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
28
votes
4answers
10k 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
votes
1answer
111 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
votes
2answers
467 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
4k 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
votes
1answer
479 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
616 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
votes
1answer
418 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 ...
12
votes
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: ...
10
votes
5answers
4k 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, ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
424 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
votes
1answer
370 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
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
534 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"?
1
vote
2answers
356 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
627 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
417 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
7k views

How did people tune their instruments in the past?

Today we are using electronic tuners and know everything about frequencies but in the past, like before the 16th century, how could people tune their instruments? Did they tune them to specific ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Different approaches to Latin pronunciation in Early Music

I know there are several different ways to pronounce Latin. I think no one sings classical music using Classical Latin pronunciation in which, for instance, "c" is pronounced as /k/. I believe the ...
3
votes
2answers
226 views

Unusual flat symbol?

Etched onto Dmitri Shostakovich's gravestone is his famous "DSCH" motif in musical notation, but I'm perplexed: The flat symbol preceding the E5 is not what I know of to be a flat symbol... What is ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Evolution from scales to series? [closed]

Somebody told me about the evolution of music. He said that until the beginning of the 20th century, composers use scales (with whole and half tones) to create a melody and to create certain moods. ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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.
1
vote
1answer
77 views

How to know you are a good singer [closed]

Please some one help me.I dont have an electronic and no one will listen to me!
0
votes
2answers
677 views

What is the origin behind the 1-1-1/2-1-1-1-1/2 tones intervals in the diatonic scale? [duplicate]

In the diatonic scale of C, the progression is 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1/2 tones. What is the origin behind this progression and why is this made that way and not any other form such as 1-1/2-1-1-1-1-1/2? ...
4
votes
1answer
449 views

When did voice parts start using treble clef?

Parts for soprano, alto and tenor voices used to be written with the corresponding variant of movable C clef. When did the transition to treble (G) clef happen, and what drove the change -- composers,...
4
votes
1answer
283 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, ...
3
votes
2answers
92 views

Wood vs Stone first drum

What was the first drum instrument? Was it wood or stone? Maybe there is an answer out there, but all I found were mere discussions.
7
votes
2answers
1k views

When was the shoulder rest invented?

When was the shoulder rest for violins invented, and when did it come into widespread use?
15
votes
1answer
1k views

At what point in history did the relationship between pitch and frequency become well-known among musicians?

I think I've read that even very ancient cultures were able to discern that an octave difference corresponded to a pipe of twice the length, and so on. But at what point were musicians and composers ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why intervals are not named after distance [duplicate]

I was wondering about the foundations of the way we name intervals. For example, the interval between C and G is a fifth because there are five notes from C to G. But it's a common mistake of the ...
2
votes
1answer
149 views

Is there a school of Medieval-Russian music?

I'm researching music for the SCA, and I'm supposed to be looking for specific music from the Russian (as a culture) area. I have plenty of information on Medieval music as a whole, but I can't find ...
12
votes
2answers
718 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
250 views

When was music theory first studied?

Music has been around for a long time, but how about music theory? What was the first instance of a publication on music theory?
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does “The 12 days of Christmas” change time signature so often?

As you can see from this picture, the song "the 12 days of Christmas changes back and forth between a 3/4 and a 4/4 time signature multiple times every verse. It isn't some sort of contemporary piece ...
4
votes
1answer
462 views

History of piano key naming

Hope this hasn't been asked previously, as it could be piano question no. 1000! The convention that C is the name of the key to the left of two black keys came from somewhere. But where? The '...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Unusual keyboard in a picture

I came across the picture which represents the piano keyboard with equally spaced black keys (as if two missing were added to ordinary keyboard). The picture is a painting by Silvestro Lega, named Il ...
8
votes
1answer
359 views

What is the history of the Augmented Second in World Music

In his book Gypsy Music, Bálint Sárosi states that the Augmented Second --- as found between the second and third, third and fourth, sixth and seventh in a lot of Gypsy as well as Indian and Middle ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

Hindustani music: Evolution of instruments

So, I was thinking about the evolution of instruments in Indian classical (Hindustani, to be precise). We know Sa and Pa are achala swaras, and don't have any tivra or komal forms. Sa and Pa form the ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Tuning and the aria, Hell's Vengeance, was the triple F lower?

In the famous aria from The Magic Flute, Hell's Vengeance sung by the Queen of the Night, there is a notoriously high triple F (Fa5). I have heard that in Mozart's time the note was sung lower than ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Where did the symbols ♭ and ♯ originate from, and why those?

We're all used to flat and sharp signs, also naturals. Accidentals in some cases. But why those unusual signs? I suspect the ♭ may have something to do with the German B, but the ♯ sign? Something to ...
8
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
250 views

What is the earliest instance of a composer/theorist publishing an analysis of his/her own music?

In the final chapter of his Harmonielehre, Arnold Schoenberg analyzes a brief passage from his own compositional output. (You can find it here, on written page 418 [page 432 of the PDF].) I'm looking ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Liszt change/add so much to his piano transcription of Danse Macabre?

I'm interested to hear if anything is known about the reasons why Liszt decided to introduce some pretty significant changes/additions to the piano transcription of Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-...
3
votes
1answer
720 views

The development of the musical staff: If and when did it have fifteen lines?

I am doing research on music history and I cannot find information between the four line chant staff and the grand staff. Also, I do believe that at different times in its development the staff ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Has opera traditionally been enjoyed by aristocracy only or the masses too?

I was reading A History of Opera by Abbate and Parker. On page 19, they say And although its financial basis has gradually broadened...opera in its primary form, theatrical form has typically been ...
3
votes
1answer
193 views

Why do keyboards have the current configuration, based on Do scale?

As a kid I always wondered why there was a missing key between Fa and Mi in piano keyboards. Later I learned the reason. There is only a semi-tone distance between this two notes and therefor no in ...

1 2 3 4 5 7