History of Music (Baroque-20th Century)

  • Fiori Musicale Published

    [Baroque; music] "Fiori Musicale," or Musical Flowers, was an organ mass published by composer Frescobaldi in 1635.
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  • Stradivarius Violin Made

    [Baroque, Music] The first Stradivarius Violin was made by instrument maker Antonio Stradivari in 1666. No one knows if this was the first violin made by Stradivari, but it was the earliest violin labeled by him. A Stradivarius was made out of the highest quality wood, making it have the best sound possible,
  • Royal Academy of Music Founded

    [Baroque; music] The Royal Academy of Music was founded in Paris in 1669. It was paid for by a grant from Louis XIV.
  • First Public Concert Advertised

    [Baroque; Music] In December of 1672, the first public concert was advertised in the London Gazette.
  • Te Deum Composed

    [Baroque; music] This is a grand motet piece written by Lully. It is in Latin, and has very little text. It would typically be sung at the end of the Mass on Sundays and feast days during the Baroque period.
  • First Opera House Opens

    [Baroque; music] The first opera house opens in Hamburg, Germany in 1678. The first work performed there was "Adam and Eve" by Theile.
  • "Trio Sonata" Composed

    [Baroque; music] "Trio Sonata," a sonata de cheisa, or church sonata, was composed by Corelli in the 1680s. It is written for strings and continuo, and often uses stretto, or imitation in close succession.
  • Armide Composed

    [Baroque; music] Armide is a French opera written by Lully. It is about an enchantress (Armide) that falls in love with a man (Renaud). Armide has captured different men in the past and held them captive. Renaud has released her captives, and Armide becomes very angry. She plans to kill him, but she cannot bring herself to do it, because she loves him.
  • CPE Bach Born

    [Classical; Music] CPE Bach was a son of JS Bach, the famous Baroque composer. CPE Bach composed many different types of classical, "sensitive" music, from oratorio to flute sonatas. He even was a harpsichord player for Fredrick II, and eventually became a music director in Hamburg.
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck Born

    [Classical; Music] Gluck was a German classical composer that reformed opera, by trying to make the production less about the singers and more about the story itself. One of his most famous operas is "Orfeo ed Euridice," an opera based on the myth of Orpheus.
  • "Chorale Prelude on Durch Adams Fall" Composed

    [Baroque; music] This is a piece for organ written by JS Bach. This piece was designed to be played at church before the congregation sang, to introduce the tune of a hymn or chorale. It is performed on organ and is in bar form (AAB). At the ends of phrases, there are long fermatas to mark the cadences. The song is about the fall of Adam, the man who ate the forbidden fruit in the Bible. The large leaps in the pedal part are representative of Adam’s fall from grace.
  • Poor Richard's Almanac Published

    [Classical; History] Poor RIchard's Almanac, a book providing different proverbs and advice, was published on December 19, 1732 by Ben Franklin.
  • Johann Christian Bach Born

    [Classical; Music] Johann Christian Bach was JS Bach's youngest son, who was a German composer and organist. He converted to Catholicism in his 20's, which was not approved of by his family. He was known for writing operas, cantatas, and different types of chamber music, just to name a few things.
  • Alaska Dicovered

    [Classical; History] Danish explorer Captain Vitus Bering discovers Alaska in 1740.
  • Handel's Messiah Composed

    [Baroque; music] Messiah, a popular orotorio by Handel, was composed in 1742. It is still very popular today, and features the well-known "Halleluiah Chorus."
  • "Encyclopedie" Published

    [Classical; History] Encyclopedie was a French encyclopedia published by Denis Diderot. It is a symbol of the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement of the time.
  • Mozart Born

    [Classical; Music] Mozart was an Austrian composer who was a child piano prodigy. He travelled all over Europe with his father, performing for audiences. He grew up to write some of the most influential classical music ever, such as "Symphony No 40 in G Minor" and "Piano Concerto in A Major."
  • 7 Years War Begins

    [Classical; History] The 7 Years War was a European battle over territory and power that lasted 7 years. American involvement in the war is sometimes called the "French and Indian War."
  • King George III is Crowned

