Music History Timeline

Timeline created by dayannab
In Music
  • 1026

    Guido of Arezzo's Micrologus

    Guido Of Arezzo's treatise called Micrologus is important for its knowledge of organum which consists of Gregorian chant and a similar transposed melody.
  • 1320

    Ars Nova Treatise

    Innovations: isorhythm, more complex rhythms, lower lines move slower as a foundation.
  • 1514

    Josquin’s Missa Pange lingua

    One of Josquin's last masses and one of his most famous. It was based on plainsong, and is a paraphrase mass.
  • 1529

    Martin Luther’s Ein feste burg

    A strophic chorale composed by Martin Luther during the Renaissance with the text from Psalm 46.
  • 1539

    Arcadelt: Il bianco e dolce cigno

    Italian, mostly homophonic a Capella 4 voice Madrigal in duple meter.
  • 1562

    Palestrina Pope Marcellus Mass

    A sacred 6 voice mass composed by Palestrina. This mass was composed towards the end of the Council of Trent which discussed Polyphony in the church, because it could be "intelligible, so this text is balanced.
  • Sonata pian’e forte

    Written by Giovanni Gabrieli-Venice, Italy. This is one of the first pieces that requires specific brass instruments and it was a transition into the Baroque period.
  • Monteverdi L’Orfeo

    An Opera based on the story of Orpheus. This opera has polyphonic music and is the oldest opera, excluding Dafne because it is now lost.
  • First Public Concerts in England

    Handel is the most famous among those who were the front runners of public concerts starting in England. These concerts were charged for admission and especially Handel’s sold out.
  • Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas

    This is a very famous English opera composed by Henry Purcell. Word painting is used in this opera.
  • Antonio Vivaldi’s L'estro Armonico

    These are an influential collection of 12 concertos. Vivaldi composed these for specifically stringed instruments.
  • Brandenburg Concertos

    These are 6 concertos composed by Bach for an orchestra and soloists as a gift to the Margrave of Brandenburg.
  • Rameau’s Traité de l'harmonie

    This treatise created the foundation for harmony. This treatise included 12 tone scales and modern keys.
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier

    Bach’s most famous work. A collection of works that are in all of the 24 keys. It also contains some recycled preludes and fugues.
  • Handel’s Messiah

    This Biblical 3 part oratorio by Handel was completed in 1741, but premiered in Dublin in 1742 during Lent. It tells the story of Jesus Christ and goes through the 1) prophecies of the Messiah, 2)the death and resurrection, and 3) the second coming of Christ.
  • Haydn's op.33 String Quartets

    These quartets were dedicated to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia. Haydn uses several ways to add in "jokes" to these quartets and keep the audience on their toes.
  • Mozart's Piano Concerto No.23

    This is a concerto written by Mozart, while he was in Vienna, for an orchestra and solo piano(and the first to include clarinet).
  • Mozart's Don Giovanni

    One of Mozart's operas which premiered in Prague, and is recognized as one of the greatest operas of all time. The librettist was Lorenzo Da Ponte.
  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor

    This orchestral work by Beethoven contains a very famous four note motif. This is also one of the most famous Classical works.
  • Erlkonig

    This poem was written by Goethe and put to music by many composers, however Schubert's composition is the most famous.
  • Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia

    Opera written by Gioachino Rossini inspired by Le Barbier de Séville .
  • Symphony No.8 “Unfinished”

    Schubert's triple meter Romantic composition was started in 1822. There are several theories about why this is unfinished.
  • Symphony No.9

    This is the last symphony composed by Beethoven to the poem of Ode to Joy.
  • Berlioz Symphonie fantastique

    A Romantic Symphony composed by the French composer, Hector Berlioz. It tells the dramatic story of an artist's self destruction.
  • Frederic Chopin Mazurkas Op.7

    This song by Chopin resembles the Polish folk dance known as the Mazurka.
  • Robert Schumann Carnaval

