Music History Style Periods (broad generalizations) William Wieland
 
Middle Ages
(476–1450)
Renaissance
(1450–1600)
Baroque Period
(1600–1750)
Classical Period
(1750–1820)
Romantic Period
(1820–1900)
Modern Era
(1900–today)
Performers: Mostly Sacred Vocal Music Survives Singers & Some
Instruments (Recorders,
Lutes, Organs, Viols...)
Modern Strings,
Winds like today,
Basso Continuo,
Harpsichords, & Singers
String Quartets, Chamber
Orchestras (+ Clarinets),
Pianos, & Singers
Chamber Ensembles,
Symphony Orchestras,
& Singers
All + Saxophones, More
Percussion, Electronics, &
Non-western Instruments
Notation: First Written Music Printed Music Figured Bass Standard Standard Some New Notation
Pitch: Pythagorean Tuning Just Intonation Mean-tone Temperament Equal Temperament Equal Temperament All + Microtones
Dynamics: No Indications First Markings Terraced Dynamics Cresc. & Dim. Extremes All
Texture: Monophony &
First Polyphony
Polyphony (4 to 6
independent parts)
& Monophony
Melody, Bass, & Chords
as well as Polyphony
Mostly Homophony
(Melody &
Accompaniment)
Mostly Homophony
(Melody &
Accompaniment)
All
Rhythm: Natural Breathing, Words, Rhythmic Modes Gentle Flow &
Steady Pulse
Clear Time Signatures
(or complete freedom!)
Unity
Clear Meter
Variety
Rubato All + Assymetry
& Polyrhythm
Scales: Modes
(solfčge invented)
Modes plus Musica Ficta Major & Minor Major & Minor Major & Minor All + Whole Tone,
Blues, & Octatonic
Melody: Mostly Conjunct Mostly Conjunct Sequences &
Ornamentation
Like Popular Song
(Tuneful & Memorable)
Wide Ranges, Leitmotifs,
Thematic Transformation
All
Harmony: Many Perfect Intervals
Consonance:Dissonance
about 3:1
Major & Minor Triads
Consonance:Dissonance
about 4:1
Triads & 7th Chords,
Tonic & Dominant,
Figured Bass
Slow Harmonic Rhythm
& Closely Related Keys
Remote Modulations &
More Dissonance
All + Polychords, Quartal
& Quintal Chords, Tone
Clusters, and Atonality
Forms: Chant Masses, Motets,
and Ballades
Masses, Motets,
and Madrigals
Suites, Fugues, Operas,
Oratorios, Cantatas,
Binary, Ternary, Ritornello
Symphonies, Concertos,
Operas, Sonatas,
Rondos, Minuet & Trio
Symphonies, Tone Poems,
Art Songs, Song Cycles,
Operas, Character Pieces
All
General: Solemn Worship &
Relaxed Spaciousness
Purity, Rationalism,
Imitation, & Humanism
One Mood per Piece,
Frequent Ornaments, &
Continuous Movement
Balance, Proportion,
Symmetry, Clarity,
Elegance, Transparency,
& Noble Simplicity
Emotion, Longing,
Freedom, Individuality,
Nationalism, & Nature
Diversity—Impressionism,
Expressionism, Primitivism,
Neoclassicism, Serialism,
Populism, Minimalism

(a few)
Composers:

(oldest to
youngest)
Bingen, Leonin, Pérotin, Machaut Dunstable, Dufay, Binchois, Josquin, Tallis, Palestrina, Lassus, Byrd, Victoria, Gabrieli, Gesualdo, Monteverdi (Gabrieli and Monteverdi are also Baroque.) Strozzi, Lully, Corelli, Purcell, Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Handel, Scarlatti (2) Bach's sons, Haydn (2), Clementi, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert (The last two are also Romantic.) Rossini, Berlioz, Mendelssohn (2), Chopin, Schumann (2), Liszt, Verdi, Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Bizet, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Grieg, Fauré, Elgar, Puccini, Mahler, Sibelius, Beach, Rachmaninoff Debussy, R. Strauss, Satie, Schoenberg, Ives, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, Copland, Shostakovich, Barber, Messiaen, Cage, Bernstein, Gubaidalina, Tower, Adams, Saariaho, Higdon, Adčs