Music History at Ten Years a Minute

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As educators, we are all painfully aware of how much information we need to cram into limited time-frames of our curricula. As J. Peter Burkholder succinctly states the problem:

The most significant issue for teachers of undergraduate music history and literature courses is that there is far more music history and literature than there used to be. [ . . . ] Since the 1970s, two patterns of change can be seen: new repertories have been added, while nothing has been deleted, and we have more information about each part of the repertoire.1

Particularly as undergraduates arrive with seemingly ever-less preparation from their prior education, it is easy to despair of covering a sufficient amount of material. Burkholder suggests that the traditional, linear study of music history can no longer usefully contain all the information that must be conveyed at a reasonable level of content. He proposes:

[A] one-semester overview of Music in Western Culture, a chronological series of lectures on music in relation to history and the other arts in Europe and the Americas from ancient times through the present, including popular music and jazz. This would not be a comprehensive survey, but a series of case studies . . .2

In private conversation, Burkholder has indicated that he envisions these case studies to be somewhat concentrated, self-contained units, e.g., "St. Marks, Venice, 1610," "Vienna, 1802," etc., each of which concentrates on the specific musical styles and active composers of the time and place indicated. Having thus experienced a "sampler platter" (my term, not his) of musical styles, students would then have a set of in-depth courses, with a more traditional pedagogical approach, to explore various periods that catch their interest without being forced to try to learn everything about everything.3

Burkholder's proposal is quite admirable: it avoids the pitfalls of information overload and superficiality. More traditionally-oriented individuals may, however, be ill-at-ease over the concept of abandoning a survey course that touches upon all epochs of music history. They can quite rightfully point out that many practices in later epochs—an obvious one is the quotation of plainchant, especially the Dies irae, by composers since Berlioz—cannot be fully appreciated without at least some knowledge of earlier music. At the same time, though, the teaching of pre-Baroque music is usually short-shrifted even further within the standard music history survey, as the historical grounding for performance and music education majors must necessarily emphasize the common-practice and post-1900 eras.

A similar problem exists in community outreach educational settings. There, not only does one face lack of time to cover material, but the potentially vastly disparate backgrounds of the audience compounds the problem. The challenge remains for us as teachers to try and communicate our passions about our subject matter to the public at large, and hopefully to instill in them at the very least a passing sense of "Hey, this is cool stuff!" If nothing else, we have our own rational self-interest to consider—the future generations of music students who will pay our salaries are going to be drawn from these audiences!

In the instructor's manual to their book The Western Humanities4 Roy Matthews and F. Dewitt Platt offer seven suggested lecture approaches for a general history survey. Of these, the "Historical Overview" approach is obviously the most useful for giving a sense of "The Big Picture" for an epoch, with details to be elaborated upon in the later lectures of a unit. This approach is adopted in some form in all undergraduate introductory music history surveys, and also operates in the revised introductory overview course proposed by Burkholder. For this approach to work, of course, a concise structural model is necessary to provide a coherent narrative framework, even in a moderately limited topic such as the transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In a community outreach situation where one lacks any time to fill in the details, however, an even tighter model is needed. I present here a model that I have successfully used in limited-time situations to a general audience, most of whom have little or no musical background. Using this model, interspersed with multiple "sound-bites," I have been able to give a "quick-and-dirty" overview of music history during the period 1000-1600 C.E. in as little as one hour—hence the title of this essay—although I find that two hours is far more conducive to success (not to mention preventing completely losing my voice!). In the remainder of this essay, I first present the overall model; next, I review the details of how I have used it in community outreach settings; and finally, I offer suggestions on how it can be adapted for classroom use in a standard music history survey. (Please keep in mind that the audience context for which I developed such talks was focused specifically on pre-1600 culture. As a result, the discussion of using the model, as well as the examples of materials used, concentrates exclusively on Medieval and Renaissance music. A classroom adaptation would thus of course require revising the list of examples to contain primarily post-1600 music.)

