sumerian fragment of music in Syria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurrian_songs The complete song is one of about 36 such hymns in cuneiform writing, found ...
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1answer
37 views

Is this accompaniment of Seîkilos Epitaph original?

I've recently asked when the polyphonic music came up. Now I've encountered this accompaniment of Seikilos Epitaph. This sounds exactly like I was imagining that the Greeks would have accompanied ...
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2answers
64 views

What does “vox humana” mean in Organ building?

Reading a thesis about temperature in Organ construction I encountered this term and I didn't know anything about it before. So I wonder what you can tell us about "vox humana".
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1answer
86 views

What is the “Trio” in a march?

During a band rehearsal the bandmaster may ask when playing a march: Let’s start from the trio! a) What is meant by this term? b) where does it come from?
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4answers
494 views

Stradivaris: are they worth their price? [on hold]

An ordinary violin may cost about 1000 dollars. A Stradivari may cost some millions. Why are Stradivaris so expensive? Are they worth their price?
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0answers
39 views

Efforts and examples of modernizing Indian lyrics and music?

English lyrics can express anything using “common language” (words you hear in everyday conversation) whether it’s love, politics, poverty, violence, or the end of times. English lyrics are direct, ...
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1answer
74 views

The New Complexity movement

What are the main ideas incorporated into the New Complexity movement (contemporary classical music, late 20th century)? What kind of notation, musical techniques, or theoretical ideas would composers ...
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2answers
219 views

How low is the lowest tone that a human can sing?

Thinking about the range of human voices and the bass voices - especially whether there has been an average of lowest tones through the past - I wonder which is the lowest tone that a human can ...
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2answers
136 views

How could the Greek (Pythagoras et al.) measure the frequencies - as they didn't have a mobile app? [duplicate]

How could the Greek (Pythagoras et al.) measure the frequencies - as they didn't have a mobile app? They didn't have a tuning fork or any other standardized measure. But even without standards they ...
3
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3answers
86 views

Who has brought up the English term **figured bass** for thorough bass?

I wonder when and by whom figured bass has been introduced as synonym for thorough bass in the basso continuo. In my view this must be somehow an error or a misunderstanding of figurierter bass in ...
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2answers
62 views

Varied bass line and varied tune: What is the term used for this style?

I‘ve been looking for the term in English for this kind of gestures or ornamentations: Figuration is understood in the music playing a melody in small note values, in contrast to an ornament. The ...
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2answers
173 views

Where is the circle of fifths mentioned for the first time?

How and when was the Circle of Fifths invented, and who is responsible for the discovery of this musical godsend?
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2answers
53 views

English translation of Brahms' essay: “Octaven und Quinten”?

I am now doing some research on Brahm's essay, Octaven u. Quinten. I cannot read German, so I cannot do anything with the original manuscript. I have read some secondary sources about this essay, but ...
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3answers
113 views

You are the sunshine of my life: how is this off-beat singing called?

Stevie Wonder sings in a typical style I‘d like to know the english term. I wonder as I wander through Stevie Wonders style. What is this style called? Just syncopated? And when came this style up? (...
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4answers
1k views

What is the name for a fluid transition between two tones? When did it first appear?

With instruments such as violins or trombones, it is possible to shift from one tone to another fluidly. What is this practice called? When has it first appeared in [Western] music?
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0answers
300 views

Ginger Baker dead: Why is he been called the most dangerous drummer? [migrated]

Ginger Baker, the drummer for rock supergroups Cream and Blind Faith, dies at 80. Ginger Baker, the volatile and propulsive British musician who was best known for his time with the rock supergroup ...
2
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1answer
60 views

How can we play a Bach chorale in different ways? [closed]

Reconstructing Chorales: How can Bach Chorales be arranged or played differently? Are there typical kinds of harmonization named by criteria? What would be the effects? Some styles will be better ...
3
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1answer
56 views

Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring: What term is appropriate for the instrumental ornaments in Bachs Choral arrangements?

a related question asks if there is a specific term for the voicing in Bach's Chorals: What is the term for the sung voice found especially in Bach's chorale music (eg. Jesu Joy of Man's ...
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2answers
3k views

I wish you a merry Christmas: what is this chord progression called?

Is there a special term for this chain of secondary dominants V/IV, V/V, V/vi ? (or in C major: C,F,D,G,E,Am) It’s a frequent chord pattern in the era of Baroque and has also been used in the ...
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2answers
67 views

Composition types of music [closed]

Composition types in Western classical music. Is it possible for people to recognize the types of composition without the knowledge of the name given for the piece?
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5answers
3k views

Is there a relationship between prime numbers and music?

Is there a relationship between prime numbers and the series of overtones and their frequencies? I've found links to Euler's research about math and about music, and I got goose bumps when I found ...
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2answers
66 views

History of standardization of pitch and tuning: measuring waves

The velocity of a traveling wave in a stretched string is determined by the tension and the mass per unit length of the string. for a string of length cm and mass/length = gm/m. For such a string, the ...
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3answers
162 views

When was the beginning of polyphony?

I've read a lot about Greek and ancient music. The history books say this music was only monophonic and we know only from iconical research (studying pictures from ancient times) of the practice of ...
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1answer
49 views

The Blues Face: Origins

I'm sure plenty of you guys know this situation well: Someone's playing some blues guitar lick, and right as things get real stanky, they make a weird face, seemingly in reaction to the lick they're ...
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3answers
215 views

Do accidental notes have their own name?

