Welcome back to Treble Clef Tuesday! Last week I took an unexpected detour to talk about the music of one of my favorite Disney movies (Jungle Book). So this week, I shall begin talking about the history of Western music, or what many people simply call, “classical music”, though that term is not precisely accurate in describing this kind of music. We’ll get into that a little later. There are basically six eras involving Western music and classical is one of those eras, occurring around 1750 through 1810. The earliest period in Western music, simply called the “Early period”, occurs between the years 400 through 1420 roughly; a millennium stretch, give or take about 20 years. And though music has probably been around for as long as time has existed, some of the earliest known types of music were mostly heard in churches or monasteries in the form of chanting. This chanting was referred to as “plainsong” or “plainchant” and was derived from the chanting that the Bible often refers to, which was in Hebrew. The Greeks can also be credited for bringing forth the early forms of music as they developed the first system of the scales, which helped form melodies while singing. Later, people who sung in such a way, soon discovered that while singing in choirs, they could sing more than one line or verse of melody at the same time, thus forming what we call harmony and rhythm. You might even say that this is the earliest form of “counterpoint”, a technique that Johann Sebastian Bach would use must later.
With these three basic elements of music in play, so to speak, it allowed the rise of Western music and is the base for much of the traditional music that we listen to today.
You all have probably heard of the “Gregorian Chant” at some point, in music class or some other venue. It was named after Pope Gregory I who reigned from about 590 to 604 in the Catholic church in Rome. It is the best known liturgy, or worship music to this day and was the official music in many western churches.
And there you have it friends. Now each week (unless I take another unexpected detour) I will divulge more and more information on the history of music and from there, we’ll see where I will go with Treble Clef Tuesdays. So for now, enjoy the journey with me! I look forward to sharing with you the history of my favorite music genre and I will be learning along with you as I talk about it. Hope you all will stick with me on the ride!
Also, I must give you a small disclaimer. The information that I present on Treble Clef Tuesdays is only meant to be an introduction, a guide. I cannot possibly go through every single detail on the history of music as that would be nearly an impossible task (I do have a life outside of the blog you know) and time will not allow me to tackle such a challenge. These little tidbits of information are only meant to give you a brief overview of musical history and to be used as a guide for your own study and research, should you wish to know more. That’s it!
See you all on Thursday for “Thoughtful Thursdays”!