In my teaching to members of an amateur historical recreation group known as the Society for Creative Anachronism (henceforth SCA), I have found it a useful approximation to talk about the last thousand years of Western music history as operating in cycles with major revolutions happening approximately every three hundred years and minor revolutions approximately in the middle of those cycles. Such revolutions are driven primarily by composers' need to "push the envelope" of compositional technique. This epochal but non-teleological view of music history uses as its departure point Johannes Tinctoris' famous statement in the dedication of his 1477 Liber de arte contrapuncti:

"[A]lthough it seems beyond belief, there does not exist a single piece of music, not composed within the last forty years, that is regarded by the learned as worth hearing."5

Taking Tinctoris at his word, composers and theorists of the mid 15th century were quite aware that some stylistic sea-change had recently occurred. While his statement might be dismissable as hyperbole were it an isolated incident, similar mention of radical new directions for composition occur in the Artusi-Monteverdi controversy at the juncture of the Renaissance and Baroque, and the emergence of the Ars nova early in the 14th century—and of course we have our own awareness of events ca. 1900. These all seem to indicate a recurrent pattern of significant change at multiples of approximately 150 years.

Table 1 shows these epochs and the stylistic changes that characterize them.


Table 1. Model of Compositionally-driven cycles of music history.

Approximate Dates of Major/Minor Revolutions in Western Music History and Concurrent Innovation(s):


Style Innovation
1000 Development of musical staff; allows unambiguous notation of pitch.
1150 Rise of independent polyphony, with first attempts to provide coordinated rhythmic information.
1300 Ars nova: complete rhythmic information in both duple and triple meters now available; syncopation possible.
1450 Simplification of rhythmic complexity: "Renaissance style." Move towards triadic sonorities.
1600 Change from linearly- (contrapuntal) to vertically-driven (harmonic) conception: "Baroque style." Harmonies built on stacked third sonorities. Single emotional affect projected per movement.
1750 Simplification of ornamental complexity to emphasize melody with accompaniment: "Classical/Romantic style." Harmony still triadic, but increasing use of chromaticism. Increasing emphasis on thematic interplay, with multiple emotional affects per movement.
1900 Possibilities other than triadic harmony available. Multiple solutions to problem of pitch organization investigated. Rhythmic complexity reemergent; technology causing rapid but uncertain drive to innovations.

(Documentary evidence prior to C.E. 1000 too fragmentary for extrapolation backwards.)


The first three innovations are all notational, providing an ever-expanding palette with which to write increasingly complex music, with the type of notational innovation being driven by problems important to composers at the time. Thus, ca. 1000 there came a need to teach music in a more rapid fashion than before, leading Guido d'Arezzo to invent the musical staff; ca. 1150, composers exploring the use of multiple independent melodic lines in organum needed some form of rhythmic notation in order to synchronize all parts; and ca. 1300, avant-garde composers wanted to be able to notate precisely both duple and triple meters, as well as divide various levels of beat into two and three, leading to the Ars nova. From here on, composers had essentially all the notational tools needed to compose music of arbitrary complexity, and the epochal cycle is driven by issues of compositional aesthetics. So: in the mid 15th century, there is the reaction against Ars subtilior complexity alluded to by Tinctoris, resulting in early Renaissance style: still rhythmically fluid but simplified texture and with a changing preference for sonority types. Around 1600, with humanism fully embedded in the Zeitgeist and a desire present to express the emotions in the texts of vocal pieces as clearly as possible, there was a change-over to a more vertically-driven or chordal conception; etc.

Obviously, multiple devils' worth of details have been swept under the rug in this model, and there are several areas, particularly the grouping of Classical and Romantic style as a single category, where there is significant room for disagreement.6 If, however, we grant that, like all models, this one ignores various complexities of real history in order to demonstrate a broad principle, then it makes a surprisingly good first approximation.

