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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Nancarrow piano studies collections: why are they ordered that way?

The bulk of Conlon Nancarrow's musical output has been collected in the series Conlon Nancarrow: Studies for Player Piano (vol.s 1-5). My question is about the ordering of songs in this collection. ...
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Is my piano likely worth tuning?

I have an E Belling upright piano that is about 180 years old - dating from around 1840 - that has been in my family since its first owner, my great-great-grandmother, who was given it for her 16th ...
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Why is 'Narrative Music' not considered 'complete/absolute'?

I have recently become obsessed with HECTOR BERLIOZ. His Symphonie Fantastique is tremendous. This made me research him further when I was disturbed to find out the following: ...
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Why does Rachmaninoff Symphony 2 mvmt. 3 sound so similar to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet love theme?

I get that they were both meant to convey love, but to me it sounds too similar to be a coincidence that Rach and Tchaik both hear love as the same (especially that rising line in the violins). Why is ...
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5answers
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Does the piano really originate as a combination between drumming and guitar?

I heard this concept from one my friends, who is a guitar player, that first the guitar and the drum were created, and then somebody decided to drum on guitar and so was the piano born. I really ...
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How is the Santur (Santour / Santoor) usually tuned (in pure intonation)?

From what I've read the Persian Santur is usually tuned to the Phyrgian mode, but what are the actual frequencies or ratios of the notes? How would I tune one by ear? e.g. a piano tuner might count ...
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3answers
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Is there a term in English to characterize the male/female bipolarity of major and minor tonality?

Is there any association of dur and moll with male and female like in European compositions to define the polarity of major and minor tonalities in orchestral works like symphonies? Edit: To avoid ...
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How come modern modes are based on the same set of intervals?

I couldn't find any answer regarding this specifically, so I assume there's some basic concept behind this that I missed. So, as far as I know: Modern modes are based on the same set of intervals, ...
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Why the F clef and G clef?

We understand that the bass clef is called the F clef, while the treble is called the G clef. It's to do with where the strange signs are on each staff. But why those notes in particular?
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What is the rationale of electronic keyboards having the voices that they do?

It inevitably starts with a piano voice, then electric piano voices. Chromatically pitched percussion, guitars, strings, and so on, ending with drums. Even the most limited of keyboards have this ...
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How was sheet music printed before the advent of computers?

Computers have made the process of creating printed music incredibly easy and accessible. But how did publishers create nice-looking printed music before the advent of computers? It's hard for me to ...
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How often do we see the likes of Alexandra Dovgan in history?

I'm not all that up to snuff on classical music history but as far as I know the last time we saw a child play like Alexandra Dovgan was Clara Schuman. Does anyone else know any other child ...
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Why is the numbering scheme of the Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis (TWV) not adopted more universally?

Telemann's works are numbered first according to genre, then, where applicable, by key (with minor keys in lowercase and major keys in uppercase), and finally (if possible) chronologically or else at ...
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Is there symbolism in Brahms No. 1? How does this, and the “struggle between major and minor,” square with his views about absolute music?

I've been learning about the War of the Romantics, and I'm trying to understand Brahms's symphony. I've long seen what I recognize as literary techniques in Brahms's music. For example, in mvt. IV of ...
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2answers
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What is a **Ruggiero** in music?

I have once heard this term Ruggiero in a discussion about a Baroque composition on the radio. I thought it could be this walking bass line of 4 notes we know so well from Bach's concertos: "so la ...
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Celtic modes, what modes are these?

I know the ancient Greek modes and the Gregorian modes of the medieval era. Reading in a comment the term Celtic modes I wonder is there something different or special that I have missed until today?
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What kind of musical scales did the ancient “pagan” tribes use before Roman/Greek contact?

As far as I know, the "western musical scale" is a greek invention. In Indian and Arabic music you find other scales (and time signatures as well). What sort of scales and time signatures did the ...
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0answers
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Who Were Art Tatum's Influences?

Art Tatum is one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz piano. He propelled the music forward perhaps more than any other jazz pianist. Specifically, Art was known for his ...
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1answer
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Identifying a musical system [closed]

Several years ago I was browsing about history of computers and old day computers, and downloaded various images, from Google, maybe from a blog or websites on older generation computers. One of ...
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What are good resources for research on a particular work? [closed]

Are there some well-known resources for scholars, like JSTOR is for academic papers, or specialized publications? Any type of investigation on a work is of interest, musical analysis, theory, ...
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Original sources for note-increment dot

A dot after a note adds half of its duration. This is called a “dotted note”. I am interested in the history of the dot itself. How is it called, and what is its origin. I’m looking for earliest ...
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2answers
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Why are western double-reed instruments smoother than double-reed instruments outside Europe?

When one thinks of the timbre of double reed instruments, we tend to divide them as two groups: Oboe, English horn, bassoon. (Western instruments.) The sound is very smooth and pure. Other double-...
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What is Echo (a type of dance)?

This question is about a type of Baroque dance called Echo. For example, Bach: Overture in the French Style in B Minor, BWV 831 - VIII. Echo. Why it is called Echo? I searched in wikipdiea, but out ...
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What scale were the very first modes based on?

