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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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what is the best classical composer and what is their best song [closed]

opinionenter link description here tie between Beethoven (best song is Wandienstien First Movement) Mozart best song is symphony 25 and Liszt best song is La Campanella or Hungarian Rhapsody 6
l.p.composer's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
100 views

What were Plato's main ideas on musical aesthetics?

Plato, one of our Western philosophical fathers, turns out to be a music critic even in his dying moments criticizing a flute music performance he enjoyed in his last evening! A passage deciphered ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
75 views

What is the air path in a rackett?

There's plenty of videos and online descriptions of these, but: where does the air come out? As an example, shows racketts with the reed in the centre of the top, but ...
Mark Morgan Lloyd's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
85 views

How were the hole positions determined on a recorder, and how were the fingerings invented?

I recently obtained an inexpensive plastic recorder and am amazed that it’s possible to play a chromatic scale on it across two octaves. Many of the fingerings seem magical to me - as in, how did ...
templatetypedef's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
101 views

History of "white keys" and "black keys" as idiom

When explaining music theory in layman's terms, it's common to refer to "white keys" and "black keys" and take for granted that everyone knows what a piano looks like. But ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
186 views

What is the earliest use of the note F#?

I came across Richard Taruskin's transcription of Verbum Patris humanatur, a 12th century conductus in three parts, in The Oxford History of Western Music, Vol. I. In it, he uses a ficta # above some ...
Mauro Braunstein's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Black and white keyboard keys

I've often wondered why there needs to be a different colour in the keys on pianos, organs and keyboards. After all, their location and shape differentiates them regardless. I can understand the need ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
7 votes
1 answer
251 views

What is the minimum pedal keyboard compass needed to play ALL of J.S. Bach's pipe organ music?

Simple straightforward question: What is the minimum pedal keyboard range needed to play ALL of J.S. Bach's pipe organ music? Optional ways to embellish the answer: Did Bach ever write a piece for ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
77 views

Was this chord substitution chart part of a larger harmony system?

I recently rediscovered in my files several photocopied sheets of chords similar to the one below. A friend (deceased in 2014) gave them to me many years ago. There are a total of 11, covering keys ...
Theodore's user avatar
  • 2,930
2 votes
1 answer
182 views

When did the oboe wind up being the standard to tune other instruments in an ensemble / orchestra?

As a follow up to the question why does the orchestra tune to the oboe, I'm asking since when this became standard practice? For example, was it since the Modern oboe, or already since the Classical ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
133 views

When was music notation first used? [duplicate]

When was the first time someone wrote music in the way we use it today (on a stave)? Was this the first way people ever wrote music or did they do something else before that? (such as just writing the ...
trumpetkid's user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
3k views

What happened to Jazz in 1980?

In this great interview by Rick Beato (around 01:13h) Pat Metheny says that in 1980 something happened - "we all know what it was" - and young musicians suddenly started to play for their ...
Bipolar Minds's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
967 views

In terms of range, what does "eingestrichen" refer to?

I'm trying to read an old handwritten German document from 1835 which describes the range of the newly invented tuba. It says: die Bass-Tuba hingegen 4 reine Octaven durch die chromatische Scala, ...
Stewart's user avatar
  • 893
4 votes
0 answers
75 views

What is the origin of this stock phrase to end a piece in a humorous way? [duplicate]

This phrase is often used for comedic effect: The melody is characterized by the movement in half steps around the dominant. But it is recognizable by its rhythm alone. For example, it is used by ...
mkrieger1's user avatar
  • 171
3 votes
1 answer
116 views

Is there a historical connection between the charango and the jarana jarocha?

Context: Charango, Jarana jarocha The Andean charango and the jarana jarocha (jarocho means "from Veracruz, Mexico") both usually have five courses of strings. The middle course has two ...
zabolekar's user avatar
  • 183
10 votes
8 answers
463 views

To what extent does musical notation constrain human musical creation?

I am interested in the question of how musical notation has influenced human musical creation, especially in a "restrictive" way. In particular, are there some kind of musics which are not ...
Weier's user avatar
  • 221
1 vote
0 answers
96 views

Was Bernstein's interpretation of Mahler's 9th Symphony correct?

During his fifth Norton lecture at Harvard University, Leonard Bernstein famously speculated that Mahler's ninth symphony was symbolically prophesying his own death, the death of tonality (the advent ...
John05's user avatar
  • 335
2 votes
0 answers
106 views

Why the similarity between these sections from Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saëns?

