The history of music

Music takes very different forms depending on the place and time in which it was composed. From sacred music in the Middle Ages to contemporary electronic music, through opera and classical music, history has recorded the names of great composers who have left their mark on music.


earphones music


The origins of music


Music is an art that has existed since prehistoric times. It is known that -2000 years B.C., was already used the lyre, the harp and the aulos (an instrument of the flute family). 


From the 6th century B.C., music began to be part of the educational system. 


During ancient Rome, music still held an important place, even though the Romans were less creative than the Greeks. With the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire, music lost its importance in the culture because the church was hostile to theatrical music and pagan festivals. Thus, during the high Middle Ages, the music composed was mainly religious.


Gregorian chant appeared in the 8th century under the reign of Charlemagne. This song owes its name to Pope Gregory the Great, who lived in the 6th century and reformed the liturgy, i.e. the worship of God.


music notes


The musical notes that are still used today were invented in 1027 by the musician monk Guido of Arezzo. He was inspired by the words of the Hymn to St. John the Baptist by Paul Diacon to give a name to his notes. He then uses the first syllable of each verse. He results : 


  • UT queant laxis
  • REsonare fibris
  • MIra gestorum
  • FAmuli tuorum
  • SOLve polluti
  • LAbii reatum

This gives : UT - RE - MI - FA - SOL - LA . Note that the scale then had only six notes. The SI was added in the 16th century. And the UT, too difficult to pronounce, was replaced by the DO between the 16th and 17th centuries. Before the invention of these notes, the notes were named with alphabetical letters: A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Nowadays, some countries still use these letters to name the notes of music, it is notably the case of the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic countries.


Baroque music


Baroque music appeared at the end of the Renaissance period, around 1600. Among the composers of Baroque music is Claudio Monteverdi, who is often considered the composer who made the transition from Renaissance to Baroque music. He was one of the first great composers of opera.


The period of baroque music has known great names, such as :


  • Jean-Baptiste Lully, (1632 - 1687), musician for Louis XIV. He composed a number of scores for Molière's plays.
  • Antonio Vivaldi, (1678 - 1741), often called the redheaded priest by his contemporaries, was a true violin virtuoso.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach, (1685 - 1750), he came from a great family of musicians.
  • Georg Friedrich Haendel, (1685 - 1759), born the same year as Bach, he inspired many artists and Beethoven considered him the greatest of composers.


Classical music


classical music



Classical music appeared around 1750 until 1820. Famous composers distinguished themselves during this period. One finds in particular :


  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)


Romantic music


Romantic music appeared around 1820. It is the music belonging to the romantic period. Among the composers of this music we find for example :


  • Franz Peter Schubert, (1797 - 1828), was a very prolific musician as he composed more than 1000 songs while he died at the age of 31.
  • Frederic Chopin (1810 - 1849)
  • Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869), in addition to his life as a musician, earned his living by writing music reviews in gazettes.
  • Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893), it is mainly him who popularized the music of ballet.



Modern music


Modern music began around 1900. The following composers have characterized this period:


  • Claude Debussy, (1862 - 1918)
  • Erik Satie (1866 - 1925), very good friend of Debussy
  • Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)


Music in the United States


music jazz



At the same time, a new musical genre appeared in the United States, around 1900, called Ragtime. It is a musical style originating from the Afro-American community. Scott Joplin (1867 - 1917), is the composer who made this style of music famous.


At the same time appears the Blues, vocal and instrumental music, also originating from the Afro-American community.


From the fusion of ragtime and blues was born Jazz around 1920. 


Rock'n'Roll appeared in the 1940s, then Rock in the 1950s.


In 1949, it was the launching of the 45 rpm vinyl records. From there it is the explosion of the musical genres and the known artists.