The idea of a cyclic approach to music history is of course not new. Curt Sachs, for example, talks about historical cycles beginning with an expansive ethos phase, developing into and ending on a retreating pathos phase; meanwhile, Friedrich Blume also considered the Classical and Romantic eras to be a single unified epoch.7 To the best of my understanding, however, no prior authors seem to have considered the concept of historical cycles as being driven by the needs of composers. Furthermore, in this model of cycles, there is no sense of a style period growing decadent and retreating into a pathos phase, as Sachs would have, nor are there any value judgments on the relative merits of stylistic periods, as made by, say, Heinrich Schenker. There is merely the sense that at somewhat regular intervals during the last 1000 years, composers apparently come to feel the need for a new, less or more radically different approach to elements of their work. Finally, this model views the events of 1900 and after as being simply one more in a series of stylistic changes and stresses the continuity of changing compositional aesthetics, rather than a "never the twain shall meet" punctum divisionis that resulted in "the destruction of tonality" or similar ridiculous claims.8 Thus, it does not seem as though the wheel has been completely reinvented here.

Let me now discuss the mechanics of the presentations I have given using this model. As mentioned above, I have given such talks to members of the SCA. This gives an advantage over a talk to a completely lay audience, as SCA members already have some general, if vague and possibly incorrect, idea of the outline of Medieval/Renaissance cultural history; and they already begin with some enthusiasm for Medieval/Renaissance topics. I assume, however, no musical background or ability on the part of any audience member.

Audience members receive a handout containing a graphical series of timelines, a brief historical outline in text, and a list of examples to be played and discography; the outline, play-list, discography and timelines are included as an appendix.9 Each of the timelines fades in or out as the genre or stylistic feature in question waxes or wanes in importance. Composers' names are shown in different font sizes and styles to give some sense of their relative importance; thus, Machaut is given in the largest size to indicate his importance in both the history of music and literature.

Using the text and graphical timelines, I talk through the outline of the cyclical model for a few minutes, to give an initial grounding for the examples to be played. The remainder of the talk consists of playing through the examples, describing their important features beforehand and giving some slight reinforcement to such immediately afterwards in most cases. The examples are all snippets ranging in length from 15 seconds to a minute; each one is just long enough to get a feel for the type of piece under consideration. The examples are chosen to maximize differences of performance or compositional features, to assist audience members in getting a quick sense of compare-and-contrast.

By way of illustration, here is a transcript of how I would talk through the first couple of examples, on plainchant and organum:


Ex. 1. Plainchant. (Alleluia, Dominus regnavit)

Okay, so this is a typical example of plainchant, often called Gregorian chant after Pope Gregory the Great, who ordered a compilation and systemization of the chant repertory. We've all heard examples like this: a single vocal melody line, unaccompanied, very flowing, few if any skips in the melody and those not very big. Nothing surprising.

Ex. 2. Two-part organum + trope. (Procedentem sponsum)

Now here we have some polyphony, i.e., multiple simultaneous independent melodies—this is how European music began to diverge from other musics of the world. This excerpt is an example of organum, where you start with a pre-existing chant melody and add one or more voice parts; here, the two parts start at the same pitch, the second voice moves out and then they move in parallel for a bit, and then come together again on a single note.

Note what happened when they came together: the original voices held out that final note, and an entirely different piece was sung over it by the boys' choir. This is called troping, an interpolation. Here, the new piece is inserted between verses of the older one, and forms a commentary or complementary text to the first one. The style here is a different type of organum, florid organum, where the new music has lots and lots of notes over a single held-out note of the original chant, and that can quickly get out of hand, as in this next excerpt . . .

Ex. 3. Florid organum. (Pérotin, Viderunt omnes)

This is one of the earliest pieces for which we know both the composer's name and the premiere date. It's by someone named Pérotin, and was performed in 1198; we know this from statements made in a book written about a hundred years later, by a guy now known as Anonymous Four (from whom the female early music vocal group took their name). You have three new vocal parts all doing those sing-songy lines above the original chant melody, which is being held out at extreme length. (Note that it took them nearly a minute just to get to the second syllable of the first word, so they're going to be busy for a while . . . ) This may sound really repetitious; what's going on is, Pérotin is pulling a trick called voice-exchange to build up a large-scale structure, so that organal voice A sings a snippet, which is then sung by organal voice B, and then by voice C, while their respective snippets also moved around. So, in performance you'd be part of the chorus and getting this neat "Notre-Dame surround sound" effect bouncing all around you, rather than sitting in one spot listening to a boom-box . . .


