ETYM French musique, from Latin musica, Greek, any art over which the Muses presided, especially music, lyric poetry set and sung to music.
Art of combining sounds into a coherent perceptual experience, typically in accordance with conventional patterns and for an esthetic purpose. Music is generally categorized as classical, jazz, pop music, country and western, and so on.
The Greek word mousike covered all the arts presided over by the Muses. The various civilizations of the ancient and modern world developed their own musical systems. Eastern music recognizes subtler distinctions of pitch than does Western music and also differs from Western music in that the absence, until recently, of written notation ruled out the composition of major developed works; it fostered melodic and rhythmic patterns, freely interpreted (as in the Indian raga) by virtuosos.
The documented history of Western music since Classical times begins with the liturgical music of the medieval Catholic Church, derived from Greek and Hebrew antecedents. The four scales, or modes, to which the words of the liturgy were chanted were traditionally first set in order by St Ambrose AD 384. St Gregory the Great added four more to the original Ambrosian modes, and this system forms the basis of Gregorian plainsong, still used in the Roman Catholic Church. The organ was introduced in the 8th century, and in the 9th century harmonized music began to be used in churches, with notation developing toward its present form.
In the 11th century counterpoint was introduced, notably at the monastery of St Martial, Limoges, France, and in the late 12th century at Notre Dame in Paris (by Léonin and Perotin). In the late Middle Ages the Provençal and French troubadours and court composers, such as Machaut, developed a secular music, derived from church and folk music (see also Minnesingers).
15th and 16th centuries.
Europe saw the growth of contrapuntal or polyphonic music. One of the earliest composers was the English musician John Dunstable, whose works inspired the French composer Guillaume Dufay, founder of the Flemish school; its members included Dufay's pupil Joannes Okeghem and the Renaissance composer Josquin Desprez. Other composers of this era were Palestrina from Italy, Roland de Lassus from Flanders, Victoria from Spain, and Thomas Tallis and William Byrd from England. Madrigals were developed in Italy by members of the Flemish school and later by native composers, including Giovanni Gabrieli; they were written during the Elizabethan age in England by such composers as Thomas Morley, Orlando Gibbons, and Thomas Weelkes (c. 1575–1623). Notable composers of organ music were Antonio de Cabezon (1500–1566) in Spain and Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1533–1586) in Italy.
The Florentine Academy (Camerata), a group of artists and writers, aimed to revive the principles of Greek tragedy. This led to the invention of dramatic recitative and the beginning of opera. Claudio Monteverdi was an early operatic composer; by the end of the century the form had evolved further in the hands of Alessandro Scarlatti in Italy and Jean-Baptiste Lully in France. In England the outstanding composer of the period was Henry Purcell. Oratorio was developed in Italy by Giacomo Carissimi (1605–1674); in Germany, Heinrich Schütz produced a new form of sacred music.
The early part of the century was dominated by J S Bach and George Friedrich Handel. Bach was a master of harmony and counterpoint. Handel is renowned for his dramatic oratorios. In France, their most important contemporaries were François Couperin in keyboard music and Jean-Philippe Rameau in grand opera and ballet; the later operas of Christoph Willibald von Gluck, with their emphasis on dramatic expression, saw a return to the principles of Monteverdi. The modern orchestra evolved out of various movements of the mid-1700s, notably that led by Johann Stamitz (1717–1757) at Mannheim. Bach's sons C P E Bach and J C Bach reacted against contrapuntal forms and developed sonata form, the basis of the classical sonata, quartet, and symphony. In these types of composition, mastery of style was achieved by the Viennese composers Franz Haydn and Wolfgang Mozart. With Ludwig von Beethoven, music assumed new dynamic and expressive functions.
Romantic music, represented in its early stages by Carl Weber, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, and Frédéric Chopin, tended to be subjectively emotional. Orchestral color was increasingly exploited—most notably by Hector Berlioz—and harmony became more chromatic. Nationalism became prominent at this time, as evidenced by the intense Polish nationalism of Chopin; the exploitation of Hungarian music by Franz Liszt; the works of the Russians Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and, less typically, Peter Tchaikovsky; the works of the Czechs Antonin Dvorák and Bedrich Smetana; the Norwegian Edvard Grieg; and the Spaniards Albéniz, Granados, and Falla. Revolutionary changes were brought about by Richard Wagner in the field of opera, although traditional Italian lyricism continued in the work of Gioacchino Rossini, Guiseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini. Wagner's contemporary Johannes Brahms stood for Classical discipline of form combined with Romantic feeling. The Belgian.
César Franck, with a newly chromatic idiom, also renewed the tradition of polyphonic writing.
Around 1900 a reaction against Romanticism became apparent in the impressionism of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and the exotic chromaticism of Igor Stravinsky and Alexander Scriabin. In Austria and Germany, the tradition of Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss faced a disturbing new world of atonal expressionism in Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton von Webern.
After World War I Neo-Classicism, represented by Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and paul Hindemith, attempted to restore 18th-century principles of objectivity and order while maintaining a distinctively 20th-century tone. In Paris Les Six adopted a more relaxed style, while composers further from the cosmopolitan centers of Europe, such as Sir Edward Elgar, Frederick Delius, and Jean Sibelius, continued loyal to the Romantic symphonic tradition. The rise of radio and recorded media created a new mass market for classical and Romantic music, but one which was initially resistant to music by contemporary composers. Organizations such as the International Society for Contemporary Music became increasingly responsible for ensuring that new music continued to be publicly performed. Interest in English folk music was revived by the work of Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Among other important contemporary composers are Bela Bartók and Zoltan Kodály in Hungary; Olivier Messiaen in France; Luigi Dallapiccola and Luciano Berio in Italy; Dmitri Shostakovich in Russia; and Sir Arthur Bliss, Aaron Copland, Edmund Rubbra, Sir William Walton, Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, and Michael Tippett in England and the US.
The second half of the 20th century has seen dramatic changes in the nature of composition and in the instruments used to create sounds. The recording studio has facilitated the development of concrete music based on recorded natural sounds, and electronic music, in which sounds are generated electrically, developments implying the creation of music as a finished object without the need for interpretation by live performers. Chance music, promoted by John Cage, introduced the notion of a music designed to provoke unforeseen results and thereby make new connections; aleatoric music, developed by Pierre Boulez, introduced performers to freedom of choice from a range of options. In Germany, the avant-garde works of Karlheinz Stockhausen have introduced new musical sounds and compositional techniques. Since the 1960s the computer has become a focus of attention for developments in the synthesis of musical tones, and also in the automation of compositional techniques, most notably at Stanford University and MIT in.
The US, and at IRCAM in Paris.
1. The sounds produced by singers or musical instruments (or reproductions of such sounds).
2. An artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner.
3. Any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds; SYN. euphony.
4. Punishment for one's actions; SYN. medicine.