O Magnum Mysterium by Tomás Luis de Victoria

O Magnum Mysterium is a Catholic church chant sung at Christmastime. As part of the Matins (nighttime worship), the text has been around for centuries. While the exact origins are unknown, historians believe the text (and its use in Catholic Mass) has been around since at least the 10th century. Because the work is so […]

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Music History: Classical Music

Beethoven Piano Sonatas

Background Even though some use the term “classical music” to describe all music from the middle ages through now, the Classical period of music went from roughly 1750-1820. In the middle of the 18th century – the end of the Baroque era – Western Europe shifted towards a new style of literature, architecture, and art […]

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Music History: Baroque Music

Background When we say Baroque music, we typically think of composers like Bach and Handel. These composers – and this musical era in general –  were vital in shaping music as we know it today. Beginning around 1600, the Baroque era was instrumental (pun definitely intended) in the normalization of tonality (harmony as we know […]

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Music History: Renaissance Music

Following the Medieval Era’s end around 1400, the Renaissance Era lasted for about two centuries. Historians tend to disagree on when exactly Renaissance music became standard, but it wasn’t until many decades after Renaissance art and literature started that music began to change. Like the visual and literary arts, Renaissance music reflected characteristics of human development including […]

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Music History: Medieval Music

The Medieval Era. Beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire around 500 CE and ending around 1400 with the Renaissance, the Medieval period is known for the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, the Black Death plague (which killed almost one-third of Europe’s population in the late 1340s), the 100 years war, and knights/serfs/King […]

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Ravel’s La Valse

wilhelm_gause_hofball_in_wien

La Valse (The Waltz) by Maurice Ravel, written between 1919 and 1920, exists in three different versions: a piano solo, a piano duet, and an orchestral version. The work was originally written as a ballet, but due to tension between Ravel and commissioner/impressario (one who organizes and produces concerts, plays, or operas) Sergei Diaghilev, it was never turned […]

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Music History: Prehistoric and Ancient Music

Ancient Music History

Music has been around since the beginning of time. It has been a form of communication and community since before there were even communities (haha). But because drawings, the written word, photographs, movies, the Internet, etc. haven’t been around as long to document our cultural history, we only have a small amount of knowledge about the […]

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