As the above transcript might indicate, the entire talk will have the feeling of a language-immersion course, with many different examples being given to the audience in rapid succession. Most of the connecting discussion is closely tied to the compositional model, showing how the examples reflect the then-current trends and aesthetics, and I try whenever possible to connect the most recent example back to earlier ones. Additionally, some general cultural information is provided along the way, to keep the sense of music history as embedded within the larger framework of cultural history.

There is an immediate post-test at the end of the talk, while the examples are still a fresh cloud of smoke in the audience's heads. Some of the examples on the post-test are ones they heard during the talk while others are new. The post-test is not a test in the traditional sense but a group discussion: for all the test examples, audience members are first asked to verbalize about texture and other stylistic features, and only then consult their handout for possible genre/style candidates. Although I have not collected hard empirical data, the typical success rate appears to be about 70-80%, which is quite good considering the amount of information just presented to the audience in the previous one or two hours. Furthermore, there is anecdotal evidence of some amount of retention with little or no subsequent exposure in a learning environment—SCA members who have heard the talk have approached me months later, say they still remember such and such item well even if they can't remember the specific genre name, and ask how they can obtain recordings of similar music.

Let us now discuss how this approach might be adapted to a standard classroom situation that needs to cover music history up through the present. Remember, the intent is not to try and teach a large number of concepts in the first lecture or two; the idea is to get across a view of music history as a continuously unfolding process, with a few key concepts onto which the students can hang later information—all the examples must serve as support material towards that end. A one or two-semester general survey of music history is assumed; if the latter, it would be better to keep the same teacher for both semesters to provide continuity of viewpoint, even if a departmental syllabus is developed.

First, a detailed packet of materials should be developed to accompany the specific examples used. Burkholder has written a very good summary handbook to accompany the 6th edition of Norton's Grout/Palisca history of music,10 and the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music is an excellent library of examples.11 It might, however, well be worth developing supplementary materials that work more closely with the compositional model. As I will also discuss in a moment, use of other examples may be better than simply relying on the Norton anthology, good as it is.

Second, particularly in a one-term survey, less examples per epoch should be used than I have done. In my talk I concentrate strictly on the era 1000-1600, so even though my talk is of course extremely superficial, I have more room to cover different specific genres. If the basic music history curriculum is a two-term survey, then there is room at the beginning of each term to present this type of overview for the materials specific to the term, so the number of examples could be re-expanded.

The next two points are the most important ones. Third, choose excerpts that maximize the contrast between all examples on first exposure—this is the reason one might wish to use recordings other than or in addition to the Norton anthology. From personal experience at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I can attest that it takes a while to distinguish stylistically similar composers and genres. In the immersion situation proposed here, the more distinctions that the students can make between the examples as soon as possible, the better. Do not worry whether such and such an example is too short to illustrate a point that will become important later on; that is a second level of distinction to be learned during the elaboration process later in the semester.

Fourth, keep a highly active, language-immersion environment for the students. Keep students engaged and talking about the music during these first class sessions, no matter how superficial their comments. While self-activated learning is ultimately more enduring, at this initial stage be willing to interrupt with corrections in order to keep the pace up. Also, do not get concerned that one or two hotshot students might be monopolizing the dialogue—it is better at this point to keep the discussion going as you go through the examples, even if the discussion seems to be leaving a good percentage of the students out. If you feel uncomfortable about this prospect, try to get other students involved as best they can; and use your hotshots to assist the other students, so that the entire class comes to feel they have a vested interest in the discussion. For example, in my sightsinging classes, I am continuously asking the students, "Ok, Graham or Jen or whoever is having a problem right here; can anybody help them figure out what's wrong?" This makes the rest of the class feel that they are all there together to help each other to master the material, and keeps the class members who are not currently "in the hot seat" in a state of active intellectual analysis of the material.

