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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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2
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1answer
356 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 ...
3
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1answer
130 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
939 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
482 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
322 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
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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
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1answer
604 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, ...
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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
398 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
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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
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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
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1answer
182 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 ...
4
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2answers
213 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
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1answer
66 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
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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
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1answer
75 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
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2answers
603 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
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1answer
415 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,...
1
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1answer
254 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
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2answers
90 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.
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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
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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 ...
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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
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1answer
140 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 ...
13
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2answers
684 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
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2answers
238 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
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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
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1answer
445 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
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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
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1answer
352 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
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2answers
194 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
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1answer
89 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 ...
11
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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
188 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
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3answers
248 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
668 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
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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
186 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “Opus” and “Song Cycle”?

What is the difference between "Opus" and "Song Cycle", because "Opus" is a separate composition or a set of compositions. A song cycle is the same, isn't it? Whenever I go to wikipedia for a song, ...
2
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2answers
330 views

What are the earliest examples of chord tones like dominant sevenths and ninths being used?

What are some of the earliest examples of chord tones like dominant sevenths and ninths being used? I am trying to determine how basic harmonic music forms evolved toward forms such as Blues and Jazz.
0
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1answer
234 views

Which school is the school that Claude Debussy studied in?

I am confused about the school that Debussy studied in. I searched on wiki it said Debussy studied in CNSMDP. But in the other website it said Debussy studied in school located in 14 Rue de Madrid, ...
2
votes
1answer
253 views

keyboard instrument with only some of the black keys

I have a vague memory of seeing a photo of an ancient keyboard instrument (a calvichord?) that had only some of the black keys - maybe just B flat and F sharp. Alas, I can't find anything similar now....
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4answers
1k views

How to understand 20th-century pop music as evolution of classical harmony

With sufficient training, a student of harmony may build forwards from Bach through Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etc... understanding music of a period in terms of what has gone before. But it's going ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Origin of the Backbeat

Ok, so I've heard a lot on the origin of the backbeat. Some say it came from African voodoo and others say from the Middle East. Where did it actually come from? Also, people say it was expressly ...
17
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5answers
4k views

Was Bach the first to use thumbs on a keyboard?

This question reminded me of a claim that I've heard before, namely, that J. S. Bach was the first keyboardist to utilize the thumbs in his playing technique. I'm not sure where I've heard this, but ...
0
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1answer
185 views

Why (Occidental) conventional rhythm notation became conventional? [closed]

Human languages evolve and adapt themselves to the needs (phonetics, auditory, contextual) of the users. To what extent has been showed that Occidental music notation followed that path? Is it just ...
1
vote
1answer
398 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 ...
7
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2answers
4k views

Why saxophone is so common in Jazz Music?

Since the invertor of the saxophone was from Belgium, how did the saxophone become so popular in jazz music? I mean, it was created by a European in the 1840's, it wasn't created by Americans at the ...
8
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1answer
3k views

Why are the black keys on some ancient fortepianos now white on modern pianos?

I am wondering what happened in the fortepiano's history that made the keyboard colors switch (why black keys on some ancient pianofortes are now white on modern pianos). Here is a picture of a ...