Ancient Egypt: 3150 BC
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. It is one of six civilizations globally to arise independently. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Sumer: at least 2500 BC
Sumer was one of the ancient civilizations and historical regions in southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze ages. Although the earliest specimens of writing in the region do not go back much further than c. 2500 BC, modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC by a people who spoke the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc., as evidence).
Assyria c. 1250 BC to 612 BC
Assyria, a major Mesopotamian East Semitic kingdom and empire of the Ancient Near East, existed as an independent state for a period of approximately six centuries from c. 1250 BC to 612 BC, spanning the Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. For a further thirteen centuries, from the end of the 7th century BC to the mid-7th century AD, it survived as a geo-political entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers. Centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia (modern northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey) the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times. There is no definite way to know how to read or perform the song below. The video shows a plausible interpretation.
Ancient Jewish Music
The earliest synagogal music was based on the same system as that used in the Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, Joshua ben Hananiah, who had served in the sanctuary Levitical choir, told how the choristers went to the synagogue from the orchestra by the altar (Talmud, Suk. 53a), and so participated in both services.
Biblical and contemporary sources mention the following instruments that were used in the ancient Temple:
the Nevel, a 12-stringed harp;
the Kinnor, a lyre with 10 strings;
the Shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn;
the chatzutzera, or trumpet, made of silver;
the tof or small drum;
the metziltayim, or cymbal;
the paamon or bell;
the halil or big flute.
According to the Mishna, the regular Temple orchestra consisted of twelve instruments, and the choir of twelve male singers.
A number of additional instruments were known to the ancient Hebrews, though they were not included in the regular orchestra of the Temple: the uggav (small flute), the abbuv (a reed flute or oboe-like instrument).
After the destruction of the Temple and the subsequent diaspora of the Jewish people, there was a feeling of great loss among the people. At the time, a consensus developed that all music and singing would be banned; this was codified as a rule by some early Jewish rabbinic authorities. However, the ban on singing and music, although not formally lifted by any council, soon became understood as only a ban outside of religious services. Within the synagogue the custom of singing soon re-emerged. In later years, the practice became to allow singing for feasts celebrating religious life-cycle events such as weddings, and over time the formal ban against singing and performing music lost its force altogether.
Ancient Greece 8th – 6th centuries BC
Ancient Greece was a civilization that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered as the cradle of Western civilization.
Celtic music is a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. There is tremendous variation between Celtic regions. Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany have living traditions of language and music, and there has been a recent major revival of interest in Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man.
Ancient Rome was a civilization that began on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world’s population and covering 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million sq mi) during its height between the first and second centuries AD.
Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Southern and Western Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa, and parts of Northern and Eastern Europe. Rome was preponderant throughout the Mediterranean region and was one of the most powerful entities of the ancient world. It is often grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world.
Ghana Traditional Music
The traditional musicology of Ghana may be divided geographically between the open and vast savanna country of northern Ghana inhabited by Ghanaians of Gur and Mande speaking groups; and the fertile, forested southern coastal areas, inhabited by Ghanaians speaking Kwa languages such as Akan.
The northern musical traditions belong to the wider Sahelian musical traditions. It features a mix of melodic composition on stringed instruments such as the kologo lute and the gonjey fiddle, wind instruments such as flutes and horns, and voice; with polyrhythms clapped or played on the talking drum, gourd drums or brekete bass drums. The tradition of gyil music (balafon) is also common, especially in northwestern Ghana around Wa and Lawra. Music in the northern styles is mostly set to a minor pentatonic or chromatic scale and melisma plays an important part in melodic and vocal styles. There is a long history of either griot or praise-singing traditions.
The music of the coast is associated with social functions, and relies on complex polyrhythmic patterns played by drums and bells as well as harmonized song. Drums and dance are often linked, and the tradition of royal talking drums fontomfrom (distinct from the northern talking drum) means music is widely used for communication of both tangible and esoteric topics. The most well known of southern Ghanaian drum traditions is the kete and adowa drum and bell ensembles. Music can also be linked to traditional religions. An exception to this rule is the Akan tradition of singing with the Seperewa harp-lute which had its origins in the stringed harps of the north and west.