    This piano piece by Schumann consists of 21 pieces, inspired by the festival called Carnaval.
  • Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel Das Jahr

    This piano suite is based off of the twelve months of the year, each month possessing its own style and character.
  • Clara Wieck Schumann"Liebst du um Schönheit"

    This love song was written by Clara while she was pregnant. The poem is by Friedrich Rückert.
  • Berlioz Treatise on Instrumentation

    An important contribution to the symphony orchestra by Hector Berlioz.
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64

    Mendelssohn's concerto contains three movements and is his last large orchestral work and remains popular to this day.
  • Verdi 's La traviata

    This three act Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi was based on the play La Dame aux camélias.
  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk's Souvenir de Porto Rico

    This piano piece was written after Gottschalk went to Puerto Rico, influenced after the music he heard there.
  • Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

    This is a three act opera by Wagner was first performed in Germany.
  • Mussourgsky's Boris Godunov

    The first version of this opera was rejected by the Maryinsky Opera, so it has different versions with a love interest.
  • Bizet's Carmen

    This opera by Georges Bizet is a story of a seductive woman named Carmen who seduces Jose.
  • Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen

    This collection of musical dramas by Wagner first premiered at the first festival in Bayreuth.
  • Brahms' Symphony No.4

    This symphony has four movements and is known for being quite abstract for its' time.
  • Mahler's Symphony No.1

    This symphony contains a movement based on the Frere Jacques melody. It is also considered hectic and alarming to some listeners at the time.
  • Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker

    The Nutcracker ballet premiered the week before Christmas in Russia and is Tchaikovsky's most famous work.
  • Dvorak's Symphony No.9 “New World"

    This symphony is based off of Native and African American music Dvorak heard.
  • Debussy's Prélude à l’aprés midi d’un faune (premiere)

    This orchestral piece/poem was inspired by a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé. It uses the whole tone scale and a lot of chromaticism.
  • Maple Leaf Rag (published)

    This ragtime piece composed by Scott Joplin includes syncopation and is considered a dance song.
  • Jean Sibelius' Finlandia (premiere)

    Known as the national anthem of Finland, this orchestral piece was written when Finland was wanting to be independent from Russia.
  • Puccini's Madama Butterfly

    This opera by Puccini is three parts (used to be 2) and is a love story of a Japanese girl and an American man.
  • Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire

    This atonal song cycle is a speech-like piece that is very expressionistic.
  • Stravinsky's Le sacre du Printemps (premiere)

    Also known as The Rite of Spring, this famous work caused a riot at the premiere because of how avant-garde it was.
  • George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

    This piece composed by Gershwin was a blues type piece for piano and jazz band.
  • Louis Armstrong's "Hotter Than That"

    This famous jazz piece was recorded on gramophone in Chicago. It featured trumpet, guitar, clarinet, banjo, piano, and trombone.
  • Shostakovich Symphony no. 5 premiere

    This symphony is a response to his Lady Macbeth opera that he wrote before. This symphony is unique in sound and style.
  • Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky film

    Prokofiev wrote cantata music for orchestra and chorus for the very successful film Alexander Nevsky.
  • Ellington's Cottontail

    This jazz piece included a walking bass line and an improvised melody. It was based off of I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin.
  • Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour le fine du temps

    This piece was inspired by the Book of Revelation written by John. It premiered in 1941 at a prisoner of war camp where Messiaen was captured and living.
  • Bela Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

    This piece was a commission from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is Bartok's most famous work.
  • Copeland Appalachian Spring

    This ballet is a commission from Martha Graham to Copland. He also arranged this piece as an orchestral suite.
  • John Cage's 4’33

    This is a silent composition by John Cage, where the performer does not actually play their instrument, but allows the natural occurring sounds to be the music for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.
  • Edgar Varese Poeme Electronique

