Folk, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentienth Century, Modern, and Pop Music
The folk music of a culture is music that is passed down from one generation to the next, often without writing it down. It includes many different kinds of music: lullabies and children's singing games, tunes that everyone enjoys singing together or dancing to, songs for celebrations, ceremonies, and holidays. Folk music can gradually change as it gets passed along. Usually nobody remembers who originally wrote it, or who changed it, and there may be more than one version of it around. Since ancient times, folk music has been the music of ordinary people, not the ruling class or professional musicians. In every culture, children learned and remembered the music that everyone enjoyed the most, and the music that was important to their traditions and ceremonies.
Extravagant, ornamented, fancy, irregular... These are all adjectives that describe the music of the Baroque period- a period in which the art and architecture in the world was also very ornate and fancy. The Baroque Era brought monumental changes to instrumental music. During this time, instrumental music became just as important as vocal music both in quality and quantity, as many new developments occurred in the instrumental world.
Keyboard music for the harpsichord was also a focus of compositions- there were many composers of the time that were amazing keyboardists. Bach was an example of a master composer of the Baroque who wrote very fancy-sounding keyboard music.
Music of the Classical period was also very structured and emotions were controlled. It was tuneful and simple.
The Classical period wanted balance and contrast. This was achieved using form. Music was not to be too loud or too soft, too fast or too slow. Nothing was done in the extreme. Control was more important than strong emotions.
The sonata and the symphony were the popular musical forms during this time.
Famous composers during this time included Mozart and Beethoven. The classical period ended when Beethoven died in 1827.
Romanticism aspires to transcend immediate times or occasions, to reach back into the past and forward into the future. As against the classic ideals of order, equilibrium, control, and perfection within acknowledged limits, Romanticism cherishes freedom, movement, passion, and endless pursuit of the unattainable. It is this aspect which, perhaps, gives music of the Romantic Era its sense of longing, and heightened emotions. This impatience of limits leads to a breaking down of distinctions. The personality of the artists tends to become merged with the work of art; classical clarity is replaced by a certain intentional obscurity, definite statement by suggestion, allusion, or symbol. "Its incomparable power of suggestion which works on the mind directly, without the mediation of words, made it the dominant art, the one most representative of the 19th century".
In the Romantic era, music acquired poetic or philosophical meaning. Antiquity, folklore, history and exotic cultures were examined as possible sources of inspiration.
Twentieth Century MusicWith the coming of the 20th century, another evolution in the musical world emerged. While some of the early 20th century music can be seen as extensions of the late Romantic style, much of the music in this period can be seen as a rebellion. Composers did not look to build on what was standard but again created music freely and used sounds that went against the current grain. Twentieth century music can be described as being more refined, vague in form, delicate, and having a mysterious atmosphere.
Modern/ Pop Music
In the late 1950's that the idea of using tape to create a stand alone artistic work became more and more prevalent. However, it was with the studio recordings of the Beatles where the full use of multi-track recording and layering became common to popular music. The creation of this recording process transformed pop music.
The term pop music can refer to a specific kind of popular music. Popular music is also a general term for any type of music that is or has been a top seller. This includes most types of rock music and many kinds of jazz.