So if I understand correctly in western tonal music we chose 12 lucky notes that we decided use tremendously more than the others, among which we have gloriously named 7 even luckier notes as follow : ...
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7answers
931 views

What made 4/4 time the most common time signature?

Most music is written in 4/4 time, and in today’s world it seems to be the accepted norm. Now, that doesn’t mean mainstream music doesn’t use alternate meters, but it’s just less common than I ...
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3answers
4k views

What was the motivation for the invention of electric pianos?

Around the 1970s there were a lot of manufacturers creating electric pianos like the Rhodes piano and the Wurlitzer Electronic Piano. These electric pianos don't sound very close to a real piano, but ...
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0answers
170 views

Why is Beethoven's tempo so off?

There is one thing that brought me this question. Well 2 actually. First off is Wim Winters and his Authentic Sound channel where he argues that Beethoven is using double beat for his tempos. He ...
8
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2answers
488 views

Why is Western European music harmonically driven?

I was reading an article where they said that the lute was derived from the oud, a fretless melodic Middle Eastern instrument. But they added frets to the lute in order to make it easier to harmonize ...
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3answers
181 views

How important was music theory for classical composers?

From my knowledge, there are many composers in the classical and romantic period who are almost obsessed with musical theory and logical reasoning. For example, Brahms wrote a lot of essays on the ...
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1answer
52 views

Flamenco guitar strings

Before the invention of nylon, from what material were strings made for use by flamenco players? I have tried different search engines and forae but found no answer or similar question.
5
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1answer
105 views

In the partimento tradition, what strategies were used to harmonize non-bass melodies?

In my readings on partimento theory (mainly the books by Sanguinetti and IJzerman) I have so far only encountered rules for harmonizing a bass melody. This is to be expected of course, because ...
18
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3answers
744 views

Music Theory: Facts or Hierarchy of Opinions?

To get right to the point, what I want to know is: what makes a claim acceptable in the world of music theory? From my understanding, music theory has very little to do with any "natural law" or ...
5
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3answers
366 views

Why did the natural major scale and the minor scales come to dominate common practice music? [duplicate]

I suspect that it might have something to do with tonality and functional harmony. A diminished or augmented tonic chord, due to dissonance, would be less satisfying and conclusive as the final chord ...
2
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1answer
51 views

When are the historical landmarks in the evolution of the bass (F) clef?

I found this image on the web showing the evolution of the bass (F) clef but there's no date or source for each instance. Can anyone provide the approximate date of these changes?
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0answers
58 views

Tracing the origin of the clefs [duplicate]

In written music and preceding the key signature there is always a symbol, it is named the clef and it indicates the pitch of the notes written on the stave. There are quite a few different ones which ...
5
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2answers
93 views

Anotations in Beethoven original score of the 9th symphony

I once heard that in the original handwritten score of the first movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony there are references to the creation myth as annotations. However, these were not replicated in ...
4
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1answer
90 views

What was the shortest note length commonly used during baroque period?

Eighth and sixteenth notes were obviously common enough. I've also seen some examples of 1/32 and 1/64 (link). Were 1/32 and 1/64 used frequently? And what was the shortest note length commonly used ...
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1answer
142 views

What's the biological purpose of music? If music serves no purpose for survival? [closed]

What's the biological purpose of music? If music serves no purpose for survival? It's intuitive that people mey develop to do certain things, but in order for them to be "of fundamental type", I ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Is counterpoint still used today?

I was wondering if counterpoint is still used today or was it something that was just used by Bach? Does modern music like pop songs use it?
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5answers
3k views

How did students remember what to practise between lessons without any sheet music?

Before the time when sheet music was popular people were good at playing keyboard instruments. I am referring to the time when printing books was expensive. How did the students remember what to ...
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1answer
51 views

Less known composers [closed]

As a personal hobby, I try to write about a new composer each week. ( nothing major just a short 2 page bio ) it helps round my knowledge of classical music. I'm looking to expand to less known ...
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1answer
197 views

what do you mean with the “common practice period?” [closed]

Does anybody know a German equivalent term? Now I have read some articles but nowhere found an answer (translation) in German. Looking up "Klassische Musik" - whereby I know this term is used for ...
3
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1answer
64 views

Was tube screamer designed to run into already distorted tone

Many guitar gear reviewers (one example) claim that tube screamer was designed to run into dirty amp. While it's definitely common application for all mid humped overdrive pedals (especially ones with ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What is the oldest instrument ever?

What is the oldest musical instrument played other than the human voice, but body parts are acceptable? Did Neanderthals use instruments to play music?
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1answer
995 views

Musical Shape on music stand

I've seen this shape a few times, but what exactly does it represents?
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2answers
221 views

Are there fewer rhymes in contemporary popular music? If so, why?

Vsauce mentions a study by Joan Serra showed contemporary pop music is less complex in its musical motives than it was, which he explains by a wider diversity in form and genres. While complexity of ...
4
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1answer
106 views

was the 12/16 measure usual in the time of Bach?

We met today this work by Bach with this strange time - strange to me as I've never met before this meter. Of course it is possible ... but I ask if someone knows another composition with this meter, ...
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1answer
611 views

On The Origin of Dissonant Chords

Without relying upon French harmonic theory (Rameau for instance), can you explain how the emergence of “freely” (by freely, I refer to such harmonies not being the result non-harmonic tones, or ...
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1answer
233 views

Jaws vs. Dvorak [closed]

There is a worldwide-viral debate involving the Jaws theme as if it is a "rip-off" of the finale of Dvorak's Ninth Symphony. Some say if the theme is sampled from Dvorak. Did John Williams really ...