    [Classical; History] Under the direction of King George III, Great Brittain obtained power after the 7 Years War. However, not long after, King George III lost the Revolutionary War to the Americans. King George was said to suffer with bouts of madness, specifically porphyria.
  • "Chester" composed

    [Classical, Music] William Billings was one of the first American-born, published composers in the USA. His "The New England Psalm Singer" was his first publication (the first collection every published by an indigenous composer). Billings was a huge supporter of the American Revolution. This is reflected in his music, especially “Chester.” “Chester,” much like the music of the time, incorporates periodic phrase structure (includes 2 antecedent and 2 consequent phrases).
  • Ludwig van Beethoven Born

    [19th C; Music] Beethoven was easily one of the most prolific composers of the 19th century. He was a star pianist when he was younger, a career that was forced upon him by his alcoholic father. When he was a teenager, he studied with Joseph Haydn and began his career as a composer and pianist. Throughout his life, he suffered depression and deafness; despite this, he still made music. One of his most famous works is “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor.”
  • American Revolution Begins

    [Classical; History] The battle between the 13 American colonies and Great Britain began on April 19, 1775 (known as “the shot heard ‘round the world”). The war lasted about 8 years, and the colonies were finally free when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.
  • Declaration of Independence Signed

    [Classical; History] The 13 colonies declared their own independence on July 4, 1776 through the Declaration of Independence, a document written by Thomas Jefferson.
  • Marriage of Figaro Written

    [Classical; Music] Mozart wrote his opera, "The Marriage of Figaro," when he was just 30. It is one of the very first examples of opera buffa, or comic opera. The genre still uses arias, recitatives, choruses, and ensembles, but deals with believable, relatable characters (Bonds 216).
  • "Piano Concerto in A Major K488" Written

    [Classical; Music] This piece is a piano concerto written by Mozart. It follows double exposition form, similar to sonata form but including an exposition for the orchestra alone, and a cadenza section for the soloist. A cadenza is where the soloist improvises a long section by his or herself. Mozart would have written this work for a fortepiano, the predecessor to the modern piano.
  • "Symphony No 40 in G Minor" Written

    [Classical; Music] Mozart wrote this symphony in Vienna. It is organized in typical sonata form, but concludes with a brief ending section known as the "coda," or tail. The piece explores different tonality throughout, and is still played around the world today.
  • French Revolution Begins

    [Classical; History] Inspired by the American Revolution, French peasants (making up 97% of their country) rebelled against the wealthy. Churches were destroyed, and monks, nuns, and rich people were all killed at the delight of the poor.
  • Constitution Goes Into Effect

    [Classical; History] The Constitution is a set of laws and rights that Americans live by. It was originally written by the “framers,” a group of men that included Ben Franklin, James Madison, and George Washington, to name a few. Over time, the Constitution has been changed to fit our needs and development as a country.
  • Cotton Gin Invented

    [Classical; History] The cotton gin, a machine that separated cotton from its seeds, was invented by Eli Whitney in 1793. Cotton products could now be made much faster and more efficiently than in the past.
  • "Symphony No 102 in Bb Major" Written

    [Classical; Music] This piece was written by Haydn in 1795 for a concert in London. Audiences loved the piece; it seemed to reflect the ideas of the time, such as the aftermath of the French Revolution and the "liberty and equality" of the people (Bonds 187).
  • String Quartet in C Written (Haydn)

    [Classical; Music] Franz Joseph Haydn (known as Joseph Haydn) was one of the biggest names in music in the Classical era. He wrote different types of music, including symphonies, oratorios, choral music, chamber music, and concertos. One of Haydn’s most well known pieces is this string quartet piece. This piece is one of the standard classical works for a string quartet, which includes 2 violins, a viola, and a cello.It was originally written for Franz II’s birthday!
  • Franz Schubert Born

    [19th C; Music] Schubert mostly composed for the voice and piano. Although he only lived until he was 32, he wrote enough music to fill 37 CD’s! A lot of his music was inspired by literature; one of his most famous works in “Erlkonig,” a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
  • Robert Schumann Born

    [19th C; Music] Schumann was an avid reader of poetry, and often set that poetry to music. Although he composed many great pieces, he began to "show signs of mental instability in 1853 and attemped suicide in 1854" (Bonds WB4-2). Schumann died in a mental institution in 1856.
  • Frederic Chopin Born