If all modes derive from a scale which scale were the very first modes derived from? I know the modern modes are derived from the diatonic scale but if the first modes came before the major and minor ...
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Is the Descending Fifths sequence also an Ascending Fourths sequence ? Who is the original source of this sequence?

Can the Descending Fifths sequence also be correctly named as an Ascending Fourth's sequence ? in major : I - IV - vii dim - iii - vi - ii - V - I Is Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) and his Canon in D ...
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Pandiatonicism in “She’s leaving home” (Beatles)?

In a documentary about the Beatles it was said She’s leaving home is in aeolian mode. I thought this would be rather dorian as we have a major 6th in the scale passage of the cello after the first ...
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Aldous Huxley and 5/4 Meter in Music Predating “Take 5”

Background: "Take 5" by Paul Desmond (and famously recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet) is one of the more famous jazz standards out there, and one thing any analyst would point out ...
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3answers
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Meaningfully significant BPMs

A bit of a trivial question perhaps, but are there any historically/intrinsically meaningful BPMs? As in, there's obviously 60 bpm. I ask because while trying to correct my rushing, I've noticed ...
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1answer
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Did J.S.Bach know the categories *major* and minor* when he wrote his WTC?

Something interesting: I've read the other day that Bach when he wrote his WTC there he didn't know the terms *major" and "minor". I can't find the source again but may be someone can help me. May ...
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staff, grand staff, staves? what does it mean?

I've understood that staff is one system of 5 note lines and the term for both systems (l. & r. h. keyboard) is grand staff, is this correct? ... while in a full score would be several staves?
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4answers
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Did the music of the common practice period always end with a full measure?

If there are pieces which end with an incomplete measure, then what would be some examples? And is there a term for an incomplete measure at the end? Something that would be the opposite of anacrusis.
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9answers
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How was violin practiced before electronics, say, in the 1800s?

One might say with an instructor, but how about when not in the presence of their instructor? How did beginning students practice hitting the right notes? For example, there were no electronic ...
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2answers
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Where can I read more about Monteverdi's role in the evolution of the orchestra?

I have seen it mentioned here and there that Claudio Monteverdi was the first composer to score for a specific set of instruments, for his opera Orfeo in 1607, and that this had a significant impact ...
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4answers
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What is the significance of triads in western music?

I am a beginner to western classical music. In Howard Goodall's The Story of Music, he mentions “Triads are the chords around which every harmonic, or chordal, journey is structured, in virtually all ...
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1answer
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Where can I find accurate traditional sheet music online? [closed]

A lot of the sites I see are arrangements or versions transcribed by others; although this is somewhat good, I am looking for more accurate sources for traditional songs in the category of; Holiday/...
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2answers
119 views

Was there a conscious decision of medieval composers to compose within a harmonic framework?

How much were medieval composers (such as Hildegard von Bingen) aware of modal approach when they composed and "engineered" their pieces? Now, this question is almost stupid. They didn't compose ...
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9answers
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Why did we never simplify key signatures?

I understand that the key signature indicates what are the exact notes represented on the staff lines and spaces and thus tells us the diatonic scale in which the music is composed, which in turns ...
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2answers
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When was “Nashville Tuning” invented?

Answering a question about alternate tuning today got me thinking about Nashville Tuning and that this is basically the exact same concept used by Stanley Clarke (and apparently Ron Carter) to "invent"...
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1answer
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What does the term “ex tempore” mean?

I was going to give an answer and in this quotation about Werckmeister I encountered the term ex tempore. enter link description here I first thought this means memorizing and playing by heart. A ...
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2answers
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Has it always been the tradition for conceto soloists to have their music memorized?

At all the performances of concertos I've attended, the soloists perform without sheet music, whether it is a concerto for piano, viola, or horn. Has this always been the performance tradition for ...
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1answer
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Earliest piano lyre?

When was the first piano built/marketed/sold whose pedals were mounted on what we now call a lyre, instead of onto a harpsichord-like crossbar between the front legs?
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When was the change from tablatures to staff notation in the history of music?

As the other day someone asked: Why do we notate keyboard sheet music as we do ... (the question has been probably put on hold as off-topic ...) I think this question is interesting: Why do we notate ...
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Fivefold division of the whole tone - What does it mean?

I am recently reading this article: Jan W. Herlinger. Journal of the American Musicological Society. Vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 193-216 (Title: Marchetto's Division of the Whole Tone). In the ...
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3answers
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Why is Eastern Music a Mode of Western Music?

Western music (to me at least) is best captured in the major scale. And Phrygian, which is the 3rd mode of the major scale can be used to get a more Eastern sound (for example Jefferson Airplane/White ...
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Where did JSBach study composing? Was he an autodidact? [duplicate]

We know that Bach comes from a family of musicians. But who was his teacher in composition?. Who did he study with? Or was he self-taught?
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How did composers “test” their music?

How did composers "test" their music, especially in multi-instrument works (eg. chamber, orchestra) or in pieces for instruments they didn't know how to play? Did they really have an orchestra (for ...
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Why is reverb typically called “wet' or ”drippy"?

Reverb is a type of natural effect you can get playing in walled spaces, giving a sort of echo/reverberation as the name implies. But I'm referring more to emulated reverb through use of a guitar ...
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1answer
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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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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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153 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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