Mayan Culture prior to 2000 BC – 17th century
The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization noted for the Maya hieroglyphic script, the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. The Archaic period, prior to 2000 BC, saw the first developments in agriculture and the earliest villages. The Preclassic period (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD) saw the establishment of the first complex societies in the Maya region, and the cultivation of the staple crops of the Maya diet, including maize, beans, squashes, and chili peppers. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC, and by 500 BC these cities possessed monumental architecture, including large temples with elaborate stucco façades. Hieroglyphic writing was being used in the Maya region by the 3rd century BC. In the Late Preclassic a number of large cities developed in the Petén Basin, and Kaminaljuyu rose to prominence in the Guatemalan Highlands. Beginning around 250 AD, the Classic period is largely defined as when the Maya were raising sculpted monuments with Long Count dates. This period saw the Maya civilization develop a large number of city-states linked by a complex trade network. In the Maya Lowlands two great rivals, Tikal and Calakmul, became powerful. The Classic period also saw the intrusive intervention of the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan in Maya dynastic politics. In the 9th century, there was a widespread political collapse in the central Maya region, resulting in internecine warfare, the abandonment of cities, and a northward shift of population. The Postclassic period saw the rise of Chichen Itza in the north, and the expansion of the aggressive K’iche’ kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire colonised the Mesoamerican region, and a lengthy series of campaigns saw the fall of the last Maya city in 1697.
Native American Music
Singing and percussion are the most important aspects of traditional Native American music. Vocalization takes many forms, ranging from solo and choral song to responsorial, unison and multipart singing. Percussion, especially drums and rattles, are common accompaniment to keep the rhythm steady for the singers, who generally use their native language or non-lexical vocables (nonsense syllables). Traditional music usually begins with slow and steady beats that grow gradually faster and more emphatic, while various flourishes like drum and rattle tremolos, shouts and accented patterns add variety and signal changes in performance for singers and dancers.
The music of Tibet reflects the cultural heritage of the trans-Himalayan region, centered in Tibet but also known wherever ethnic Tibetan groups are found in Nepal, Bhutan, India and further abroad. First and foremost Tibetan music is religious music, reflecting the profound influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the culture.
Andean music is a group of styles of music from the Andes region in South America. Original chants and melodies come from the general area inhabited by Quechuas, Aymaras and other peoples who lived roughly in the area of the Inca Empire prior to European contact. This early music then was fused with Spanish music elements. It includes folklore music of parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. Andean music is popular to different degrees across Latin America, having its core public in rural areas and among indigenous populations. The Nueva Canción movement of the 70s revived the genre across Latin America and brought it to places where it was unknown or forgotten.
Troubadours: High Middle Ages (1100–1350)
A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100–1350). Since the word troubadour is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz. The troubadour school or tradition began in the late 11th century in Occitania, but it subsequently spread into Italy and Spain. Under the influence of the troubadours, related movements sprang up throughout Europe: the Minnesang in Germany, trovadorismo in Galicia and Portugal, and that of the trouvères in northern France. Dante Alighieri in his De vulgari eloquentia defined the troubadour lyric as fictio rethorica musicaque poita: rhetorical, musical, and poetical fiction. After the “classical” period around the turn of the 13th century and a mid-century resurgence, the art of the troubadours declined in the 14th century and eventually died out around the time of the Black Death (1348). The texts of troubadour songs deal mainly with themes of chivalry and courtly love. Most were metaphysical, intellectual, and formulaic. Many were humorous or vulgar satires.
Cathar Music: 12th- 13th centuries
The principal legacy of the Cathar movement is in the poems and songs of the Cathar troubadours (see troubadours above).
Middle Ages: 5th-15th centuries
Medieval music is Western music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century. The motet developed from the clausula genre of medieval plainchant and would become the most popular form of medieval polyphony. While early motets were liturgical or sacred, by the end of the thirteenth century the genre had expanded to include secular topics, such as courtly love.
Gregorian Chant: 9th-10th centuries
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form unaccompanied sacred song of the western Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions. Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant.
