Here is a list of music history resources.
Origin and History of Music
There are six periods of music and each has a style that contributed to the music we listen to today.
The Middle Ages, which is the 6th-century to the 16th-century, was called Medieval. During this time, the monophonic and the polyphonic were the two music styles. The main forms of music included Gregorian chanting and Plainchant. Plainchant is church music that has no instrumental accompaniment and only has chanting or singing. For a period, it was the only type of music allowed in Christian churches.
The next period is called the Renaissance, which means "rebirth." By the 16th-century, the Church's investment in the arts deflated. Composers during the Renaissance Period brought many changes in the way music was created and perceived. For example, musicians experimented with cantus firmus, began using instrumentals more and created more elaborate music forms that included up to 6 voice parts.
The word "baroque" comes from the Italian word "barocco" which means bizarre. The Baroque period was a time when composers experimented with form, musical contrasts, styles and instruments. This period saw the development of great music that formed Operas and Instrumental pieces. Music became homophonic, meaning a melody would be supported by a harmony. Instruments featured in Baroque period compositions included the violin, viola, double bass, harp, and the oboe. The Baroque period in music history refers to the styles of the 17th and 18th-centuries. The High Baroque period lasted from 1700 to 1750, during which Italian opera was more dramatic and expansive.
The music forms and styles of the Classical period, which spans from 1750 to 1820, is characterized by simpler melodies and forms such as the sonatas. During this time, the middle class had more access to music, not just the highly educated aristocrats. To reflect this shift, composers wanted to create music that was less complicated and easier to understand. The piano was the primary instrument used by composers during this period. Mozart wrote his first symphony and Beethoven was born.
Historiographers define the Romantic period to be between 1800 to 1900. Music forms of this period used music to tell a story or express an idea and the expanded on the use of various instruments including wind instruments. Instruments that were invented or improved upon during this time included the flute and saxaphone. Melodies became fuller and more dramatic as Romantics believed in allowing their imagination and intense emotion to soar through their works. By the mid-19th-century, folk music became popular among the Romantics, and more emphasis was put on nationalist themes.
Music during the 20th-century brought about many innovations on how music was performed and appreciated. Artists were more willing to experiment with new music forms and used technology to enhance their compositions. Early electronic instruments included the dynamophone, Theremin, and Ondes-Martnot.