    [19th C; Music] Chopin was a Polish pianist and composer. He was very patriotic and it was rumored that when he left Poland, he would carry some Polish soil in his pocket. Most of his compositions involved the piano, but he did write one cello sonata.
  • Napoleon Defeated at Waterloo

    [19th C; History] Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington in 1815. This brought an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French.
  • Erie Canal Opens

    [19th C; History] The Erie Canal, a waterway connecting Lake Erie to the Hudson River, was completed on October 26, 1825.
  • "Symphonie Fantasique" Composed

    [19th C; Music] This piece, written by Hector Berlioz, is one of the greatest examples of program music, or music that is written to represent an event, idea, or story. In this case, it is about a dream that changes from lovely to nightmarish. Berlioz's orchestration was like anything anyone had seen before, featuring both the brass and percussion sections.
  • Telegraph is Invented

    [19th C; History] The telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in 1837. People could now send messages using Morse code over long distances.
  • Antonin Dvorak Born

    [19th C; Music] Dvorak was a Romantic composer from Czechoslovakia. He moved to the US in 1892, and liked to incorporate folk music into his writings. This is particularly visible in "New World Symphony," one of his most famous works that includes pentatonic melodies, inspired by Native American music.
  • "Piano Trio in D Minor" Composed

    [19th C; Music] Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was the sister of Felix Mendelssohn, also a famous composer. One of her most famous compositions was "Piano Trio in D Minor," written for an ensemble of piano, violin, and cello. The third movement is entitled "Lied," or song. It was a difficult life for Fanny as a composer. Not only was she female, but she often referred to as "Felix's sister." Although she seemed to live in her brother's shadow, the two remained close until her death in 1847.
  • "The Communinist Manifesto" is Published

    [19th C; History] "The Communist Manifesto," a political document explaining Communism and its effects, was published by Fredrich Engles and Karl Marx in 1848.
  • "Forward!" Written

    [19th C; Music] "Forward!" is a political, nationalist piece written by Clara Schumann as a gift to her husband. It is a poem, written by Emanuel Geibel, set to music by Clara Schumann. It is for an a cappella (no accompaniment) choir, and reflects the views of the Germans who were in favor of a unified Germany.
  • La Traviata Composed

    [19th C; Music] La Traviata is an opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi. It is about a prostitute who falls in love with a man she met at a party. It is reflective of Verdi's own life, having lived with a woman that he was not married to. The music in La Traviata is very advanced and virtuosic, especially the role of Violetta, the soprano prostitute.
  • The Valkyrie Written

    [19th C; Music] Richard Wagner was one of the most controversial and prolific composers of his time. Unlike his predecessors, Wagner did not waste time using repetition in his opera music. It was very syllabic and straightforward. The orchestra was also as important as the singers. The Valkyrie, an opera by Wagner, includes leitmotifs throughout, or musical ideas that represent a character or action.
  • "On the Origin of Species" is Published

    [19th C; History] Charles Darwin, an English scientist and researcher, published his theory on natural selection in 1859.
  • Civil War Begins

    [19th C; History] The Civil War between the Northern and Southern United States began in 1861.
  • Claude Debussy Born

    [20th C; Music] Debussy was a 20th Century French composer who is mostly known for his piano compositions. Some of his most famous pieces include "Clair de Lune," "Voiles," and "Mazurka." His music reflects the Impressionist movement, which focuses on sensations and perception rather than direct represtation.
  • Scott Joplin Born

    [20th C; Music] Joplin is known as the "King of Ragtime." One of his most famous pieces is "Maple Leaf Rag." Although he was very popular for ragtime, he wanted to known for classical music, too. He was not very successful. He tried to compose an opera, but it was not staged before he died.
  • Transcontinental Railroad Completed

    [19th C; History] The first non-stop, east to west, transcontinential railroad was finished in 1869.
  • Germany is Unified

    [19th C; History] Germany was unified in January of 1871 by Otto Von Bismarck.
  • Phonograph Invented

    [19th C; History] The phonograph, the first sound-reproducing machine, was invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison.
  • Incandescent Lightbulb Invented