I noticed that part of Saint-Saëns' Africa (1891) sounds very similar to Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasia (1884), and was wondering whether they were friends/contemporaries during their lives so would ...
thosphor's user avatar
  • 121
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Were there any automatic timekeeping devices prior to the metronome used for setting and maintaining tempo (BPM) and pulse?

I know there's a decent amount of science that goes into creating a device that can set and maintain time, so this may be a very simple question with "no" being the answer, but I'm just ...
Lecifer's user avatar
  • 964
3 votes
1 answer
324 views

ii-ii6-I progression

I've heard this progression many times and in many ways over the course of my life, but I can't seem to assign a name to it or find out any further information about it or its history. It goes as ...
Edward Kirby's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
57 views

When to use sixth in continuo according to Bianciardi?

From Bianciardi's Breve Regola (http://www.bassus-generalis.org/bianciardi/bianciardi.html): "But because some notes don’t have a fifth above, a sixth is used in its place; this happens in those ...
volvo's user avatar
  • 21
5 votes
1 answer
987 views

How does one resolve the conflict between Renaissance theory of Cadences and the contradictions against it in Bach Chorales?

A level pupil. Made the mistake of learning Renaissance cadence voicing way before starting A-level harmony course. There's a conflict of interest between the cadential progressions of the renaissance ...
Ridiculable Pupil's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
192 views

What was the appropriate response if an Early Romantic era composer dedicated a composition to you?

What was the expectation of the recipient of a dedication during the early romantic era, if the recipient could perform it? For example, when Schubert was 22 he composed his Piano Sonata No. 13 in A ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
43 views

History of Tetrachords [duplicate]

I posted a similar question not too long ago and it was suggested that I look into tetrachords and I quickly understood why, but now I have questions about tetrachords. For what reason are diatonic ...
Lecifer's user avatar
  • 964
3 votes
0 answers
58 views

Style of Danza Del Viejo Boyero by Alberto Ginastera

I have struggled with understanding the style of this song, and I guess it is open to interpretation, but I was wondering whether to play it like an "old shepherd" as its name suggests, or a ...
Jeremiah Sharo's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
118 views

I’m looking for information/references on how we developed the Major Mode (Scale/Key) [closed]

As the title says, I’m looking for some information on the history of how the Major Mode (Scale,Key) was developed/designed. I already know a little bit, that is, I am not completely new to the topic, ...
Lecifer's user avatar
  • 964
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

Why is the cavaquinho minhoto so different from other cavaquinhos?

For context: cavaquinho The Brazilian cavaquinho, the cavaquinho de Lisboa, the Cabo Verde cavaquinho, the Madeiran braguinha and its descendant, the ukulele, all seem to have a fretboard that is ...
zabolekar's user avatar
  • 183
4 votes
2 answers
395 views

What is the earliest we know wire-strung instruments to have existed?

What is the earliest we know wire-strung instruments to have existed? I was reading about gut strings, nylon strings, wire strings used on guitar, and wanted to know, but couldn't find the answer ...
Noah J's user avatar
  • 267
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

How did western music label and calibrate around C Major as having no sharps/flats rather than A Major? [duplicate]

This is purely academic/speculative, but wouldn't it have made more sense and been easier to learn if Western music were based on A Maj, rather than C Maj, as having been the one designated to have no ...
humanliberty1's user avatar
16 votes
8 answers
3k views

How hard would it have been for a small band to make and sell CDs in the early 90s?

Suppose it's the early 90s and you have three or four high school students that are decent with music, have minimal other skills, but still want to be able to sell CDs of their songs. Nowadays they ...
Joshua Snider's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
297 views

How do they know what the frequency of Solfeggio notes

It is hard to find information on how modern day people selling solfeggio tuning forks and the like know which exact frequencies to use. I liked this article below but as I have just joined I ...
Ian Hildebrand's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
774 views

What is rude jazz?

In a lecture supporting his new book Stomp and Shout, Northwest rock historian Peter Blecha mentioned a genre from the 1940s or 50s called rude jazz. I have never heard of this before, and it might be ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 61
1 vote
0 answers
49 views

relax, jack song [closed]

Anyone know the title of the song with a refrain like " Relax, jack. It's just a simple fact, Jack"? The recording I recall is ~50 years old and was sung by a black woman, maybe Eartha Kitt. ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
444 views

Why is the solo/featured instrument in so many Baroque-era concerti silent during the slow movement?

Is the reason the soloist is often silent during a Baroque-era concerto simply to provide a break from all the virtuosity often required within the outer movements? Or is it to allow a string soloist ...
Tom Korbuszewski's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
199 views

When did the 6/4 chord become more commonplace and acceptable?

