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Questions tagged [history]

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

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82 views

What exactly is a Christmas carol?

I looked up differences between Christmas carols and other Christmas songs. Generally about carols being about nativity or some other traditional songs not necessary religious while other Christmas ...
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0answers
56 views

When did the practice of exiting-reentering during applause in classical concerts start?

As the title suggests, I'm looking for some information on when the practice (concerning soloists and directors) of exiting and reentering the stage during an applause after a classical performance ...
7
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1answer
103 views

How do people measure which tuning freqency were used during Baroque period?

In a website decribing the story of A=415Hz, it points out that In the Baroque Era, pitch levels as high as A-465 (17th century Venice) and as low as A-392 (18th century France) are known to ...
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0answers
45 views

Why is the melody for the “Gloria” from “Angels We Have Heard On High” so similar to the one from “Ding Dong Merrily On High”? [migrated]

Here's an etymology question, if you will: the choruses of "Ding Dong Merrily on High" and "Angels We Have Heard On High" have the same melody for the first few bars, and on the same word. This seems ...
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3answers
121 views

A pianist that used a wooden spacer/tool to artificially increase the length of their fingers

I've once heard a story about a pianist of the past who wrote a music piece that critics told him was impossible to play - the length of any person's fingers wouldn't be sufficient. But he used some ...
2
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2answers
146 views

Why are key signatures put in a circle?

Why are key signatures arranged in a circle like it is today, why not a triangle... or a square? Who came up with the idea to arrange the key signatures in a circle?
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2answers
493 views

Why are some Beethoven works given names like WoO 40 or Hess 238?

Why is it called WoO 40 or Hess 238? These are names of Beethoven's symphonies. They have peculiar names.
7
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1answer
135 views

Is this entire movement by Bach really only a single measure with just two chords?

I'm spending a lot more time with early music, and as I was studying the score to J. S. Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto, I encountered something unexpected: an entire Adagio movement that's only one ...
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6answers
1k views

What Constitutes Theory?

There are many questions here concerning theory. Hardly surprising given the site's title! What I'm trying to establish is where theory starts and possibly ends. For example, is just knowing a major ...
6
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1answer
100 views

When was the dominant ninth chord incorporated in music theory?

The "ninth chord" that Rameau, Kirnberger, Marpurg or Koch (inter alia) discuss during the 18th century is the chord formed by a triad and an added ninth, and its explanation is always through a "...
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1answer
24 views

Where to find original song booklets of composers that released in their time [closed]

As I know, as I understand, composers shared new compositions with pressed booklets in their time. Where to find those booklets? Are there any archive? or any information about booklets? Thank you!
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3answers
53 views

What is the generic term for Allegri's Miserere-like music?

What is the word/adjective that could describe music pieces similar to Allegri's "Miserere" or Henry Ley's "A Prayer of King Henry VI"? This music appears to be be sung a capella, with a four-voice ...
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3answers
109 views

Need help understanding the difference between diatonic and chromatic semitones

I am writing an essay on musical temperaments for which I was doing something extensive research on the history of tuning and how it evolved over time. I understand the Pythagorean tuning system quite ...
14
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3answers
150 views

What is the historically informed way of playing the 1/16 notes in Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 overture?

Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 starts with a slow overture with 1/16 notes at the middle and end of each measure: Some performances play it "as written" [Koopman], but some play the 1/16 notes ...
1
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1answer
225 views

When were chords invented?

I'd like to know in what period/year chords were invented and by whom. Did musicians like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven think in chords to harmonize their melodies or did chords only emerge in the ...
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2answers
120 views

Why aren't notes and intervals plain numbers?

Beginner question: If we were to leave the historical context aside and redesign the system of musical notation: would we base this around the 12 steps we've divided octaves in? What strikes me as ...
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0answers
39 views

Did the rain stick originate independently in multiple continents?