Arabic Traditional Music
Arabic music has a long history of interaction with many other regional musical styles and genres. It is an amalgam of the music of the Arab people in the Arabian Peninsula and the music of all the peoples that make up the Arab world today. As was the case in other artistic and scientific fields, Arabs translated Greek texts and works of music and developed the musical theory of the Greeks.
By the 11th century, Islamic Iberia had become a center for the manufacture of instruments. These goods spread gradually throughout France, influencing French troubadours, and eventually reaching the rest of Europe. The English words lute, rebec, and naker are derived from Arabic oud, rabab, and nagqara.
Central to crusading ethics are the military orders, particularly the Hospitallers and the Templars. To a modern sensibility it is strange that the church could reconcile monasticism with soldiering. Both the Hospitallers and the Templars became international organisations with depots located across the countries of Western Europe as well as in the East. In contrast the Teutonic knights successfully moved their attentions to the Baltic and the Spanish military orders of Santiago, Calatrava and Alcantara concentrated on the Iberian Peninsula. The Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem were founded in 1099 in the aftermath of the first crusade. The order included military, medical and pastoral brothers. The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon were founded in 1118 to protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem. However, they quickly became immensely rich and powerful through banking and real estate with property throughout Christendom.
Knights Templar: Active c. 1119–1312
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of Solomon’s Temple (French: Ordre du Temple or Templiers) or simply as Templars, were among the most wealthy and powerful of the Western Christian military orders.
Saltarello: 14th Century
The saltarello is a musical dance form originally from Italy. The first mention of it is in a fourteenth-century manuscript probably of Tuscan origin, now in the British Library. It was played in a fast triple meter and is named for its peculiar leaping step, after the Italian verb saltare (“to jump”).
Basse Dance: 15th -16th Centuries
Popular court dance in the 15th and early 16th centuries. The word basse describes the nature of the dance, in which partners move quietly and gracefully in a slow gliding or walking motion without leaving the floor, while in livelier dances both feet left the floor in jumps or leaps.
Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance, and was followed in turn by the Classical era. The word “baroque” comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning misshapen pearl, a negative description of the ornate and heavily ornamented music of this period. Later, the name came to apply also to the architecture of the same period. Baroque music expanded the size, range, and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established opera, cantata, oratorio, concerto, and sonata as musical genres.
Henry Purcell 1659 – 1695
Purcell was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell’s legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers.
Handel 1685 – 1759
George Frideric Handel was a German-born British Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Within fifteen years, Handel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey in London. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and historically informed musical performance, interest in Handel’s operas has grown.
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi 1678 – 1741
Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and cleric. Born in Venice, he is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He is known mainly for composing many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.
Johann Sebastian Bach 1685 – 1750
Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.
The Classical Period: 1750-1820
The dates of the Classical period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1820. However, the term classical music is used in a colloquial sense as a synonym for Western art music, which describes a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or seventeenth to the nineteenth.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 – 1791
Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of his death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence on subsequent Western art music is profound; Ludwig van Beethoven composed his own early works in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn wrote that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years.” Mozart was a Freemason. Mozart’s The Magic Flute is noted for its prominent Masonic elements, which can be seen in the scene below.
Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 – 1809
Haydn was a prominent and prolific Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”. Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate. Until the later part of his life, this isolated him from other composers and trends in music so that he was, as he put it, “forced to become original”. At the time of his death, aged 77, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe. Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn – himself a highly regarded composer – and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a friend of Mozart and a teacher of Beethoven.
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770 – 1827
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa solemnis), and songs.His moonlight sonata below is my personal favorite.
Franz Peter Schubert 1797 – 1828
Schubert was an Austrian composer. Schubert died at 31 but was extremely prolific during his lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades following his death. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century.
Gioachino Antonio Rossini 1792 – 1868
Rosini was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. His best-known operas include the Italian comedies Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola (Cinderella), and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, which led to the nickname “The Italian Mozart”. Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history. He is quoted as having joked, “Give me the laundress’ bill and I will set to music even that.
