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Evolution of music

Describe, in great detail, how music has evolved from Antiquity through modern times. Examples of composers, music selections, as well as aesthetics would be VERY appropriate in this response.

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For the student,
Thank you for coming by Brainmass once again for your homework assistance. Since I will also base some of my answers from one of the very practical texts I had to read by way of properly referencing this source of material.

The following section has to do with the citation style for the main text the TA will be documenting from: The title of the book is called "The Vintage Guide to Classical Music" with its author, Jan Swafford. Other relevant reference information you need: Publishing Comopany: Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, INc. New York. Date of Publishing: November, 1992. (If you need to paraphrase anything I have researched for you from this book, please document it in the designated style: Chicago.)

The first point that I would immediately address to answer your posted problem would be the following piece of fact:
the evolution of music started way back with Gregorian Chant which took place prior to the Baroque period. According to the following text, "The Vintage Guide to Classical Music" by Jan Swafford, the author wrote that, "Greek musical theory dominated the West into the Middle Ages...Fully developed Greek theory established a number of scale patterns called modes, and the philosophical doctrine of ethos assigned expressive and moral qualities to each mode: the mode called Mixolydian, said Aristotle, makes men grave and sad, while the Phrygian inspires enthusiasm. Early Christians acquired their sacred song from a number of sources, among them Jewish music. Medieval Christian song is known as plainchant, or simply chant. Like all the music in the world up to that time, chant is monophonic, that is, a single melodic line without harmonic accompaniment. The melodies fall into one of eight modes derived from the Greeks; the rhythm wanders freely, following the rhythm of the words. Latin-language plainchant was and often still is used for the Mass and other sacred services of the Catholic church. According to legend, sixth-century pope Gregory the Great collected and codified chant into its final form for use in the liturgy. In his honor, the main body of Catholic music has long been called Gregorian chant," (P. 5).

Moving forward to the next point, "into the Middle Ages, Western music remained monophonic, as much non-Western music still does. Music was rhythm and melody and usually words, and nothing more...Western music created something that had never existed before: the art of polyphony...The first hints of polyphony appear when theorists of the ninth century described a way of church singing in which two vocal parts moved in parallel intervals, usually hollow-sounding fourths or fifths. This way of singing was called organum. It was the first intimation of the musical revolution that the West has continued to expand and explore to this day," (Swafford, P.6). Continuing onto the next musical discovery, "some sixty years after the death of Perotin (who was the notable French church composer during the Medieval times), was born the man who stands at the beginning of the long line of towering Western composers: Guillaume de Machaut. As Perotin epitomized the archaic polyphonic style that came to be called ars antiqua, Machaut would bring to maturity the more sophisticated fourteenth-century polyphonic style that proudly called itself ars nova, or thus translated as the new art, " (Swafford, P.13).

From this turning point in music history, "ars nova", we can move onto the next notable period of time which would be the Renaissance. According to Jan Swafford, he wrote that, "from Renaissance, humanism flowed the modern world, the modern consciousness: science, learning, philosophy, medicine, and the revitalized kaleidoscope and mirror of the arts. From the comparatively static and church-dominated society of the MIddle Ages arose a searching, dynamic secular culture that has prevailed in the West to this day, a culture full of new marvels indeed...in music, the High Renaissance saw the golden age of polyphony," (P.23).

One of the notable composers during the Renaissance period would be Giovanni Da Palestrina born in 1525. During this time, two crucial terms from music theory: consonance and dissonance were starting to emerge in the compositions by Renaissance composers. "Palestrina's most famous piece today is the six-voice Pope Marcellus Mass, its fame mainly due to the legend of its saving polyphony. Nonetheless, this Mass epitomizes the Palestrina style: unaccompanied, ...

Solution Summary

Evolution of music is referenced and discussed.

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