There is a traditional rain stick (percussion instrument) in African, Latin America, and I believe in Australia as well. Was it invented separately, or did one culture influence another? Here is a ...
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2answers
2k views

Why did it take so long for keys with several accidentals to become common?

(I am referring mostly to the common practice period.) Before the advent of well temperament in the 1700s, moving very far from C was not done often because of the mean temperament causing out of tune ...
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3answers
171 views

In which music should I add my own embellishments?

I know that music from the baroque era was composed with the assumption that performers would add their own embellishments (when viable, not for canons or fugues). I've also heard that Mozart didn't ...
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3answers
273 views

Important composers in transitional eras

I understand Beethoven (and Schubert) to be very important composers in the transition from the Classical Era to the Romantic, such that they could be considered the first Romantic composers. Are ...
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2answers
83 views

How did popular music influence classical music?

In the baroque, classical, and romantic periods, how did popular "low culture" music influence the classical music produced during those periods? Were influences more frequently from previous ...
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3answers
154 views

When did the popular music overtake classical music in terms of influence/significance? [closed]

Preface 1: I do not have any formal training in music, or music history. I am a piano hobbyist, interested in classical pieces. Preface 2: I believe this post is better divided into separate ...
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2answers
80 views

Where do I get answers to my musical “Why” questions, i.e. are there any “Why” books out there? [closed]

I have been studying music theory for some time now and I have become genuinely interested in the genealogy of music theory. I keep asking why when I study even the most basic of theories. For example,...
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1answer
200 views

Why did Mozart only write two symphonies in a minor key?

Mozart wrote over fifty symphonies, but only two of them, the 25th and 40th, are in a minor key. Interestingly, those two are some of his most highly regarded and most often played works. Why did he ...
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0answers
81 views

Beautiful quote about “B durum”

This one goes out to all the scholars and historians. I'm trying to put together a little booklet, for my students, to explain the accidental markings (sharp, flat etc) and where they come from. My ...
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2answers
302 views

Example of Classical Composer having two albums/works of two different periods

I would like to find the clearest, most obvious case for a composer whose work at one point of his life is considered to be part of "Period A" and work at another point of his life is considered "...
12
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1answer
204 views

In ancient Greece, did they use the Pythagoras discovery of ratios to create tetra-chord?

To my basic understanding: In ancient Greek they were primarily using tetra-chords and there was three main standard divisions of these tetra-chords called genus. In the same era Pythagoras ...
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0answers
65 views

What is the historical time line of the diatonic and chromatic scales? (history pov) [duplicate]

I was wondering the historical origin of the diatonic/chromatic scale and how it ended up looking the way it does now in our equal temperament system. And whats the difference between chromatic and ...
7
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1answer
386 views

History of triplets

I was wondering about triplets : when and where were they used for the first time in scores? More generally, when were triplets used significantly (i.e. not one single time on one particular score, ...
6
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1answer
144 views

How did the harmonium and violin become an integral part of Hindustani music?

The Harmonium hails from Germany and it is not an Indian instrument. Also, it is a equal tempered instrument. But the harmonium is a very common accompanying instrument in Hidustani Classical and ...
7
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2answers
365 views

Origin of Roman Numeral Analysis

Out of curiosity, I was searching for the origin of Roman Numeral analysis and the only online source I could find was this passage in Wikipedia: Gottfried Weber's Versuch einer geordneten Theorie ...
5
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2answers
262 views

Why is the hexatonic scale that can be derived via a chain of perfect fifths so little-known?

When learning about European classical music, it's heptatonic scales. The pentatonic scale is also very well known and widely used in folk music in different parts of the world. However, before I ...
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4answers
726 views

Why does unpitched percussion play a less prominent role in classical music than many other genres?

With my little knowledge of classical music I noticed, and I believe most people would agree, that unpitched percussive instrument play a much less prominent role in classical music than in most ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does Brahms stand next to Bach and Beethoven?

