Eras of Music

History of Music in 60 minutes

Just a quick introduction to the eras and composers of classical music. Perhaps you could google some of these famous names to find out more about them and their music,

Plainchant with Numes

Medival – 800 to 1400

Léonin, Pérotin, Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut.

Plainsong, Gregorian Chant (a type of Plainsong), Organum, Liturgical drama/Religious drama, Troubadour songs



Resaissance – 1440 to 1600 

Tallis, Dowland, Palestrina

Robin Hood (men in tights!), Lutes, recorders, Lots of Singing, Madrigals (“fa la la la la” chorus, Viols, Consort instruments, Lute Song

Mass, Motet – sung in Latin 

Baroque – 1600 to 1750

J.S. Bach

Purcell, Bach, Vivaldi, (The Four Seasons) Handel (Messiah) Counterpoint, HARPSICHORD, the music is very ornate and intricate, vocal music is often religious. The piano is not invented yet.

The Fugue, Concerto Grosso, Opera, Oratorio, Passion, The Suite


Classical – 1750 to 1820 

Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Symphony – Orchestra, the piano is invented. Music is very formal and structured – think of architecture – everything is in the correct place. Clear tune/accomp. The birth of the piano.

The Sonata, Symphony, Concerto, Opera.

Romantic 1820 – 1900


Berlioz, Chopin , Schubert, expressing human emotion, feelings, moods, music often told stories and had programmes. Large Orchestra – lots of instruments, lots of vibrato – saxophone may appear. The development of the piano.

Composers stop being owned by people – freedom – loads of dynamics


20th Century (“Modern Music”) 

Stravinsky, Britten, Copland, Cage – Experimentation – breaking rules, dissonance. Sounds very weird, Electronics – Jazz, Pop, Rock, Latin American, Folk music (Scottish – Reel, Strathspey, Jig), Caribbean (Calypso), Blues, R&B, Ragtime, Gamelan, Rap

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