When Was Classical Music Invented?
Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, in 1685. He studied under his father Leopold, a respected organist.
Later became a member of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, where he learned composition, counterpoint and instrumentation.
After completing his studies there, Bach went to work as a court musician in Weimar, where he wrote some of his most famous works including the Brandenburg Concertos, the Well-Tempered Clavier and the Goldberg Variations. In 1723, he moved to Köthen, where he worked as cantor and teacher.
During this period, he composed many choral works, such as the Magnificat, the Christmas Oratorio and the B minor Mass. His greatest achievement during this time came in 1729, when he received the post of Court Cantor in Berlin. Here, he continued composing sacred music, while also producing secular pieces like the Brandenburg Concerto no. 3.
In 1750, he returned to Leipzig, where his reputation grew. He was appointed professor of theory and harmony at the University of Leipzig in 1752, and director of the Collegium Musicum in 1758. This position allowed him to write several important theoretical treatises, including the Art of Fugue and the Musical Offering. He died in Leipzig in 1750.
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When Was Classical Music Invented: The birth of classical music
In the early Middle Ages, there was no such thing as ‘classical music’. There were just songs sung by choirs, accompanied by instruments like harps, lutes, violins and trumpets. But by the late 13th century, composers began to write down what they heard, and soon the earliest surviving pieces of music – including some of the oldest known musical notation – were being written. They are called Gregorian chant, because Pope Gregory IX commissioned them. In fact, he wanted them to become the basis for a new style of church singing, one that could replace the polyphonic chanting of the Roman Catholic liturgy.
But how did we get here? And why do we still celebrate the anniversary of the day that music changed forever?
This early Christian music, derived mostly from Greek songs and from chants used in synagogues and Jewish temples, had evolved into what are called plainsongs, plainchant or Gregorians chant, the traditional music used in the Western church. Plainchant is a single melodic line often sung without accompaniment. Its origins go back to the fifth century, when it emerged as part of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Thereafter, it became the basis of the musical tradition known as Gregorian chant.
One major difference between Baroque music and the classical era that followed it is that the types of instruments used in Baroque ensembles were much less standardized.
The invention of music notation
Guido d’Arezzo is generally credited with the invention of modern Western music notation. His work was published around 1250 CE and became widely known during the Renaissance. In his book “Musica enchiriadis”, he introduced the concept of a vertical staff divided into seven parts, each representing a different octave. This allowed musicians to easily identify the pitches of the notes.
The rules of harmony
Harmony is the science of combining musical sounds together to make pleasing combinations, such as chords. In the Middle Ages, the church used plainsongs (unison) as a way to sing the psalms. But there are many different kinds of plainsongs, each suited to certain types of congregations. For instance, some plainsongs are sung in parallel lines, where everyone sings the same pitch; others are sung in antiphonal style, where the congregation alternates between singing high and low parts.
Secular music: the troubadours
The troubadours are often considered to have been the precursors of the renaissance. They were poets and musicians who travelled throughout Europe singing songs of love and romance. Their work was passed down orally, but it survived in written form thanks to monks copying out manuscripts.
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