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Join us for a little music education!

Copy of YPCO Music History.png

This is a trying time, and we miss playing music together as an orchestra.

Our weekly Zoom meetings have been a good way for us to stay in touch. 


For 8 Saturdays, starting June 27th, please join Rem and Ben for free Music History class. We welcome you to any or all of the sessions!

Please register to join us (and receive the Zoom link) for these Saturday 10am Sessions.

Want a preview of some of the music we'll be listing to? Here are our Listening Lists:


Medieval – ca. 500-1400  (June 27, 2020)

  • Main composers – Guillaume de Machaut, Hildegard of Bingen

  • Characteristics - Beginnings of modern music notation. Gregorian chant, Ars Antiqua, Ars Nova, beginnings of Polyphony

No Zoom Session on July 4, 2020

Renaissance – 1400-1600 (July 11, 2020)

  • Main composers – Josquin des Prez, Guillaume Dufay, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Giovanni Gabrieli, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

  • Characteristics – Polyphony becomes highly elaborate, dance forms become part of music. Music notation advances, and the invention of the printing press leads to music being widely distributed.

Baroque – 1600-1750 (July 18, 2020)

  • Main composers – Claudio Monteverdi, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, Jean- Baptiste Lully, Jean-Phillippe Rameau, Georg Philipp Telemann, Dietrich Buxtehude, Henry Purcell, Francois Couperin “Annus Mirabilis” – 1685 – Birth of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel and Domenico Scarlatti!

  • Characteristics – Additional complexity through use of sophisticated polyphony. Invention of opera. Beginnings of “equal temperament” – dividing the scale into 12 even tones, the system of intonation we use to this day.

Classical – 1750-1830 (July 25, 2020)

  • Major composers – Franz Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Characteristics – Clean, pure style – less polyphony and more focus on melody. Sonata form. Invention of new ensembles – String Quartet, Symphony, Piano Trio and the Concerto. Technological advances in instruments and new wind instruments introduced. Growth of the orchestra.

Romantic – 1830-1900 (August 1, 2020)

  • Major composers – Franz Schubert, Niccolo Paganini, Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Hector Berlioz, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner

  • Characteristics – less emphasis on pure Sonata form and more on free form music – Nocturnes, Fantasias and Rhapsodies. Virtuoso musicians – Paganinni, Chopin, Liszt and others became the rock stars of the day. Wider dynamic range and more colors in orchestration. More chromaticism than Classical era.

Late Romantic/Nationalism – ca. 1860-1930 (August 8, 2020)

  • Major composers – Antonin Dvorak, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anton Bruckner, Edvard Grieg, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Edward Elgar, Jan Sibelius, Modest Mussorgsky

  • Characteristics – Greatly increased chromaticism. Use of folk songs and music from the composer’s home country. Further growth of the orchestra reaching a pinnacle in Mahler’s 8th Symphony often called “Symphony of a Thousand”.

20th Century or Modern – 1900-2000 (August 15, 2020)

  • Major composers – Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, Charles Ives, Dimitri Shostakovich, Serge Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leos Janacek, Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams

  • Characteristics – Impressionism and Expressionism are two main movements at the beginning of the century. Use of polytonality, polyrhythms and invention of dodecaphonic or 12-tone music. Further growth of nationalism with some composers. Other composers turn to dissonance, complicated rhythms, and some look back to Romantic and Classical eras for inspiration.

Postmodern or Contemporary – 1950-2000 (August 22, 2020)

  • Major composers – Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Kristoff Penderecki, Gyorgy Ligeti, Pierre Boulez

  • Characteristics – Serial music (a growth of the 12-tone movement), chance music and the appearance of computer generated sounds.

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