History of Music Timeline

  • Period: 500 to 1450

    Medieval Period

    The great innovation in music during the Medieval Period was notation. Monks would notate the masses that were to be used during church. Notation opened the door for composers as well, such as Hildegard of Bingen and Guido of Arezzo. Secular music was also popular with groups such as the Troubadours and the Trobairitz. Polyphony was also introduced during this period allowing for more complex music to be composed. Other composers that mark this period include Machaut and Francesco Landini.
  • 1030

    Guido of Arrezo's Micrologus

    Innovated the 4-Line Staff. Guido of Arezzo is also famous for developing the "Guidonian Hand" to help assist performers.
  • Period: 1098 to 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen

    Composed many popular pieces during her life including "O viridissima virga." She would write poetry about science and healing, then compose her own melodies to sing the poems to. She calimed to have visions that were authenticated by the Pope.
  • 1323

    Ars Nova Treatise

    Innovated time and prolation.
  • Period: 1450 to

    Renaissance Period

    The Renaissance Period is when music many major steps towards the modern music we know today. Theories at the time were adjusted to include thirds and sixths. SATB format became much more common place. Music began to be printed and sold as a commodity. Composers also began composing for amateur's. Instrumental music during this time surged in popularity as well. Notable composers of this period include Josquin, Arcadelt, Gesualdo, Gabrielli, Palestrina, and Victoria.
  • 1485

    Josquin's Ave maria ...virgo serena

    This piece is often described as the "mona lisa" of renaissance music.
  • 1529

    Martin Luther Chorale Ein feste burg (A Mighty Fortress is our God)

  • 1538

    Arcadelt Madrigal Il bianco e dolce cigno

    Martin Luther's most famous chorale, this piece became an anthem of the Protestant Reformation.
  • 1567

    Palestrina Pope Marcellus Mass

    According to legend, Palestrina dedicated this piece to the Pope to demostrate that sacred words could be intelligible in polyphonic music with six voices.
    Innovated: The Palestrina Counterpoint, along with rules for dissonance such as resolving dissonance on strong beats, allowing dissonance between beats if the moving voice is doing so in stepwise fashion or as a suspension, and most leaps are followed by stepwise motion in the opposite direction resulting in a "Palestrina Arch."
  • Victoria Missa O magnum mysterium

    A parody mass based on his own motet "O magnum mysterium."
  • Gabrieli Sonata pian’e forte

    Written at St Mark's Basilica.
    First piece to notate specific instruments as well as the first to notate specific dynamics.