Early Christian music - Deepstash

Early Christian music

  • In the early part of the first century, the monasteries and abbeys across Europe became places where music was part of the lives of those devoted to God.
  • Early Christian music had its roots in the practices of the Hebrew people, and it became the basis for sacred music for centuries.
  • Pope Gregory (540-604 AD) is credited with developing the Gregorian Chant, characterised by the open, perfect fifth sound.

MORE IDEAS FROM Brief History of Music: An Introduction

Josquin des Pres is thought to be one of the early Renaissance composers and a great master of the polyphonic style, combining many voices to create complex musical textures. Palestrina, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd built on his ideas, composing stunning motets, masses, chanson and instrumental works.

Instruments like the bassoon and trombone gave rise to larger instrumental groupings, allowing composers more scope to explore their creative ideas.

Music of the Baroque Period (1600-1760)

This period has many famous composers and pieces of Western Classical music known for their musical and instrumental developments. Italy, Germany, England and France dominated the musical landscape, influencing one another.

The most celebrated composers of the time are G F Handel, Bach, Vivaldi and Purcell. Instrumental music was composed along with vocal works. The preferred harmony is tonal, and the system of keys (major and minor) is used over modality. This allowed for more complex pieces.

During this time, music was practised by kings and paupers alike. The sound of this music becomes increasingly familiar due to the development of musical notation.

The written music that survived makes it possible to assemble an image of a vibrant culture. Throughout this period, music adopted more elaborate structures and devices that produced works of immense beauty. Important musical forms of this era include the motet, the sacred Mass, and the madrigal.

Music of the Greek and Roman times

Music has probably played an essential role in humans. Evidence shows that early man developed primitive flutes from animal bones and used stones and wood as percussion.

Surviving Greek notation has given scientists a clue to how the music of the early Greeks and later the Romans might have sounded. Instruments featured during these times include the trumpet as an instrument of announcement and the lyre as an integral player in the songs of poets.

Haydn and Mozart dominate the musical landscape of this period. Composers moved away from the polyphonic towards the homophonic, writing music that was simple and measured.

A key development is that of the Piano that replaced the Baroque harpsichord. Chamber music and orchestral music was a central quality of this era. The orchestra was firmly established and included the clarinets, trombones, and timpani. Opera became a fully-developed musical form of entertainment.

The Romantic Period (1780 - 1880)

Beethoven made a notable change into the Romantic Era. His genius shaped the Romantic period by redefining many of the established musical conventions.

The era saw developments in the quality and range of instruments as composers allowed their deepest emotions and dreams to shape their music. Debussy and Ravel are key composers of this movement and composed extensively for the piano.

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The Age Of Music Diversity

The 20th century has seen musical creativity, diversity and experimentation, taking a cue from the past music styles, while utilizing the newly available resources and technology.

Innovative changes have been seen in the kinds of instruments and noisemakers being used, combining chords, chord structures, and tempo modulation that created music not heard in the decades before.


Cantata comes from the Italian word cantare, which means "to sing." It originated in the early 17th-century, but, as with any musical form, it has evolved through the years.

At the very beginning, cantatas referred to a music piece that is meant to be sung. Loosely defined today, a cantata is a vocal work with multiple movements and instrumental accompaniment; it can be based on either a secular or sacred subject.

The Music Of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was called the immortal God of Harmony by none other than Beethoven himself. The composer’s music inspires a feeling of love, reverence and even spirituality.

His most popular piece of organ music is Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which is a soundtrack used in many movies. A popular wedding sound is Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring while a cigar company used Air on the G String in a primetime TV ad when TV could advertise such stuff.