    [19th C; History] The first incandescent lightbulb was invented and developed by Thomas Edison in 1879.
  • First Flight

    [20th C; History] The first flight took place at Kitty Hawk, NC by the Wright Brothers in 1903.
  • "The Unanswered Question" Composed

    [20th C; Music] "The Unanswered Question" was a piece for strings, solo trumpet, and wind quartet written by Charles Ives, an insurance salesman and composer. It is atonal, meaning that there is no tonal center throughout the entire piece. Incredibly, the piece was not performed until 1946, almost 40 years after Ives wrote it!
  • Model T Invented

    [20th C; History] The first automobile, the Model T, was invented in 1908 by Henry Ford.
  • John Cage Born

    [20th C; Music] John Cage was a composer of unconventional music. He was largely influenced by Zen Buddhism, which shows in his music. One of his most famous works is entitled 4'33", which is where the performer does nothing but sit in silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. His "Indeterminacy" is an aleatoric piece in which there is a narration and a musician playing whatever they would choose. The recording has the musician playing an amplified slinky! This is known as musique concrete.
  • WWI Begins

    [20th C; History] World War I, was a major war fought between the Central Powers and the Allies from 1914 to 1918.
  • Women Given Right to Vote in America

    [20th C; History] The 19th Amendment, women's sufferage, gave women the right to vote in 1920.
  • Rhapsody in Blue Composed

    [20th C, music] "Rhapsody in Blue" is a piece for piano and jazz band written by George Gershwin. It is one of the first pieces to combine elements of classical snd jazz music. It is still very popular today, and is used in movies, commericials, and on television.
  • Stock Market Crashes

    [20th C; History] The stock market crash of 1929 is also known as Black Tuesday. It was the very beginning of the Great Depression.
  • WWII Begins

    [20th C; History] World War II was a major war fought between the Axis Powers and the Allies from 1939 to 1945.
  • "Cotton Tail" Composed

    [20th C; Music] "Cotton Tail" is a swing tune written by Duke Ellington. It’s a jazz piece that utilized the chord changes for “I Got Rhythm,” a jazz standard by George Gershwin, just with a different melody. Ellington employed very tight voicings, which means that instead of spreading notes out across numerous octaves, they are played very close together. Swing music, like "Cotton Tail," is music meant for dancing.
  • "Hoe-Down" Composed

    [20th C; Music] Aaron Copland wrote "Hoe-Down," part of the ballet Rodeo, about the American Midwest. Copland captured this by using folk music. He also featured pecussion instruments, such as the woodblock and xylophone. "Hoe-Down" is still used today in commercials, songs, and even at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics!
  • "Ornithology" Composed

    [20th C; Music] This piece is a bebop piece, a jazz style that emphasizes virtuosity, irregular rhythms, and fast tempos. “Ornthiology” is played by a jazz combo, or a small chamber group consisting of 5 to 7 players. The head, or main melody, of the tune “comes from a solo that Charlie Parker, [an extremely prolific jazz saxophonist], improvised four years before on a recording called ‘The Jumpin’ Blues.’
  • US Schools are Desegregated

    [20th C; History] Public schools were no longer seperated by color after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education.
  • West Side Story Premieres

    [20th C; Music] Leonard Bernstein was an American conductor, composer, pianist, and educator. One of his most famous musicals was West Side Story, which featured unconventional harmonies and touched on tough topics such as gangs and rascism. Nonetheless, the musical was widely accpted and is still performed today.
  • Einstein on the Beach Composed

    [20th C; Music] Einstein on the Beach is an opera with no plot by Philip Glass. There are just several images recurring throughout the performance, such as a train, trial, a spaceship, and a character who looks like Einstein playing the violin. “Knee Play 1” is an interlude in between acts of the opera, and “the term is adapted from the joining function of the human knee” (Bonds 461). Glass mentioned that it is not about what the story means, it’s about what the story means to the audience.
  • World Wide Web Invented

    [20th C, History] Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, what is now known as the Internet.
  • Berlin Wall Falls

    [20th C; History] Germany was no longer seprated as East and West Germany (a consequence of WWII) after the Berlin Wall fell.
  • iPod Invented

    [20th C; History] The iPod was invented by the Apple company in 2001, and was the very first "portable jukebox."