    This piece of electronic music created a brand new sound than what was heard previously. Varese is mostly known for his experimentation of sound equipment in music.
  • Miles Davis Kind of Blue

    This modal jazz album by Davis (Columbia Records) is considered to be the best Jazz album of all time.
  • George Crumb's Black Angels

    This Avant Garde string piece was inspired by the disturbing realities of the Vietnam War.
  • Niccolo Paganini 's 24 Caprices for Unaccompanied Violin, op.1 (publication date)

    This piece is known as one of the most difficult pieces to play on the violin. It was deemed "unplayable" as it stretches the hands to uncomfortable lengths.
  • John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine

    This piece with minimalist elements was composed for a summer festival.
  • Period:

    Medieval Period

    The Medieval Period also known as the Middle Ages or Dark Ages was the period of history that started at the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ended when Renaissance period begins.
  • Period:

    Charlemagne Time as Emperor

    Charlemagne contributed mostly to the standardization of church music in Western Europe and making music more regular in church services.
  • Period:

    Musica Enchiriadis

    Treatise with one of the earliest examples of polyphonic music, with a plainchant voice a fourth or fifth below the organal voice.
  • Period:


    These were Northern French musicians and poets during the Middle Ages known for their music about courtly love
  • Period:

    Hildegard of Bingen

    Hildegard of Bingen or Saint Hildegard was a prophet, composer, and poet among many other things and contributions.
  • Period:

    Notre Dame School Polyphony

    "Our Lady", Leoninus, and Perotinus contributed to the works completed near the Notre Dame Cathedral during this period.
  • Period:

    Franco of Cologne/Ars Cantus Mensurabilis

    This treatise introduced the idea of duration/rhythmic value of a note in music.
  • Period:

    Guillaume de Machaut

    One of the leading French composers during the Ars Nova.
  • Period:


    Following the Middle Ages, the Renaissance(rebirth) was the period of philosophy, humanism and an increase in the interest of art and literature started in Italy.
  • Period:

    Francesco Landini

    Famous composer of secular music during the Ars Nova.
  • Period:

    Gutenberg Printing Press

    The first movable type printing system in Europe invented by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Period:

    Concerto delle Donne

    A female vocal ensemble founded in the Renaissance court of Ferrara, Italy, that performed difficult Madrigals for the ducal family and noble others.
  • Period: to

    Baroque Period

    The musical era consisting of terraced dynamics, experimentation, and idiomatic writing.
  • Period: to

    JS Bach

    Bach was a German Baroque organist and composer. He is commonly regarded as the greatest composer of all time, with one of his most famous pieces being “The Well-Tempered Clavier.“
  • Period: to


    A German born Baroque composer that settled in England. He is very well known for his many operas and he studied at the Royal Academy of Music.
  • Period: to

    Pre Classical Period

    The era that served as the transition between Baroque and Classical.
  • Period: to

    Franz Joseph Haydn

    A self taught Austrian Classical composer that invented the string quartet.
  • Period: to

    Chevalier de Saint-Georges as director of Concerts des Amateurs

    Recognized as the first black Classical composer. He was also a violinist and conductor of the Fench symphony, Concerts des Amateurs.
  • Period: to

    WA Mozart

    Mozart is a very famous composer from the Viennese Classical period and his name is still very well known today. He made a massive contribution to operas and was a musical prodigy who began performing in public at the mere age of 6.
  • Period: to

    Viennese Classical Period

    The Classical music era with a new focus on clarity, balance, and restraint.
  • Period: to


    Beethoven is considered a musical genius. He is a German composer/pianist. In 1816, he went completely deaf.
  • Period: to

    Haydn's London Symphonies

    Haydn composed these symphonies after going to London and these are to this day considered one of his best accomplishments.
  • Period: to


    Franz Schubert was an Austrian Classical/Romantic composer.
  • Period: to

    Schönberg's Piano Suite, Op.25

    This 12-tone minuet resembles earlier Baroque dance pieces.