Johannes Brahms 1833 – 1897
Brahms was a German composer and pianist. Born in Hamburg into a Lutheran family, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. In his lifetime, Brahms’s popularity and influence were considerable. He is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the “Three Bs”, a comment originally made by the nineteenth-century conductor Hans von Bülow.
Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works. He worked with some of the leading performers of his time, including the pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim (the three were close friends). Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire. Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed some of his works and left others unpublished.
Brahms is often considered both a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and Classical masters. He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined art for which Johann Sebastian Bach is famous, and of development, a compositional ethos pioneered by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and other composers. Brahms aimed to honour the “purity” of these venerable “German” structures and advance them into a Romantic idiom, in the process creating bold new approaches to harmony and melody. While many contemporaries found his music too academic, his contribution and craftsmanship have been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as Arnold Schoenberg and Edward Elgar. The diligent, highly constructed nature of Brahms’s works was a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers. Within his meticulous structures is embedded, however, a highly romantic nature.
Romantic Era late 18th or early 19th century
Romantic music is a term denoting an era of Western classical music that began in the late 18th or early 19th century. It was related to Romanticism, the European artistic and literary movement that arose in the second half of the 18th century, and Romantic music in particular dominated the Romantic movement in Germany.
Characteristics often attributed to Romanticism, including musical Romanticism, are: a new preoccupation with and surrender to Nature, a fascination with the past, particularly the Middle Ages and legends of medieval chivalry, a turn towards the mystic and supernatural, both religious and merely spooky, a longing for the infinite, mysterious connotations of remoteness, the unusual and fabulous, the strange and surprising, a focus on the nocturnal, the ghostly, the frightful, and terrifying, fantastic seeing and spiritual experiences, a new attention given to national identity, emphasis on extreme subjectivism, interest in the autobiographical, and discontent with musical formulas and conventions.
Felix Mendelssohn 1809 – 1847, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalise on his talent. Mendelssohn enjoyed early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in his travels throughout Europe. He was particularly well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there – during which many of his major works were premiered – form an important part of his adult career. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. His Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions.
Robert Schumann 1810 – 1856
Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing. Schumann’s published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder (songs for voice and piano); four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works.
Franz Liszt 1811 – 1886
Liszt was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, teacher and Franciscan tertiary. Liszt gained renown in Europe during the early nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age, and in the 1840s he was considered to be the greatest pianist of all time. Liszt was also a well-known and influential composer, piano teacher and conductor. He was a benefactor to other composers, including Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg and Alexander Borodin. He left behind an extensive and diverse body of work in which he influenced his forward-looking contemporaries and anticipated some 20th-century ideas and trends. Some of his most notable contributions were the invention of the symphonic poem, developing the concept of thematic transformation as part of his experiments in musical form and making radical departures in harmony. He also played an important role in popularizing a wide array of music by transcribing it for piano.
Giuseppe Verdi 1813 – 1901
Verdi was an Italian composer of operas. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him, becoming one of the pre-eminent opera composers of the late nineteenth century. In his early operas Verdi demonstrated a sympathy with the Risorgimento movement which sought the unification of Italy. He also participated briefly as an elected politician. The chorus “Va, pensiero” from his early opera Nabucco (1842), and similar choruses in later operas, were much in the spirit of the unification movement, and the composer himself became esteemed as a representative of these ideals.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1840 – 1893
Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of these are among the most popular theatrical music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which he bolstered with appearances as a guest conductor later in his career in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.
Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time, and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement. Tchaikovsky’s training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood. From this reconciliation, he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style—a task that did not prove easy. The principles that governed melody, harmony and other fundamentals of Russian music ran completely counter to those that governed Western European music; this seemed to defeat the potential for using Russian music in large-scale Western composition or from forming a composite style, and it caused personal antipathies that dented Tchaikovsky’s self-confidence. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart increasingly since the time of Peter the Great. This resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country’s national identity—an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky’s career.
Edvard Hagerup Grieg 1843 – 1907
Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is widely considered one of the leading Romantic era composers, and his music is part of the standard classical repertoire worldwide. His use and development of Norwegian folk music in his own compositions put the music of Norway in the international spectrum, as well as helping to develop a national identity.