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The History of Music

When discussing historical periods in music, it is common practice to assemble the output of a century under one heading in order to analyze the various styles. Approximately a hundred years of development are considered as a single experience-the Baroque (17th century), Classical (18th century) and Romantic (19th century) Periods, for example. The 20th century does not yet have an "official" subtitle and compositions of the 21st century are typically referred to as contemporary music. There are old, new, and a blending of styles within every era, and it seems to become more complicated with each new century.

There is always a renaissance or a "looking back" in all centuries, but it is the prospect of moving forward that typically captures the interest of new composers. We must be open to new styles, new ideas and new sounds. It's easy to feel resistent to music written by an unfamiliar composer or a composer born after 1900, but try not to automatically assume that a work will be unenjoyable just because it was written in the 20th or 21st centuries. It is telling to recall that even though we enthusiastically applaud the music of Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin and Mozart, to name only a few, they were not always well-received by general audiences and critics during their respective lifetimes. They often encountered negative reactions and reviews because their music was perceived as too dissonant or too different in the context of current trends. Of course, this has always been true of artistic culture in all centuries.

Classical music can be fun, approachable and very entertaining. It engages all of your senses and invokes your inner emotions. Listen, and be prepared for a myriad of memorable experiences.


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