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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12
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1answer
7k views

What piano music was played in “wild west” saloons before the ragtime appeared?

The stereotypical saloon scene in most movies about the Wild West often features ragtime being played on a piano. However, ragtime only appeared at the very end of the century (the first known ...
6
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2answers
867 views

Are there any thematic similarities between Shostakovichs' Symphony 5th and Beethovens' 7th symphony? [closed]

Taking a look at the opening bars of Shostakovichs' Symphony 5th and Beethovens' 7th symphony 4th movement (bar 136 onwards) see below they sound kind of similar. Somebody suggested (Radio 3 I think)...
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1answer
130 views

Locrian mode is not part of standard usage?

I got this answer on one of my questions: The Locrian mode is mostly a music theory concept in western music history, and it is very rarely used for music pieces that use western harmony, but ...
3
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1answer
999 views

Why do very old pianos have only 85 keys?

Some extremely old pianos have only 85 keys, ranging from A0 to A7. These pianos are no longer existent today. What's the reason?
2
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3answers
83 views

Chromatic note between fourth and fifth degree of the minor scale?

In the first 5 notes of the natural minor scale: C D Eb F G I often see people add a chromatic note (Gb/F#) between the 4 and 5 degrees of the scale: so C D Eb F Gb G. Here's one example at 0:22 but ...
28
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3answers
5k 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?
14
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1answer
977 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 ...
4
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1answer
140 views

Ellington's Mood Indigo: clarinet voiced below trombone “never heard before”?

I'm writing a paper on the song 'Mood Indigo' by Duke Ellington, from 1930. It is known for its achingly beautiful sound, which is achieved via three-part harmony of trumpet, trombone, and clarinet. ...
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1answer
160 views

What did Ligeti mean by 'shimmering effect'?

Stephen A. Taylor, Chopin, Pygmies, and Tempo Fugue: Ligeti's "Automne a Varsovie", Vol 3.3., Online Journal of the Society for Music Theory. I looked up 'shimmering' on ODO. David Bruce explains ...
6
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1answer
122 views

What are the differences between different marching music traditions?

I've often heard of people talking about "prussian marches" or "british marches" in the context of a style of march. It seems that they could tell just by hearing a march as to what tradition it's ...
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2answers
405 views

Is it true that Bach had no concept of suspended chord?

In an answer to a question in SE I read the sentence with the pretension above. Chord in the Bach d-minor prelude I think this can be easily be counter-proofed by many examples of Bach’s music and ...
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2answers
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Is it possible that Beethoven (after turning deaf) “heard” all of his symphonies in a different key? [closed]

According to this article on cmuse.org, Even though Mozart is the only Western musician and composer who was explicitly acknowledged as having perfect pitch, Bach, Händel, Chopin and Beethoven are ...
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3answers
161 views

Is there a chord containing an augmented and diminished fifth?

What chord is this? There’s a chord progression often used at the beginning of a new phrase (chorus or interlude) leading from I6 to the ii: In C-major this would be: Starting: E-G-(C) ...
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2answers
329 views

Are there historical references that show that “diatonic” is a version of 'di-tonic' meaning 'two tonics'?

Wikipedia says that "diatonic" refers to a whole note scale or a scale with seven pitched per octave. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatonic_and_chromatic But my take is that the major and minor ...
2
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1answer
237 views

Did Bach use a pendulum clock as a metronome?

The reason I ask is because I have heard say that tempo ordinario is something like 60 bpm. Is it much of a stretch to assume Bach and his contemporaries could have used pendulum clocks as metronomes (...
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2answers
281 views

How did Rameau's Treatise on Harmony (1722) influence the mass production of musical instruments?

Rameau's Treatise on Harmony (1722) initiated a revolution in music theory but in what ways did that translate into popularizing music ... particularly the mass production of musical instruments? ...
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4answers
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Is the tritone (A4 / d5 / DA3 / Dd6) still banned in Roman Catholic music?

The tritone is one of the most dissonant intervals in music. It is also known as the "Augmented 4th", "Diminished 5th", "Doubly Augmented 3rd" or "Doubly Diminished 6th", and it is composed of three ...
9
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4answers
2k views

Why is ra lower than re while la is higher than le?

According to Wikipedia and this answer, the solfège syllables for 2 and ♭2 are re and ra, respectively, while the solfège syllables for 6 and ♭6 are la and le, respectively. Is there a reason for this ...
10
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2answers
213 views

Notation of triplets in Bach’s *Orgelbüchlein*

In the following piece from J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein, the nearly constant triplet line seems to be incorrect: The time signature is 3/2, but there are 9 eighth-note triplets per measure rather than ...
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3answers
316 views

When was the Ionian scale invented?

The Ionian scale is the major scale, which is one of the two most commonly used scales. (As the remaining five are rare compared to) It is far the most commonly known, and it is being even used in ...
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1answer
108 views

Who did introduce the mediant keys in to music harmony progression?