In the baroque and classical period, 6/4 chords were only voice leading chords, almost exclusively used as passing chords or auxiliary chords. But even as early as Mendelssohn, we see 6/4 chords ...
OprenStein's user avatar
  • 1,626
2 votes
5 answers
308 views

What makes the ionian and Aeolian modes different from other modes?

There were initially seven modes back in the era of modal music, but when tonality set in, the use of modes dropped to just two; Ionian and Aeolian, now the major and natural minor scales. Why were ...
OprenStein's user avatar
  • 1,626
9 votes
3 answers
922 views

Is this a tenor clef?

My wind band is playing Saint-Saens' Pas Redouble, using the Josneau arrangement published by Evette & Schaeffer. It's on IMSLP. The bassoon part is mostly in bass clef, but occasionally uses a ...
John's user avatar
  • 193
2 votes
0 answers
65 views

Consonant vs. Dissonant Major Thirds: Historical Process and Significance of Tuning System

In the comments to the question Why is the fourth against the bass considered a dissonance?, I wrote A 5:4 third was considered dissonant until musical tastes changed and declared it consonant. To ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.8k
6 votes
1 answer
263 views

What was the earliest equal temperament system used?

What was the earliest equal temperament system used? I believe it to be 19edo, used by Guillaume Costeley in Seigneur Dieu ta pitié, in 1558. Was any equal temperament used before then? 7edo is ...
mathlander's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
298 views

What is the etymology of word "chromatic" (= relating to color) in music?

Regarding "chromatic," I found on Wiktionary: Latin chrōmaticus, from Ancient Greek χρωματικός (khrōmatikós, “relating to colour; one of the three types of tetrachord in Greek music”) Then ...
Petr's user avatar
  • 161
11 votes
1 answer
882 views

When and/or how did Western music shift from downward to upward scale concepts?

The ancient Greeks constructed their scales from top to bottom. For example, Wikipedia: Note that Greek theorists conceived of scales as descending from higher pitch to lower (the opposite of modern ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.8k
5 votes
2 answers
182 views

Is there a specific name for this cadence melody?

The trill or any ornamentation is optional but seems like it is usually there. I am familiar with this melody more generally as part of an authentic cadence, but this particular rhythm seems very ...
cbushofsky's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
53 views

Why is G the lowest note of the Gamut? [duplicate]

The Gamut made use of the seven letters of Saint Gregory: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. It represents the twenty notes of “true music” (musica recta), from low G to high e2. Why was the lowest note in ...
Giovanni's user avatar
  • 981
6 votes
0 answers
94 views

Did American drum corps ever utilize the tuning slide of valveless bugles for more notes?

I used to be a member of my school's drum and bugle corps in middle school whose entire brass section is composed of US regulation bugles in G (if I'm not mistaken) which are are valveless. They used ...
izayoi9300's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

In JS Bach's lifetime who listened to any of his organ preludes and fugues and when? [duplicate]

The related thread from Feb. 1, 2021 initiated by Aaron (Who was listening to Bach's compositions in his lifetime?) was informative, but I have a more precise question. Who heard Bach's preludes and ...
Charles Packer's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
167 views

How did Western music come to embrace metrical rhythm as its primary metric structure?

Western music generally uses a limited set of metrical rhythms — simple and compound meters in accent groupings of 2, 3, or 4.1 With exceptions, of course, this is true in the bulk of classical music, ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.8k
2 votes
0 answers
57 views

Shostakovich style (5th, 10th) [closed]

During my music education I was more focused on classical styles of western composers up until times of Beethoven. Namely, I understand the structure and some ideas behind music by Vivaldi, Bach, ...
SBF's user avatar
  • 142
1 vote
1 answer
61 views

Origins of musical stave notations [closed]

I was wondering whether anyone knows the history of how the notations for clefs, sharps, flats, naturals, notes, and pauses, and their locations of the stave, took place. How were these shapes ...
Joselin Jocklingson's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
324 views

The definition, and the origin of this sign notation "x"

Here is an example of the double sharp (within the red mark) from Liszt Les Preludes, see below. I suppose this notation "x" is called double sharp. Questions: What are (1) the definition, ...
wonderich's user avatar
  • 921
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

VII-i cadence in a minor key

I have read many people claiming that this cadence is actually a disguised V-vi in the relative major. But as a pianist and composer I do not feel this way at all. For a concrete example, here is a ...
user21820's user avatar
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