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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14 votes
8 answers
7k views

Why is a 2-5-1 progression so often associated with jazz?

Why is a 2-5-1 progression so often associated with jazz? Is there something inherent in this progression that makes it sound jazzy? Or rather, is it just that jazz people started to use it, ...
10 votes
2 answers
540 views

Who were Anonymous I-III? Was there an Anonymous V?

An important treatise on medieval music theory was written in the 13th century. His or her name was lost to history, and a 19th-century French historian later dubbed him/her "Anonymous IV". This ...
6 votes
1 answer
175 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
222 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
4 views

how old was tupac shakur when he got shot with a gun? [migrated]

who Tupac Shakur was, hes background and his musical genre? heard he got shot with a gun while with some of hes child hood friends
28 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why does a 97 / 92 key piano exist by Bösendorfer?

Pianos normally have 88 keys, ranging from A0 to C8. One of Bösendorfer's pianos go down to F below the low A. The other model goes down to C. How did this happen?
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 ...
15 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
24 votes
9 answers
15k 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
168 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
64 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
129 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 ...
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 ...
8 votes
3 answers
944 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, ...
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 ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Where did the term backbeat come from?

In most modern music in 4/4 beats 2 and 4 are where the snare hits are and are usually referred to as the backbeat. Normally in 4/4 the 2 and 4 beat would not be accented, but the snare hits do just ...
10 votes
7 answers
415 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 ...
3 votes
4 answers
243 views

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.
3 votes
1 answer
99 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
971 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
90 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
93 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
548 views

Why is 1/128th note's prefix "semihemidemisemi"?

I've searched throughout the Internet, and so far they only states the fact that 1/64th note is named "hemidemisemiquaver" and 1/128th note is "semihemidemisemiquaver", with no mention why the prefix ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What clef was first?

Adding up to my previous question, what clef was first and why? I guess there should be answers somewhere out there but I can't find them.
8 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
314 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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
832 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 ...
25 votes
4 answers
8k views

Origin of the 'squigly line' used for quarter note rest?

This has been driving me nuts - I can't find a single thing on the net that would indicate why the quarter rest is penned the way it is. Did it evolve from some initial or abbreviation or was it ...
4 votes
1 answer
342 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
186 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
52 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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
615 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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
51 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
41 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
115 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, ...
10 votes
2 answers
4k 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?
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

When did the appearance of the quarter rest in music change from its original appearance?

WHEN did the appearance of the quarter rest in music change from its original appearance — as a backward looking number 7 () to its current look ()? I have been searching the Internet with no luck. I ...
3 votes
0 answers
72 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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
4k 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, ...
40 votes
5 answers
90k views

Why is note B marked with H in Scandinavia and Germany?

At least in Scandinavia and Germany two notes are marked differently than in most other countries: B -> H B♭ -> B I have heard that this is due to mistake in interpreting messy sheet notes, as ♭ is ...
4 votes
2 answers
375 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 ...
1 vote
4 answers
630 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
102 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 ...
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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
278 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
770 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 ...
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. ...
4 votes
2 answers
441 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 ...
2 votes
5 answers
281 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
180 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 ...

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