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Midterm Medieval and Renaissance Project

  • Period: 500 to 1450

    The Medieval Period

    This is the period in which modern music notation and the bases for music theory begin to take hold in Europe, both of which evolved from earlier Greek influence.
  • 1030


    Written by Benedictine monk Guido of Arezzo (c.990-1050), this treatise on Gregorian chant is an important work which developed the concepts of: the four-line staff, relative pitch, sight singing syllables (Solfège), and the distinction between the Round b (flat) and the Square B (natural).
  • Period: 1098 to 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen

    Hildegard was sought after for his counsel and prophecies by nobility and clergymen across Europe. He wrote poems which he later set to original chant melodies that he claimed to have divined.
  • 1323

    Ars Nova Treatise

    This treatise, named the “New Art” treatise in its native French, ushered in a new era of western music, as it establishes time and prolation standards. The treatise outlines “perfect” (triple metre) and “imperferct” (duple metre) time and “perfect” (major) and “imperfect” (minor) prolation.
  • Period: 1450 to

    The Renaissance

    The Renaissance, French for “rebirth”, is a period in which the arts developed and flourished in the West after the one thousand (1,000) year “dark ages” where creativity was stifled due to the Catholic Church's influence.
  • 1485

    Ave Maria... Virgo Serena

    Written by the highly influential French composer Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1521), this work is considered the “Mona Lisa” of Renaissance music due to the mastery of polyphonic writing that Josquin displays.
  • 1529

    Ein feste burg

    This chorale is a popular composition of the theologist and priest Martin Luther. Luther believed that the entirety of the congregation should participate in the singing of worship music and sing in their native German, as opposed to the standard, yet more inaccessible to the common person, Latin. The title translates to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”.
  • 1538

    Il bianco e dolce cigno

    An early Italian madrigal by Arcadelt, the text of the work was sexual in manner, as was the style of day for this type of piece. Arcadelt uses imitative entrances to harp upon the punchline of «mille mort il di» or “one-thousand deaths a day”, referring to the 16th century “little death”, or sexual climax.
  • 1567

    Pope Marcellus Mass

    Written by prominent Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1535-1594), whose compositions are regarded as the gold standard for counterpoint to this day, this mass is, according to legend, credited with swaying the minds of the infamous Council of Trent and saving polyphonic music not only in sacred music, but on the whole.
  • Missa O magnum mysterium

    A parody mass by the Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611), this work is a masterclass in the use of counterpoint in the fashion of Palestrina, whilst also setting itself apart in de Victoria's own style.
  • Sonata pian’e forte

    An unusual work by Italian composer Giovanni Gabrielli, this work was likely written to be played by the resident instrumentalists at St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy. The strange nature of the work lies in the fact that it is the first piece to specify the use of brass instruments and calls for either an alto violin or viola as a soloist.
  • Period: to

    The Baroque Period

  • “L'Orfeo”

    Written by the Italian Composer Claudio Monteverdi, this was the first opera to be admitted to the standard repertoire.
  • First Public Concerts in England

    Prior to this year, most musical concerts were strictly for the entertainment of nobility or the Church. Violinist John Banister is credited with holding the first concerts open to the public in the 1670s in London.
  • Period: to

    Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Period: to

    Viennese Classical Period

  • “L'Estro Amonico”

    A widely beloved set of concerti by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi which set forth European fascination with Italian concerti.
  • “Traité de l'harmonie...”

    A treatise on musical harmony written by the highly influential French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, this work standardised many musical concepts seen as fundamental in the present day, such as: triads, seventh chords, and consonance in opposition to dissonance, as well as using terms such as “tonic”, “dominant”, and “subdominant”.
  • “The Well-Tempered Clavier”

    J. S. Bach's writing of this work is of high importance due to being the first work to demonstrate the playing of all keys on an instrument in nearly equal temperament.
  • Period: to

    Franz Joseph Haydn

  • “Messiah”

    Composed by George Frederic Händel
  • Period: to

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Period: to

    Concerts des Amateurs

    Regarded as one of, if not the finest orchestra in Europe at the time, les Concerts des Amateurs was conducted by influential Franco-African virtuoso violinist and composer le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, or Joseph Boulogne. This orchestra was to premiere many important classical era works, and was able to do such under fully private funding.
  • “Don Giovanni”

    Composed by W.A. Mozart
  • Symphony No. 94, “Surprise”

    Composed by Joseph Haydn for the London concert series.
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor

    The work premiered on December 22, 1808 in Vienna, Austria.
  • Schubert “Erlkönig”

    The popular lied was composed by Franz Schubert at the age of 18 and is based upon a poem by Goethe.
  • Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel “Das Jahr”

  • Rossini “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”

  • Niccolò Paganini “24 Caprices for Violin, op.1”

    The technically important for the violin was originally published in 1820.
  • Period: to

    Frederic Chopin “Mazurkas”, Op.7

    Chopin composed his famous set of mazurkas for
    piano over two decades in the romantic era.
  • Berlioz “Symphonie Fantastique”

    This monumental work was composed by Hector Berlioz as a sort of sensory experience to represent the subsequent “trip” after one has consumed opium, which was a popular drug of the time.
  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk “Souvenir de Porto Rico”

    Gottschalk’s work for piano became quite popular after it's publication and was a premiere piece for ambitious piano students to learn
  • Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition”

    Modest Mussorgsky's original piano composition of this piece came before the now standard orchestral arrangement.
  • Bizet “Carmen”

    Georges Bizet's, now, world renowned opera contains multiple songs that have garnered fame of their own, the most prominent of which being the aria titled “habanera”.
  • Wagner “Der Ring des Nibelungen”

    The highly influential opera cycle by Richard Wagner.
  • Brahms “Symphony No.4”

    The premiere was conducted by Johannes Brahms himself.
  • Mahler “Symphony No.1”

    The piece premiered in Budapest, Hungary under the baton of the composer himself.
  • Debussy, “Voiles” from Préludes Book I

    Published as a tribute to Frédéric (Fredyryk) Chopin on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.
  • Arnold Schönberg “Pierrot Lunaire”

    “Moonstruck Pierrot” (the sad clown).
  • Premiere of “Le Sacre du Printemps”

    The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
  • Manuel de Falla, Homenaje (Homage)

    Written for solo guitar in a collection of works composed in memory of the late Claude Debussy.
  • Margaret Bonds “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”

  • “Ancient Voices of Children” by George Crumb

  • “I Ain't Got Rhythm”

    Written by George and Ira Gershwin
  • Premiere of Symphony No. 5 “Leningrad”, Dimitri Shostakovich

  • Duke Ellington “Cottontail”

  • Aaron Copland “Appalachian Spring” Premiere

    Premiered 1944
  • Sonata No. 5 from “Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano”

    John Cage asks that the piano be fitted with nails and other dampening devices on specific strings to give a certain timbre to various passages.
  • Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”

  • John Adams “Short Ride in a Fast Machine”