Fifth, well-chosen visual aids will both assist cross-modal thinking and help provide cultural context for the music. Some of these illustrations can be more specifically musical in nature, e.g., illustrations of manuscripts showing the monochord and early notations. Presumably music students will be slightly more sophisticated musically than the general populace, and so explaining a picture of the Guidonian hand as a pedagogical device will more likely resonate with their experience in sightsinging class, to take one example. If the excellent series Musikgeschichte in Bildern12 is available at your institution or one nearby I would definitely counsel you to make use of it.

Sixth and lastly, this sort of language-immersion introduction demands a very high level of energy; the teacher must be willing to display a passionate intensity in order to get the students engaged. This suggestion may well run counter to personal styles as well as professional training. My experience, however, has been: once you have the students hooked, you can let down the intensity somewhat and they will stay with you through the remainder of the semester and into succeeding ones. We are, after all, teachers in order to express our passion about our subject; we need to make our professionalism serve that end, and not let it get in the way.


Appendix: Handout Materials for Audiences

Text timeline for 1000-1600

ca. 900 Musica/Scholica enchiriadis: earliest non-classical mention of polyphony
ca. 1020 Guido d'Arezzo establishes what evolves into the modern musical staff
1080s William IX of Aquitaine plays troubadour and starts a trend
mid 12th c. Schools of organum composers work on synchronization problems
1160s-90s Léonin and Pérotin work over Notre Dame polyphony
13th c. Albigensian Crusade (among other things) shuts the troubadours up
ca. 1260 Franco of Cologne works on notation
late 13th c. Anonymous IV takes good class notes; Formes fixeé assume dominant role in secular music
ca. 1321 Philip de Vitry proclaims the Ars nova musical revolution
14th c. Italian polyphony appears out of nowhere
1377 Machaut's death causes ultimate separation of music/poetry as independent disciplines
late 14th c. Composers let notation get out of hand (Ars subtilior); Medieval culture generally going to pot anyway in wake of Black Death
mid 15th c. Dance manuals start appearing (or at least surviving)
1477 Tinctoris: "Nothing more than 40 yrs. old is worth listening to . . .", although he has nice things to say about the English
1501 Petrucci starts printing music
1500's Music printing a growth industry, huge demand for new music in chanson form for emergent bourgeois (formes fixeé gone)
1580s on English finally come up with distinctive national style of madrigals, etc. (eventually Cromwell ends the fun and English music)
1580s-90s Experimental extremes: microtones by Vicentino and chromatic madrigals by Gesualdo and other sickos
1597 Opera invented: Peri's Dafne
ca. 1600 "Stil nuovo:" the Baroque begins


List of Recorded Examples & Discography used in full lecture
(A1, etc. refer to side/track info on the recordings)

