Music History Timeline

By Ldivine
  • Period: 500 to 1450

    Medieval Period

    The beginning and the ending of the Medieval musical style period
  • 1030

    Guido of Arezzo's "Micrologus"

    Guido of Arezzo's "Micrologus"
    The "Micrologus" (or Little Treatise) introduces the four-line staff, relative pitch, sight-singing syllables, round b (now known as flat), and square b (now known as natural).
  • Period: 1098 to 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen

    The birth and death of Hildegard of Bingen
  • 1323

    Ars Nova Treatise

    Ars Nova Treatise
    The Ars Nova (new art) treatise replaced the Ars Antiqua (old art) by highlighting the creation of prolation, or notation of rhythmic structures.
  • Period: 1450 to

    Renaissance Period

    The beginning and end of the Renaissance musical style period
  • 1485

    Josquin's "Ave Maria...virgo serena" Motet

    Josquin's "Ave Maria...virgo serena" Motet
  • 1529

    Martin Luther's Chorale "Ein feste burg is unser Gott"

  • 1538

    Arcadelt's Madrigal "Il bianco e dolce cigno"

    Arcadelt's Madrigal "Il bianco e dolce cigno"
  • 1560

    Palestrina's "Pope Marcellus Mass"

    The Pope Marcellus Mass was created in honor of Pope Marcellus, and it became a model for counterpoint for many generations. The mass features stepwise melodic motion, dissonances in suspensions that resolve on string beats, and leaps followed by stepwise motion in the opposite direction (know as Palestrina's arch).
  • 1572

    Victoria's "Missa O magnum mysterium"

  • Gabrieli's "Sonata pian'e forte"

    Gabrieli's "Sonata pian'e forte" was performed at the St. Mark's Basilica and it introduces two new concepts to the music world: 1) It is the first piece to indicate which instruments play which part and 2) It is the first piece to use dynamics (hence "forte" being in the title).
  • Period: to

    Baroque Period

    The Baroque period introduced new conventions for organizing music, new genres, dramatic dynamics, and the idea that music should move the listener. Famous composers from this time period include Vivaldi and Bach.
  • Monteverdi's "L'Orfeo"

    Monteverdi's "L'Orfeo"
    "L'Orfeo" (Orpheus) was the first opera to enter the standard repertory. The opera was commissioned by the Duke of Mantua, and although it was performed in 1607, it was not published until 1609.
  • First Public concerts in England

    For the first time, music was now accessible to anyone who could afford to purchase a ticket instead of music only being available for nobility and the church.
  • Period: to

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    The birth and death of Johann Sebastian Bach.
  • Antonio Vivaldi's "L'Estro Armico"

    Antonio Vivaldi's "L'Estro Armico"
    "L'Estro Armico" was the most influential publication of the early 18th century and is the reason the Italian concerto became popular across Europe.
  • Rameau's "Traité de l'harmonie"

    Rameau's "Traité de l'harmonie"
    "Traité de l'harmonie" (Treatise on Harmon) is one of the most influential theoretical works of all time and it became the basis for teaching functional harmony.
  • J.S Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" Volume 1

    J.S Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" Volume 1
    "The Well-Tempered Clavier" is a collection of 24 preludes and fugues, each of them played in one of the major and minor keys. The collection demonstrated playing in all keys on an instrument tuned in near-equal temperament.
  • Period: to

    PreClassical Period

    The PreClassical period coexisted with the late Baroque, mixing the new styles with the older Baroque style. There are two main styles of in the Preclassical period: Galant and Emptindsam style.
  • Period: to

    Franz Joseph Haydn

    The birth and death of Franz Joesph Haydn.
  • Handel's "Messiah"

    Handel's "Messiah"
    "Messiah" is not a story but a series of Christain ideals based on the prophecies of a messiah to the resurrection. The work premiered in 1742 in Dublin.
  • Period: to

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The birth and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Period: to

    Viennese Classical Period

    The Viennese Classical Period was named after Vienne, the music capital of Western Europe at the time. The music of this period represented restrained emotions and focused on clarity and symmetry.
  • Period: to

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

    Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, conductor and virtuoso violinist, conducted the Concert des Amateurs, which was one of the most popular orchestras at the time. The Concert des Amateurs premiered new and unpublished music.
  • Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

    Mozart's "Don Giovanni"
    "Don Giovanni" is a dramma giocoso based off of the legend of Don Juan, an infamous playboy who was known for having many lovers.
  • Haydn's Symphony No. 94 ("Surprise")

    Haydn's Symphony No. 94 ("Surprise")
    The "Surprise" symphony is one of Haydn's most popular works and it premiered in London in 1791.
  • Beethoven Symphony No.5 in C minor

    Beethoven Symphony No.5 in C minor
    Beethoven's Symphony No.5 in C minor is one of the most well-known Beethoven pieces in history; its four-note motif can be easily identified by anyone. Many scholars interpreted the four-note motif as "fate knocking at the door", indicating the decline in Beethoven's hearing. The symphony was also used in WWII since the 'short-short-short-long' motif spells the letter 'V' in morse code, representing 'Victory'.
  • Schubert Erlkönig

