Monday, 12 November 2012

A Brief History of Music

The history of western music is based on European tradition. The student will often encounter music designated in languages other than English. The most important designations are:

The above chart will be encountered in different combinations but will give the player a guide to the instruments. It is unclear in many cases which recorder is used, therefore, by reading the score and understanding something of the historical basis of the music, the scholar/musician can make a value judgement on the intentions of the composer.

The music of the recorder is termed "classical" by most. This is not, however, the case. From the middle ages to the beginning of the 20th century music was often based on popular themes. Generally speaking, prior to the phonograph, all music was "popular" or "pop". It was influenced by the Church, folk songs and the interpretations of both amateur and professional musicians. When folks gathered they danced and sang to the tunes of the day. It is fair to liken the music of Bach to Rock and Roll . . . as a leisure activity of the period and the Recorder to the Electric Guitar as the popular instrument of the late middle ages. The fun-loving crowds of Bach's time would grab a couple of jugs of wine, go over to Johnny's and jam after church. Historically, Johann Sebastian Bach would improvise all night or until the wine was gone.


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