Which composer(s) introduced as the first time mediant chords and mediant keys in their compositions - or in which period the use of this kind of modulation was coming up?
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2answers
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who gave the titles to chopin's etudes op.10? [duplicate]

Chopin's etudes op. 10 are all named related to some features and shapes of the compositions. Who gave these names - that may also say something about their performing - to the études? Was it ...
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3answers
401 views

Usage of “to paraphrase” in music

The term paraphrase in music seems quite clearly defined. Right coming from searching another term for the fill-ins, echo-ing, answering in a musical dialog of 2 instruments, a singer and piano or ...
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1answer
220 views

what is a “leitmotif” and by whom has it been introduced into music language?

after debating about Paraphrase in music and whether "paraphrasing" could mind something different I came to the question, that someone has been used the first time the German term of "leitmotif" ...
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1answer
252 views

What does the word “Grand” in a title of a piece of music (by e.g. Beethoven or Chopin) mean?

Chopin wrote four "grandes valses brillantes" (Opera 18, 34) and Beethoven wrote a sonata (Opus 13) that the publisher called a "grande sonate pathétique". What is the sense of the word "grand" in ...
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1answer
111 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 ...
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3answers
245 views

To Slash or not to Slash?

In years gone by, when I saw a chord marked, for example, A, I would use any inversion or voicing I felt was appropriate - still do; it doesn't have to be root position. Or does it? Is there an untold ...
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3answers
86 views

When did Henri Bertini publish his Etudes, Op. 32?

Can anyone say about when Henri Bertini published his Op. 32 of Etudes? IMSLP doesn't turn anything up.
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4answers
1k views

Why is Debussy's Clair de Lune not considered a nocturne?

Leaving the title of the piece aside, it sounds evocative of the night, though compared to what I've listened to from Chopin's nocturnes for example, it sounds more descriptive than contemplative. Is ...
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4answers
208 views

What exactly is a Christmas carol?

I looked up differences between Christmas carols and other Christmas songs. Generally about carols being about nativity or some other traditional songs not necessary religious while other Christmas ...
10
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1answer
121 views

When did the practice of exiting-reentering during applause in classical concerts start?

As the title suggests, I'm looking for some information on when the practice (concerning soloists and directors) of exiting and reentering the stage during an applause after a classical performance ...
8
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1answer
506 views

How do people measure which tuning freqency were used during Baroque period?

In a website decribing the story of A=415Hz, it points out that In the Baroque Era, pitch levels as high as A-465 (17th century Venice) and as low as A-392 (18th century France) are known to ...
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3answers
593 views

A pianist that used a wooden spacer/tool to artificially increase the length of their fingers

I've once heard a story about a pianist of the past who wrote a music piece that critics told him was impossible to play - the length of any person's fingers wouldn't be sufficient. But he used some ...
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2answers
217 views

Why are key signatures put in a circle?

Why are key signatures arranged in a circle like it is today, why not a triangle... or a square? Who came up with the idea to arrange the key signatures in a circle?
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2answers
2k views

Why are some Beethoven works given names like WoO 40 or Hess 238?

Why is it called WoO 40 or Hess 238? These are names of Beethoven's symphonies. They have peculiar names.
8
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1answer
626 views

Is this entire movement by Bach really only a single measure with just two chords?

I'm spending a lot more time with early music, and as I was studying the score to J. S. Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto, I encountered something unexpected: an entire Adagio movement that's only one ...
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6answers
1k views

What Constitutes Theory?

There are many questions here concerning theory. Hardly surprising given the site's title! What I'm trying to establish is where theory starts and possibly ends. For example, is just knowing a major ...
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2answers
341 views

When was the dominant ninth chord incorporated in music theory?

The "ninth chord" that Rameau, Kirnberger, Marpurg or Koch (inter alia) discuss during the 18th century is the chord formed by a triad and an added ninth, and its explanation is always through a "...
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3answers
190 views

What is the generic term for Allegri's Miserere-like music?

What is the word/adjective that could describe music pieces similar to Allegri's "Miserere" or Henry Ley's "A Prayer of King Henry VI"? This music appears to be be sung a capella, with a four-voice ...
5
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3answers
522 views

Need help understanding the difference between diatonic and chromatic semitones

I am writing an essay on musical temperaments for which I was doing some research on the history of tuning and how it evolved over time. I understand the Pythagorean tuning system quite well now but I ...
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3answers
288 views

What is the historically informed way of playing the 1/16 notes in Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 overture?

Handel's Water Music suite no. 1 starts with a slow overture with 1/16 notes at the middle and end of each measure: Some performances play it "as written" [Koopman], but some play the 1/16 notes ...
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1answer
2k views

When were chords invented?

I'd like to know in what period/year chords were invented and by whom. Did musicians like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven think in chords to harmonize their melodies or did chords only emerge in the ...
3
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2answers
186 views

Why aren't notes and intervals plain numbers?

Beginner question: If we were to leave the historical context aside and redesign the system of musical notation: would we base this around the 12 steps we've divided octaves in? What strikes me as ...
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2answers
246 views

Did the rain stick originate independently in multiple continents?

There is a traditional rain stick (percussion instrument) in Africa, Latin America, and I believe in Australia as well. Was it invented separately, or did one culture influence another? Here is a ...
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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
240 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 ...
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3answers
824 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
178 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 ...
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3answers
354 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
96 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,...

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