This essay history of art has a total of 2575 words and 11 pages.
It can be argued that the vanguard of development has always been reflected in the arts of a culture. It is the poets, the dreamers and artists who are the architects of the future; the ones who build the world they want to live in, the ones who dream out loud1. Music is an elaborate art form, tempered by the emotions of those who create it and as such the dreams, creations and inventions are partly the products ? or at least artifacts ? of the world around them. As such, the social, economic and technological changes in society reflect themselves in the arts of the time also. The common question Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? when inspected proves rhetorical: they are parallel mirrors which reflect each other.
W.H. Auden best expressed this when he said, A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.
Tracing the course of musical development through history shows how closely music (of all the art forms) in particular represents the time in which it was written. The immediacy Auden speaks of is evidenced in musics ability to associate itself with a specific point in time or event and always remind the listener of that time or place. It is impossible to analyse individual interpretation of music, however it is interesting to examine what caused musicians to write what they did, when they did. The personal interpretation or association of a work is superimposed; it is the music going on to become.
By correlating musical developments with historical events or conditions, we can see not only why certain styles of music were written when they were, but also how the times dictated the styles as much as the styles dictated the times.
The exact origin of music is unknown. We can only form educated guesses from the evidence that remains today: pictures on fragments on broken vases of musical instruments, or cave paintings of dancing figures. It is generally accepted that music was first used in prehistoric times in spiritual or magical rituals. This knowledge comes from the fact that music still forms a vital part of most religious ceremonies today. Whereas with ancient pictures, we can imagine missing pieces, or envision brighter colours, when it comes to music we have no idea of what instruments were used, or the sounds they made. Our relationship with the music of the time is as intangible to us as if we had only smelled the dyes of the paintings we see.
Greek music is just about the first artifact, chronologically speaking, of record which can begin to make sense to us. Although there is evidence that music and music performance played a large part in Greek culture in the manuscripts discovered from their civilisation, there are very few actual artifacts of the music itself, either vocal or instrumental that have survived. It is impossible to fully understand what little notation that has been discovered to properly reproduce an accurate performance or even imagine what it could sound like.
Greek civilisation was heavily reliant on mythology. According to Greek mythology, music was considered divine; a creation of the gods. It was believed that the gods themselves invented music and musical instruments. Music and religion (mythology) played an integral part in both the public and private lives of the Greeks. Many early myths were those which explained the powerful forces of music. The Greek were perhaps the first to iterate musics powerful effect on human emotions.
In Greek history, music was a much debated topic. Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle both had very different views on the power and importance it had. Pythagoras developed the numerical octave system still used to represent music today. This was critical in helping us to understand today what we find in artifacts of the past. Entertainment in Greece was highly regarded and prioritised, as it represented wealth and status. The Greeks developed most of their music in theatre and by the time Greece became a province of the Roman Empire, music dominated most dramatic performances as well as social activities.
We have far better evidence and examples of the music played in the society of the Roman Empire. Most of the music created in the Roman Empire originated in the music of the Greeks. Despite this, there was definite musical activity
Topics Related to history of art
Chants, Harmony, Medieval music, Catholic music, Musical texture, Polyphony, Gregorian chant, Music, Monophony, Culture of Greece, Greeks, Italian classical music, w h auden, cave paintings, interpretation of music, musical developments, verbal art, exact origin, personal interpretation, styles of music, art forms, technological changes, historical events, art form, dreamers, immediacy, point in time, vases, inventions, vanguard, artifacts, fragments
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