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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Naming convention for augmented 6th chords

There are three types of Augmented 6th chord the German, the Italian, and the French. Most chords are named for the intervals they contain or their function, but these seem like just arbitrary names ...
0
votes
1answer
443 views

Does the old Druid song, Les Series, have an ancient melody as Villemarque charted it?

This may be too long and specialized for many, but I'll put it up and see what kind of interest or reaction there is: Some of you may have heard of the old Druid number tutorial, Les Series or Ar ...
1
vote
9answers
240 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
124 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
94 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
39 views

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 ...
3
votes
4answers
115 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
92 views

Dampers in 19c fortepianos

I recently listened to performances at the 1st International Chopin Competition of Period Instruments, and I noticed that the chords in the fortepianos used there (manufactured in the early 19th ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Did Chopin request that his Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 (E minor) be played at his own funeral? [migrated]

I have read in a couple of places that Chopin himself requested for his Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 to be played at his own funeral, but no citation was given. Now I know that the preludes No. 4 and No. 6 ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

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"...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

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/...
4
votes
1answer
278 views

Regarding Schubert's Missing 'Gastein' Symphony

My understanding has been that Schubert's 'Gastein Symphony' was presumed lost, until scholars realized it was in fact his 9th symphony (the 'Great'). But Wikipedia tells me the 7th Symphony, D. 729, ...
9
votes
2answers
967 views

Who invented modal Jazz?

Can anyone be said to have done so? Or was it just a movement that emerged from the various people playing at the time? I believe that Kind of Blue was the first album to popularize it but can Miles ...
20
votes
9answers
6k views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is Italian the standard for expressive markings in music?

I was reading through the music for Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy a few days ago and I realized that I am often surprised when I see expressive markings (dynamics, tempo, accents and the like) that ...
8
votes
1answer
447 views

Why is Beethoven's tempo so off?

There is one thing that brought me this question. Well 2 actually. First off is Wim Winters and his Authentic Sound channel where he argues that Beethoven is using double beat for his tempos. He ...
3
votes
2answers
89 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
59 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

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?
15
votes
4answers
5k views

When did the half-step/whole-step modulation in the middle of a song become popular?

Many pop songs in modern times will use a half step or a whole step modulation in the middle of a song in order to increase excitement. I would like to know when this strategy started, and if it is ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Varied bass line and varied tune: What is the term used for this style?

I‘ve been looking for the term in English for this kind of gestures or ornamentations: Figuration is understood in the music playing a melody in small note values, in contrast to an ornament. The ...
4
votes
2answers
59 views

Books on music theory that give historical context? [closed]

Can someone recommend 1-2 books that introduce music theory but also give historical context? It is easy to find music theory books but many lack discussions of history. I'm looking for books that ...
2
votes
4answers
219 views

When was the beginning of polyphony?

I've read a lot about Greek and ancient music. The history books say this music was only monophonic and we know only from iconical research (studying pictures from ancient times) of the practice of ...
-1
votes
3answers
107 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
123 views

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?
13
votes
2answers
703 views

Why was the Forte-Piano abbreviated as 'Piano' and not as 'Forte'?

Piano is often just short for Forte-Piano, the instrument's christened name. Why is it that the more common name did not become the Forte? Is that just a thing that fate decided or was there someone ...
29
votes
4answers
8k views

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 ...
8
votes
10answers
3k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
919 views

What 1968 Moog synthesizer was used in the Movie Apollo 11?

I was watching the short YouTube video How ‘Apollo 11’ Gives the Moon Landing New Life | Anatomy of a Scene and near the end the narrator says: My music composer, Matt Morton decided to do a period ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

How did the plagal modes differ from their authentic counterpart in practice?

In the traditional modal system there were eight modes. Four that were authentic and four were plagal. These modes are depicted below: Based on the description of the modes the final note of the ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
117 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".
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Efforts and examples of modernizing Indian lyrics and music?

English lyrics can express anything using “common language” (words you hear in everyday conversation) whether it’s love, politics, poverty, violence, or the end of times. English lyrics are direct, ...
0
votes
4answers
507 views

Stradivaris: are they worth their price? [closed]

An ordinary violin may cost about 1000 dollars. A Stradivari may cost some millions. Why are Stradivaris so expensive? Are they worth their price?
2
votes
1answer
110 views

The New Complexity movement

What are the main ideas incorporated into the New Complexity movement (contemporary classical music, late 20th century)? What kind of notation, musical techniques, or theoretical ideas would composers ...
4
votes
1answer
252 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?
3
votes
2answers
149 views

How could the Greek (Pythagoras et al.) measure the frequencies - as they didn't have a mobile app? [duplicate]

How could the Greek (Pythagoras et al.) measure the frequencies - as they didn't have a mobile app? They didn't have a tuning fork or any other standardized measure. But even without standards they ...
0
votes
2answers
310 views

How low is the lowest tone that a human can sing?

Thinking about the range of human voices and the bass voices - especially whether there has been an average of lowest tones through the past - I wonder which is the lowest tone that a human can ...
3
votes
3answers
113 views

Who has brought up the English term **figured bass** for thorough bass?

I wonder when and by whom figured bass has been introduced as synonym for thorough bass in the basso continuo. In my view this must be somehow an error or a misunderstanding of figurierter bass in ...
9
votes
2answers
189 views

Where is the circle of fifths mentioned for the first time?

How and when was the Circle of Fifths invented, and who is responsible for the discovery of this musical godsend?
3
votes
3answers
149 views

You are the sunshine of my life: how is this off-beat singing called?

Stevie Wonder sings in a typical style I‘d like to know the english term. I wonder as I wander through Stevie Wonders style. What is this style called? Just syncopated? And when came this style up? (...
8
votes
7answers
5k views

Why are so many Eurovision song contest songs sung in English?

One thing that strikes a lot of non-European viewers of the Eurovision Song Contest is that many of the songs are sung in English. Outside of the ESC, are most modern songs produced in Europe ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the name for a fluid transition between two tones? When did it first appear?

With instruments such as violins or trombones, it is possible to shift from one tone to another fluidly. What is this practice called? When has it first appeared in [Western] music?
2
votes
2answers
85 views

English translation of Brahms' essay: “Octaven und Quinten”?

I am now doing some research on Brahm's essay, Octaven u. Quinten. I cannot read German, so I cannot do anything with the original manuscript. I have read some secondary sources about this essay, but ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

How can we play a Bach chorale in different ways? [closed]

Reconstructing Chorales: How can Bach Chorales be arranged or played differently? Are there typical kinds of harmonization named by criteria? What would be the effects? Some styles will be better ...
15
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring: What term is appropriate for the instrumental ornaments in Bachs Choral arrangements?

a related question asks if there is a specific term for the voicing in Bach's Chorals: What is the term for the sung voice found especially in Bach's chorale music (eg. Jesu Joy of Man's ...
16
votes
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 ...