I've often heard the expression, "Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms" as sort of a summary of classical music, or something. I feel that I understand why Bach and Beethoven should serve as pillars of ...
11
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1answer
3k views

Why is Debussy's remark brilliant (on going out and smoking, at the start of Beethoven's developments)?

From: Charles Rosen. Critical Entertainments. p. 117 Bottom - 118 Top.   In the same way, attacks on Beethoven could be profound and even persuasive, and would continue to be so after his death ...
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1answer
310 views

Who invented rhythmic value names based on fractions of a measure of 4/4 music?

In American music a Semibreve is called a "whole note". Here it states that the name "whole note" comes from a German expression (ganze Note): In the world of music, you may encounter different ...
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1answer
843 views

Why did Chopin name Etude Op. 25, No.5 the “Wrong Note”?

The piece sounds lovely, why did he name it "Wrong Note"?
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5answers
1k views

Why do we always call a quarter note a **quarter** note? [closed]

Edit: After a lot of discussion I try to restate my question so that it becomes easier to understand: A concise version of my question, suggested by Stinkfoot: Why do we always call a quarter note a ...
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2answers
307 views

Prevailing theories about discovery of harmonic intervals

Are there any prevailing theories for how Paleolithic man discovered and shared knowledge about harmonic intervals? EDIT: I'm not referring to the mathematical characterization of the overtone ...
7
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1answer
586 views

Historically informed performance - Tuning

I recently attended a performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto by Nicola Benedetti and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Marin Alsop. At the end, Nicola played an encore: a version of ...
6
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2answers
203 views

How did Pythagoras and Ptolemy measure the relative pitch of musical notes?

Both Pythagoras and Ptolemy believed that the intervals between notes in music should be ratios of small integer numbers. This is known as Just Intonation. Pythagoras liked them to derived from ...
2
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1answer
142 views

What orchestral compositions have parts for Trumpet in H?

I know I've played parts written in H, but I can't find any from Google search. H is the German equivalent of B. Source: http://web.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/names-keys-french-german-italian-...
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3answers
788 views

Why there are no female genius composers? [closed]

Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Paganini, Liszt, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and many more Why are all of these genius composers male and not female? Are there any genuis female ...
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2answers
351 views

Why was Le Concert Spirituel playing out of tune at Proms 2012?

I know it sounds like an odd question, but I was listening to a recording of Handel's music for the Royal Fireworks (available here on Youtube), and there are sections where the horn players are ...
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4answers
6k views

Why is a 440 Hz frequency considered the “standard” pitch for musical instruments?

I was reading the Idiot's Guides: Music Theory (3rd edition), and I read: The "standard" pitch today that most musicians tune to is the A above middle C, which equals 440 Hz; all the other ...
3
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1answer
86 views

Was alto in the past lower in pitch than where they are today?

I wonder why alto clefs are so low that they doesn't seem to match the range of alto(female low voice). Why did J.S. Bach use alto clef so much for the middle part of his fugue? Is it because alto was ...
3
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1answer
209 views

History of the baby grand piano

The first pianos were made in around 1700. Researching a little online, I've been able to find lots of info on the history of the piano. But when was the "baby grand" piano first created and/or ...
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7answers
1k views

“The intervals considered dissonant have changed since the 'Middle Ages'”; How so?

In reading my new book 'Complete Classical Music Guide', I understand the following: If two notes are separated by a consonant the sound is pleasing to the ears. If they are of a dissonant ...
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1answer
338 views

Performing music from long ago

Let's say a modern orchestra wants to perform a piece of music composed by Mozart. Which of the following is true? Mozart wrote the score for every instrument in the orchestra. Those instruments ...
13
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1answer
276 views

Is the Baroque Schleifer, slide, or glissando symbol evolved from the Gregorian chant quilisma?

I posted this question on Wikipedia a year ago, with no answers. These two musical signs look eerily similar. The Baroque Schleifer or slide (see Wikipedia page): The quilisma in Gregorian chant (...