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Questions tagged [history]

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

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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 ...
7
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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 ...
8
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3answers
192 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 ...
2
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3answers
484 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
109 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 ...
0
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3answers
234 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
86 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,...
5
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1answer
379 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
125 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
436 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
237 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 ...
2
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0answers
101 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
561 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, ...
7
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1answer
245 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 ...
8
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2answers
485 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 ...
6
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2answers
407 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
2k 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 ...
16
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2answers
3k 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 ...
12
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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 ...
7
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1answer
335 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 ...
4
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1answer
2k 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
339 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
593 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
269 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
270 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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2answers
527 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 ...
28
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4answers
8k 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
91 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 ...
5
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2answers
338 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 ...
11
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7answers
2k 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 ...
0
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1answer
426 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 ...
14
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2answers
393 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 (...
0
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1answer
249 views

Why do we use such different picks for guitar and oud?

The oud and the guitar are strung similarly (six strings vs. six courses of strings), and are both played with a flat pick; but the guitar pick is much smaller and flatter than the risha used for the ...
10
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3answers
3k views

How did baroque music sound at the time?

Historical context Let's for example consider Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (click here to enjoy). It was composed at the very beginning of the 18th century in Germany. At that time: ...
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5answers
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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, ...
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3answers
1k views

The Basso Continuo and the Jazz Rhythm Section

I've seen many musicologists compare the Basso Continuo of the Baroque Era to the Jazz Rhythm Section, an analogy which I think is valid and understandable. Here's one reference (of many) that I ...
2
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1answer
3k views

What's so important about Venice in the Baroque period?

Many famous Baroque musicians and composers, for example Vivaldi, were children of Venice and did their work there. What other reasons are there for Venice being a great spawning ground for Baroque ...
2
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2answers
792 views

Who were the first “classical” composers to be recorded playing/conducting their own music?

The phonograph was invented in 1877. While the first versions of the technology had low fidelity and short playback time by modern standards, these limitations gradually lessened, and eventually ...
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1answer
290 views

About slash and 7th chord's meaning and their history

In today’s music, there are certain musical features that makes music jazzy and good and I think those are the use of 7th chords and tensions. And of course there are Slash chords(along with them, if ...
2
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1answer
308 views

What kind of skill did the average amateur pianist have in the classical era?

We hear of composers as the greats of the keyboard, but I imagine there were also a lot of people who had the time and money to learn to play in their own homes. Probably not a huge number, but I ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Is there an English-language edition of “Dynamik und Agogik” by Hugo Riemann? [closed]

This book is cited by many theorists and it has inspired a lot of further works including the well-known book "Note Grouping" by Thurmond. There is a German language public domain version available at ...
2
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1answer
601 views

Who titled 'Tonic sol-fa' and Why?

We're all aware of tonic sol-fa - sometimes otherwise called solfege in the U.S., but in U.K. meaning moveable doh. But the question I can't find an answer to is why sol-fa. Doh is the root/tonic, sol ...
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2answers
383 views

Succinct Definition of “Western vs. Non-Western Music”

Does anyone have a succinct way of defining "Western Music" as opposed to "Non-Western Music"?
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2answers
277 views

Why did Aristotle think Dorian is the manliest mode?

In Aristotle's Politics 1290a, he writes: of musical modes there are said to be two kinds, the Dorian and the Phrygian; the other arrangements of the scale are comprehended under one or other of ...
11
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of the triangle symbol for maj7 chords?

An article on the origin of the "delta" symbol has been doing the rounds recently. It quotes a book by Yusef Lateef, which claims that John Coltrane introduced the "triangle notation" for a major 7th ...
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1answer
455 views

What is this singing style called? [duplicate]

I've been scouring google for over an hour, but I'm at a loss as to how to search apparently. I'd like to know what the singing style used here is called. I've tried looking for Balkan vocal styles, ...
5
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5answers
4k views

Is it true that Mozart would pale in comparison to child prodigies today? [closed]

Apologies if this question is off-topic. I read in a book somewhere (I think it was Think Like a Freak) that many child pianists today would outshine famous prodigies of the past, for example Mozart, ...
2
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1answer
335 views

Piano learning books: history

Learning piano, I learnt, changed over time. There are classical books like Hanon, Beyer, and Czerny, and modern ones which I don't know (I am half-way with Beyer's). What are the major differences ...
6
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3answers
639 views

What led to the historical predominance of the four-part harmony in Western Music?

Introductory music theory heavily empasizes analysis and writing of music with four-part harmony, putatively the basis for music at the beginning of the common practice. Why did four-part voice ...