Plainchant: Alleluia, Dominus regnavit (Hungarian Gregorian Chant, B2)
Two-part organum + trope: Procedentem sponsum (ibid., B4)
Florid organum: Pérotin: Viderunt omnes (Pérotin + Machaut Mass, A1)
Secular monophony: Veris dulcis (free rhythm) (Carmina Burana v.4, A1)
Michi confer (strict rhythm) (ibid., A3)
Tristan Rota A (Art of the Lute in the Middle Ages, B2)
Tristan Rota B (Estampie, A5)
Tristan Rota C (Music at the Time of the Crusades, A1)
(showing different performance practice decisions)
Conductus: Procurans odium (Carmina Burana v.1, A1)
Med. Motet: Fauvel, Bon vin doit (Music at the Time of the Crusades, A3a)
14th c. styles (Italian, French): Landini: Ballata, Ecco la primavera (Ecco la primavera, A1)
" Caccia, Chosi pensoso (Landini, B1)
Machaut: Kyrie (Pérotin + Machaut Mass, B1)
" Monophonic Virelai, Douce dame (Art of G. de M., B3)
" Ballade, Rose liz (ibid., A5)
Ars subtilior: Si con cy gist (Ce Diabolic Chant, B4)
Senleches: Harpe de melodie (ibid., B1)
Early Ren. style: Dufay: Vergine bella (Pleasures of the Royal Court, A2c)
Dufay: Ne je ne dors (The Castle of Fair Welcome, B1)
Eng. Carol: There Is No Rose (Medieval English Music, B3)
Early/mid-Ren. sacred polyphony: Ockeghem: Rondeau/Missa Au travail suis, Kyrie (Ockeghem: Masses. . . , A1 + A2)
Late Ren. sacred polyphony: de Magalhães: Missa dilectus meus, Kyrie (Portug. Polyphony, B1)
Tallis: Spem in alium (Glories of Tudor Church Music, B2)
Variety of Ren. Continental secular polyphony: Carnival Song: O fallace speranza (Pleasures of the Royal Court, B1a)
Jannequin: Song of the Lark (Jannequin: Songs of Birds, A5)
"Lassus": Mon coeur se recommende a vous (ibid., A6)
Jannequin: Ce moys de May (ibid., A3)
Monteverdi: Ecco mormorar l'onde (Monteverdi Madrigals v.2, A6)
Eng. Ren. secular polyphony: Morley: Those Dainty Daffodils (Waverleys: Ren. Favorites, A3)
Byrd: This Sweet and Merry Month of May (ibid., A4)
Late Ren. extreme chromaticism: Nenna: La mia dolgia (Nenna Madrigals, B1)
Monteverdi: Lasciate mi morire (Monteverdi Madrigal Cycles, A1)
Ren. instrumental styles: Morley: Il Grillo Fantasy (Waverleys: Ren. Favorites, A2)
Ren. solo song styles (Continental/English): Monteverdi: Si dolce e il tormento (Monteverdi Madrigals v.2, C1)
When Laura Smiles (Elizabethan Evening, B5)
Early Baroque: Monteverdi: Vespers, Opening (Monteverdi Vespers, A1)



Machaut Mass & Pérotin Organa Bach Guild/HAM HM 1 SD
Waverly Consort, Renaissance Favorites CBS Masterworks IM 37845
Ecco La Primavera Decca-Serenata SA 12
Ce Diabolic Chant Decca/L'OiseauLyre DSDL 704
An Elizabethan Evening Everest 3444
Medieval English Music Harmonia Mundi HM 1106
Hungarian Gregorian Chants: Med. Christmas Melodies Hungaroton LPX 11477
The Castle of Fair Welcome Hyperion A-66194
Masterpieces of Portuguese Polyphony Hyperion A-66218
Carmina Burana v.1 Musical Heritage MHS 319
Art of Guillaume de Machaut Musical Heritage MHS 3198
Carmina Burana v.4 Musical Heritage MHS 3793
Art of the Lute in the Middle Ages Musical Heritage MHS 4391
Glories of Tudor Church Music Musical Heritage MHS 4827M
Monteverdi Madrigals v.2 Musical Heritage MHS 824283
Monteverdi Vespers Musical Heritage MHS 827216T
Monteverdi Madrigal Cycles Nonesuch H-71021
Pomponio Nenna: Madrigals & Motets Nonesuch H-71277
Pleasures of the Royal Court Nonesuch H-71326
Ockeghem: Masses, Motets, & Chansons Nonesuch H-71336
Landini, Assorted Pieces "Reflexe" EMI 1C 063-30113
Estampie "Reflexe" EMI 1C 065-1301221
Jannequin: Songs of Birds, Battles, Love Vanguard SRV-298SD
Music at the Time of the Crusades Vanguard SRV-317SD




1J. Peter Burkholder, "Curricular Ideas for Music History and Literature," College Music Society Newsletter (electronic ed.), Sept. 2001.


3A particular curriculum could, of course, require that, e.g., a course on 1700-1900 European music be among those chosen, while allowing flexibility for other choices.

4Roy Matthews and F. Dewitt Platt, Instructor's Manual to accompany The Western Humanities, 3rd ed. (Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing, 1998).

5Trans. in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History (New York: Norton, 1950), 199. This important passage was regrettably excised from the recent revised version of Strunk's Source Readings, Leo Treitler, gen. ed. (New York: Norton, 1998).

