--- Jesse Raccio <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >

"Western art music itself has not existed that long
unless you can show me otherwise ... But the western
art form of art music, which is the dominant tradition
in my society and is the one I myself practice, has
really only been around since the Renaissance."

It is an old-fashioned idea, that western music
history begins with, say, Palestrina or Monteverdi.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Renaissance begins in
1400 rather than in 1500, which would make Western art
music history 600 years old, instead of 500...
Now, you didn't answer my question: what about the
others I mentioned? Just a few names: Hildegard von
Bingen, Perotinus, Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de
Machaut, Francesco Landini, Mateo da Perugia... What
about them and numerous others? Aren't their works
serious in your opinion, were they just toying around
in music land?

Certainly, there are differences. Mediaeval music, for
example, is seldom idiomatic. But is that reason
enough to exclude it from western music history?
Gregorian chant goes back to the early Middle Ages,
the first traces of polyphony can be found in the 10th
century, in the 12th century we see the first
compositions, in this sense that they were more than
just Gregorian with a few additions.
The first real composer in history was Guillaume de
Machaut: he sat down and wrote pieces, had them
performed by others and gave them instructions about
how to follow the score, took care to preserve this
works for future generations, and was widely acclaimed
for his them. His religious compositions (motets,
mass) are wonders of architecture, far more
complicated than similar works from the early
Renaissance or the Early Baroque (not to speak about
Mozart c.s.), while his chansons are masterpieces of
beauty and subtlety.

If you don't know music from the 13th and 14th
century, I suggest you to buy or borrow something and
take a close look at it. I just can't believe that
afterwards you will still say western music history
starts with de Renaissance.


"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." --- J. Michael Straczynski

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