    Schubert Erlkönig
    Schubert's Erlkönig is one of Schubert's 600 lieders, and it is based on one of the texts by JW Goethe. The story is about a father and his son riding through the woods trying to escape from the Erlking, a spirit that steals the souls of children in the forest. Schubert's Erlkonig was the first song that Schubert tried to get published, but when it was rejected, the publisher sent it back to the wrong Franz Schubert.
  • Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia

    Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia
    Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) is an opera buffa, or comedic opera, containing a patter aria. The Barber of Seville is an opera about a barber named Figaro who assists a Count in courting Rosina.
  • Nicolo Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin, Op.1

    Nicolo Paganini 24 Caprices for Violin, Op.1
    Nicolo Paganini's 24 Caprices for violin is famous (or infamous, depending on how one perceives it) for being extremely difficult, even for professional violinists. Paganini specifically dedicated the Caprices to professional musicians.
  • Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

    Berlioz Symphonie fantastique
    Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, or "Episodes in an Artist’s Life", is the one of the first programmatic symphonies, meaning that Syphonie fantastique tells a story rather than being music just to be music. It was inspired by an actress Berlioz married and then latter divorced.
  • Period: to

    Frederic Chopin Mazurkas Op.7

    Frederic Chopin composed 57 Mazurkas to pay homage to the Polish folk dance, Mazurkas Op. 7 being the most popular. While he based the triple meter and dotted rhythms off of traditional mazurkas, Chopin also added his own classical influences to his work.
  • Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel Das Jahr

    Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel Das Jahr
    Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel's Das Jahr (The Year) is a cycle of twelve piano pieces each representing a month of the year plus a postlude. Das Jahr is one of the most famous piano suites of the romantic era and is used frequently in piano repertoire. The piano cycle is an example of program music, where each piece (or month) tells a story with music.
  • Period: to

    Louis Moreau Gottschalk Souvenir de Porto Rico

    Gottschalk’s Souvenir de Porto Rico is a piano piece with a theme based on the Puerto Rican song “Si me dan pasteles, les denmelos calientes”. Gottschalk composed the piece while he lived in the Caribbean, and it was inspired by the wandering bands that would play on Christmas Eve.
  • Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

    Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition
    Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a piano suite made in remembrance of Russian artist Vicktor Hartmann. It is Mussorgsky's most famous piano work and it combines Western and Russian musical elements.
  • Bizet Carmen

    Bizet Carmen
    Bizet's Carmen is a popular opera comique that tells the story of a soldier who was seduced by Carmen, a fiery and flirtatious woman. The opera is most well known for the aria 'Habanera', which introduces Carmen as the main character. The opera also depicts Western culture's fascination with the exoticism of foreign cultures.
  • Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen

    Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen
    Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of Nibelung) is a cycle of opera dramas based on greek dramas. The second drama of Der Ring des Nibelungen is Die Walkure, which is most well known for "Ride of the Valkyries". The piece is so popular that the image of opera is depicted as a valkyrie wearing a horned helmet.
  • Brahms' Symphony No.4

    Brahms' Symphony No.4
    Symphony No.4 is the last of Brahm's symphonies, and it is considered Brahm's greatest work, being an overwhelming success on the night of its premiere. The symphony contains many influences from baroque music, specifically Bach's Cantatas, and Beethoven's works.
  • Mahler Symphony No.1

    Mahler Symphony No.1
    Mahler's first symphony contains many references to his previous works, most notably from his "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen", and it serves as a symphonic poem. Mahler wanted his symphonies to depict world experiences and emotion, not unlike Beethoven's symphonies. Symphony No. 1 is considered programmatic despite the story of the symphony not being as concrete as Lizst's or Berlioz's works.
  • Claude Debussy “Voiles” from Préludes Book 1

    Claude Debussy “Voiles” from Préludes Book 1
  • Arnold Schönberg "Pierrot Lunaire"

    Arnold Schönberg "Pierrot Lunaire"
  • Igor Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring" (premiere)

    Igor Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring" (premiere)
  • Manuel de Falla "Homenaje (Homage)"

    Manuel de Falla "Homenaje (Homage)"
  • George and Ira Gershwin “I Got Rhythm”

    George and Ira Gershwin “I Got Rhythm”
  • Margaret Bonds “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”

    Margaret Bonds “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
  • Dimitri Shostakovich Symphony No.5 (premiere)

    Dimitri Shostakovich Symphony No.5 (premiere)
  • Duke Ellington "Cottontail"

    Duke Ellington "Cottontail"
  • Aaron Copland "Appalachian Spring"

    Aaron Copland "Appalachian Spring"
  • John Cage "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano"

    John Cage "Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano"
  • Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"

    Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"
  • George Crumb "Ancient Voices of Children"

    George Crumb "Ancient Voices of Children"
  • John Adams "Short Ride in a Fast Machine"

    John Adams "Short Ride in a Fast Machine"