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According to one school of thought, musical works are best understood in the context of their place in musical history; for adherents to this approach, this is essential to full enjoyment of these works. There is a widely accepted system of dividing the history of Classical Music composition into stylistic periods. According to this system, the major time divisions are:

Ancient music - the music generally before the year 476, the approximate time of the fall of the Roman Empire. Most of the extant music from this period is from ancient Greece.

Medieval, generally before 1450. Monophonic chant, also called plainsong or Gregorian Chant, was the dominant form until about 1100. Polyphonic (multi-voiced) music developed from monophonic chant throughout the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.

Renaissance, about 1450 - 1600, characterized by greater use of instrumentation, multiple melodic lines and by the use of the first bass instruments.

Baroque, about 1600 - 1750, characterized by the use of complex tonal, rather than modal, counterpoint, and growing popularity of keyboard music (harpsichord and pipe organ).

Classical, about 1750 - 1820, an important era which established many of the norms of composition, presentation and style. Also, the classical era is marked by the disappearance of the harpsichord and the clavichord in favour of the piano, which from then on would become the predominant instrument for keyboard performance and composition.

Romantic, 1820 - 1910, a period which codified practice, expanded the role of music in cultural life and created institutions for the teaching, performance and preservation of works of music. Characterized by increased attention to melody and rhythm, as well as expressive and emotional elements, paralleling romanticism in other art forms.

Impressionist music, 1910-1920, a period in which French composers as well as artists produced art that went against the traditional German ways of art and music. Characterized by arrhythmia, the pentatonic scale, long, flowing phrases and a use of brass instruments as the main parts in creating the texture, rather than stringed instruments.

Modern, 1905-1985, a period which represented a crisis in the values of classical music and its role within intellectual life, and the extension of theory and technique. Some theorists, such as Arnold Schoenberg in his essay "Brahms the Progressive," insist that Modernism represents a logical progression from 19th century trends in composition; others hold the opposing point of view, that Modernism represents the rejection or negation of the method of Classical composition.

20th century, usually used to describe the wide variety of post-Romantic styles composed through the year 1999, which includes late Romantic, Modern and Postmodern styles of composition.

The term contemporary music is sometimes used to describe music composed in the late 20th century through present day

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โˆ™ 2014-05-14 15:43:27
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