Music Through The Ages: a Music History Timeline

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The History of Music
  3. Works Cited


New research charting broad shifts in changing personal music tastes during our lifetimes finds that – while it’s naturally linked to personality and experience – there are common music genre trends associated with key stages in a human life. The increase in music usage over the last century has made ‘what you listen to’ an important personality idea – as well as the root of many social and cultural tribes-and, for many people, their act is closely associated with musical choice. We would perhaps be unsure to admit that our taste in music changes as we get older.

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The History of Music

Our taste in music has changed over the years. Music goes back way before the 1800s, it started with medieval music, then baroque, then classical etc. then it went all the way to world music (e.g. Indian, African and West Indies, Scottish etc.) From the year 600-1200 was Medieval, 1400-1550 was Renaissance, 1600-1750 was Baroque, 1750-1850 was Classical and 1850-1900 was Romantic. In the early years and medieval times, where men were men and had to prove themselves. Their “worth” was beneficial on what they did and their honour.

Unlike today, they didn’t have lawyers, only the dungeon and the chopping block! The music composed during this era reflects the time well. For example, in Scotland the bagpipe can be traced back to exist in one form or another for about 3,000 years. Meanwhile in ancient Greek living the lyre (an early form of the modern lute) was used to convey one’s music. Even in 1225 one can read about how the musicians and music lovers argued about which animal’s guts made the best harp strings. Kind of like the way we argue about a device used to connect two things together and speaker cables of today!

The lyre was played with the right hand plucking the strings by hand, or by using a plectrum, while the left hand stopped the strings when wished. Well, of course the lyre is out of date and closer resembles the modern day lute than the harp. The music to this day is I feel is better than the past musical eras, for example 20th century (1900-2000), postmodern music (1975-present). Scientists proved that the taste in music DOES change over a lifetime, and even punk-loving teens will listen to classical music in middle age.

British scientists found tastes have changed in line with ‘key life challenges’. Teenagers like ‘intense’ music, while those people in early adulthood makes choices from a range of possibilities for ‘contemporary’ and ‘mellow’ choices as they search for close relationships. The study by the University of Cambridge, used information from more than a quarter of a million people over a 10 year period. Plenty of teenagers might claim they will love One Direction forever or will never want to borrow a classical CD from their parents, but British scientists have found certain music genres are associated with five key stages in a human life.

Music stays important to people as they age but what they listen to is chosen to suit particular ‘life challenges’ they face and meet social and psychological needs, the researchers said. They confirmed what many people have thought for a while teenagers have little taste in music and what we listen to gets more boring as we grow older. Now, a new study suggests that while our arrangement with it may decline. Music stays important to us as we get older, but the music we like gets used to the particular music that is around today.

Music in the middle ages Most of the music created after Rome fell was in order of the production of the church. The catholic religion has a long history of involvement (for better or worse) with the musical arts. In 600 CE Pope Gregory had the enclosure built for a choir. This was the first music school in Europe. Meanwhile in China, music was progressing also: it was reported that in 612 CE there were orchestras with hundreds of musicians performing for the various sorts of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field. Although the specific music from this period in China is unknown, the distinct style supposed to have developed there is reflected even in recent orchestral Asiatic pieces.

In 650 CE a new system of writing music was developed using “neumes” as a notation for groups or notes in music. 144 years after the enclosure built for a choir was built, the singing school opened in the building of Fuda, fuelling the interest in musical vocation. And by 790 CE, there were splinters of the music school in Paris, Cologne and Metz. In 800 CE the great unifier Charlemagne had poems and psalms set to music. In 850 CE Catholic musicians had a breakthrough by inventing the church “modes”.

The Renaissance On the dawn of the Renaissance in 1465 the printing press was first used to print music. By using a press a composer could organize his pieces and profit from them with great ease. In 1490 Boethius’s writings on opera were republished in Italian. With the onset of the Renaissance, the rules of music were about to change drastically. This was the beginning of a new enlightened age that would showcase of the greatest musical minds ever produced.

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The history of music at this point is best told by the styles that emerged and the composers who lived after the Renaissance. Music in Ancient Rome and Greece Greece was the root all Classical art, so it’s no coincidence that Classical music is rooted in the ancient Greek’s new method. In 600 BCE, framed mathematician Pythagoras dissected music as a science and developed the keystone of modern music: the octave scale. The importance of this event is obvious. Music was a passion of the Greeks. With their leisure time (thanks to slave labour) they were able to prepare land for gardening with great artistic skills. Trumpet competitions were common spectator events in Greece by 440 BCE.

Works Cited

  1. Boethius, A. M. (1995). The Consolation of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  2. Cook, N. (2000). Music: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  3. DeNora, T. (2000). Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge University Press.
  4. Levitin, D. J. (2006). This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton.
  5. Middleton, R. (2002). Studying Popular Music. Open University Press.
  6. Tagg, P. (1982). Analysing Popular Music: Theory, Method and Practice. Popular Press.
  7. Taruskin, R. (2010). Music in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press.
  8. Thompson, W. F. (2009). Music, Thought, and Feeling: Understanding the Psychology of Music. Oxford University Press.
  9. Wallis, G., & Malm, K. (1984). Big Sounds from Small Peoples: The Music Industry in Small Countries. Pendragon Press.
  10. Zbikowski, L. M. (2002). Conceptualizing Music: Cognitive Structure, Theory, and Analysis. Oxford University Press.
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Music Through the Ages: A Music History Timeline. (2018, July 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“Music Through the Ages: A Music History Timeline.” GradesFixer, 06 Jul. 2018,
Music Through the Ages: A Music History Timeline. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
Music Through the Ages: A Music History Timeline [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Jul 06 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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