History of Music Timeline

  • Period: 500 to 1450

    Medieval Period

    This period is the longest period in all of music history and starts with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and ends with the beginning of the Renaissance period.
  • 1026

    Guido of Arezzo's Micrologus

    This work laid the groundwork for what polyphony would go on to become. For example, melody and rhythm became independent of each other.
  • Period: 1098 to 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen

    Not only was she one of the only composers of her time, but she was also very important. She was known for her music, prophecies, and giving advice to Kings and Popes. Bingen also used original melodies rather than pre-existing, which at the time was unusual.
  • 1320

    Ars Nova Treatise

    This document was written by Philippe de Vitry and featured his innovations about rhythmic notation in "the new music".
  • Period: 1450 to

    Renaissance Period

    The Renaissance Period was known for the development of accidentals, introducing more voices, secular music, and harmony. At the end of this period, the Baroque Period begins.
  • 1529

    Martin Luther Chorale Ein feste burg

    This work translated to "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". This work is so popular that it has been translated into English and other languages several times. The reason why it was so successful was that at the time it increased support for the Reformers and their cause. Eine Feste Burg is also a condensed version of Psalm 46.
  • 1538

    Arcadelt Madrigal Il bianco e dolce cigno

    This work is also one of the more popular madrigals of the 16th century. The reason being is that this work is supposed to replicate the beautiful sound of swans singing before dying.
  • 1567

    Pope Marcellus Mass

    The significance of this mass was that there could be "intelligible" words in polyphonic music with 6 voices. This work also became an example of what future composers should do in terms of counterpoint.
  • Victoria Missa O magnum mysterium

    This work describes the image of the nativity scene at the birth of Jesus with the oxen and donkey next to his crib. The lyrics translate to "that animals should see the newborn Lord, lying in a manger!".
  • Gabrieli Sonata pian’e forte

    Gabrieli composed this work in Venice, Italy. This work is so famous because most renaissance music had no direction of sound, so this concept was very new. The name of this work actually refers to the soft and loud dynamics.
  • Period: to

    Baroque Era

    This era of music is a time when Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi were around. These composers were famous for the new styles of music that they introduced, included the concerto, sonata, and opera.
  • Monteverdi's L’Orfeo

    This opera was written by composer Claudio Monteverdi, it is still famous which shows how popular it has been through the centuries. Back in its time, this opera was revolutionary and it paved the way for many operas after this because of its artistic expression.
  • First Public Concerts in England

    The first of these concerts were in London and were hosted by John Banisters. It seems like he began the tradition of a concert, where you buy a ticket and gain entry to this "public" event.
  • Period: to

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Bach is one of, if not the most profound composers of all of musical history. He laid the groundwork for what has become music as we know it today. Throughout all of history, his works have inspired composers in all different genres of music.
  • Antonio Vivaldi's L’Estro Armonico

    This piece was a set of concertos written for solo violin and string orchestra in Amsterdam. This composition is particularly interesting because of the way it was written. Vivaldi intended for it to be 12 individual concertos with 7 parts within it.
  • Rameau's Traité de l’harmonie

    This treatise was written by Jean-Philippe Rameau in Paris. In its time it was particularly important because it discussed his thoughts on how to write music based on the tonal system. This treatise is still used today in modern classical music.
  • Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier volume 1

    This set of 24 fugues by Bach aimed to show off all 24 major and minor keys. This work was written to be played on the harpsichord, clavichord, and even organ. To this day this set is still performed and taught, which goes to show its importance.
  • Period: to

    Franz Joseph Haydn

    Haydn was one of the most important figures during the classical period. He was known for being the father of the symphony and the string quartet.
  • Handel's Messiah

    This oratorio was written in English by George Frederic Handel. This work was written to be performed as a secular piece for choir and orchestra. The Messiah contained scriptures from King James Bible, the Coverdale Psalter, and other religious texts. Handel's goal of this piece was undoubtedly to show the glory of God through his music.
  • Period: to

    Viennese Classical Period

    During the middle of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, composers began moving to Vienna for the roaring music scene. This one hundred year period became know as the "Viennese Classical Period"
  • Period: to

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Mozart was one of the most, if not the most famous composers in the entire history of music. Although music could have gone on without him he definitely made his mark.
  • Period: to

    Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges as director of Concerts des Amateurs

    Saint-Georges began his time in this orchestra as the concertmaster in 1769. He went on to later become a featured soloist with the orchestra premiering his own 2 violin concertos. In 1773 Chevalier took over the direction of the orchestra as its resident conductor. In 1781 however, the orchestra was discontinued due to lack of funding.
  • Mozart's Don Giovanni

    Mozart was inspired by the legend of Don Juan, who at the time was seen as a famous Spanish man who seduced women. This opera was split up into 2 acts.
  • Haydn's Symphony No. 94 "Surprise

    This symphony was the second symphony composed in Haydn's last 12 symphonies that he wrote during his tine in London.