6It is highly likely that the differentiation of Classical/Romantic is due at least in part to our being not yet wholly divorced from the nineteenth century and thus still too close to the situation. William E. Leuchtenberg begins his fine study of the United States' transformation from a rural, agricultural nation to a technological, urbanized one, The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932 (2d ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), with the observation, "In 1914 the United States was not so far from the early years of the republic. There were men still living whose fathers had known Jefferson and John Adams and had been acquainted with Longfellow." Likewise for music history, as of this writing there are people still alive who knew and worked with Richard Strauss; other "nineteenth century" composers like Mahler, Puccini, and Saint-Saëns had substantial portions of their careers after 1900; and there are still among us people whose grandparents (if not parents!) had contemporaries who interacted with Wagner, Brahms, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and Verdi. Had someone in 1605 tried to think in terms of "historical style periods," such a person might well have considered Ockeghem, Obrecht, and their contemporaries to be a separate epoch from the chromaticism of Gesualdo et al.; in contrast, we at a distance of 400-500 years see the stylistic commonalities of those composers as trumping their individual differences. Presumably, listeners in 2300 C.E., especially non-expert ones, will likewise easily lump together Mozart and Wagner.

7Curt Sachs, The Commonwealth of Art (New York: Norton, 1946), 363; Friedrich Blume, Classic and Romantic Music (New York: Norton, 1970), 124 & 172. In a non-scholarly venue, Peter Schickele, in his witty music appreciation radio program "Schickele Mix," also talks about how both Classical and Romantic composers emphasize contrast of materials and affects while Baroque composers use a single texture, theme, and affect per movement.

8A different view of the changes that led to twentieth-century developments has been given by several authors, notably Burkholder and Joseph Straus; they have developed a cogent view of a self-conscious historicist viewpoint for composers beginning with Brahms. (See Burkholder, "Museum Pieces: The Historicist Mainstream in Music of the Last Hundred Years," Journal of Musicology 2 [1983], 115-34; "Brahms and Twentieth-Century Classical Music," 19th-Century Music 8 [1984], 75-83; "Musical Time and Continuity as a Reflection of the Historical Situation of Modern Composers," Journal of Musicology 9 [1991], 412-29; and Joseph Straus, "The 'Anxiety of Influence' in Twentieth-Century Music," Journal of Musicology 9 [1991], 430-47.) While their work forms an important piece of the puzzle of why twentieth-century music developed as it did, it begs the question of why composers only became so keenly aware of and allowed themselves to be influenced by prior historical trends beginning in the mid nineteenth century, as opposed to poets, painters, etc. More importantly, this body of work leaves out a key element: the development of compositional practices across several centuries—and by extension, the interaction of those changing practices with composers' dawning awareness of historicism. The historical model outlined here addresses that element.

9The audience also receives a list of composers' names and dates for reference purposes, which I have not included here. Note that all the examples on the discography are from LPs, nearly all of which are now out-of-print; but one can find other examples of the genres covered on CDs, and most institutional libraries retain such LP holdings as are not reissued on CD.

10Burkholder, Study and Listening Guide [to Grout/Palisca] (New York: Norton, 2001); Donald J. Grout and Claude Palisca, A History of Western Music, 6th ed. (New York: Norton, 2001). Burkholder has in fact been contracted to take over work on the seventh edition.

11Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, 4th ed. (New York: Norton, 2001).

12Ed. Werner Bachmann, mult. vols. (Leipzig: DEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik).

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Last modified on Thursday, 04/10/2018

Art Samplaski

Art Samplaski has degrees from Indiana University and Cornell University; he received his Ph.D. with distinction for being able to speak simultaneously to readers in both the humanities and sciences. He has taught at Ithaca College, presented at multiple regional, national, and international conferences (including The College Music Society, the Kalamazoo Medieval Studies Congress, the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, and the Society for Music Theory), and published in College Music Symposium, Empirical Musicology Review, Indiana Theory Review, Music Perception, Music Theory Online, Psychology of Music, and Psychomusicology. Since August, 2005, he has also been a volunteer astronomy educator at Cornell’s Fuertes Observatory and assisted with many public education & outreach activities with Cornell’s astronomy department.

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