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Examination of Music History

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become." - W.H. Auden. This quote best explains the complex art of music. Music is an elaborate art form that will always remain ever changing. Music developed drastically from it's beginning in the Prehistoric era to the 14th Century.

The exact origin of music is unknown. It is known that music was used in prehistoric times in magical or spiritual rituals but no other use is known. This knowledge is borne out of the fact that music still forms a vital part of most religious ceremonies today.

The history of Greek music is problematic. Although there are frequent references to musical performance in Greek manuscripts, there are less than twelve fragments of actual Greek music, including both vocal and instrumental music, that have survived. It is impossible to fully understand the notation to make an authentic performance.

For the Greeks, music was of divine origin. According to Greek mythology, the gods themselves invented music and it's instruments. Many of the early myths told of the powerful effects of music. Music played an important part in both the public and private lives of the Greeks. They believed it could deeply affect human behavior. Greek music was built up of a series of distinct modes, each with it's own name. According to the doctrine of ethos, each mode was so powerful that it gave music the ability to influence human actions in a precise way. The Phrygian mode expressed passionate and intimate emotions, where as the Dorian mode produced forceful, rigid feelings.

In later Greek history the doctrine of ethos was widely argued by the most philosophical of men. Plato and Aristotle both had broadly different views on the power and importance of music. The persocratic philosopher Pythagoras was even interested enough in music to develop the numerical octave system that we still use today. The Classical Greeks used music in much of their drama and by the time Greece was made a Roman province, music dominated dramatic performances and social activities.

There is not a great deal of original Roman music. Most of the music that did come out of the Roman era was derived from the Greeks. Despite this, there was definite musical activity in the later Roman Empire. An ample amount of evidence survived for instruments and a good deal of theory also. But...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   Art And Music

Length:   5 pages (1,206 words)

Views:   1538

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