Tuesday, August 31, 2010

music theory

There's so much to blog about - Frank Rich's latest column, Krugman's latest, Beckstock, how much I can't wait for Autumn, etc. etc. But I just feel like talking about music theory today.

First - I finally discovered the term for "classical" music. The term classical has always been problematic because it has several meanings. The first is, according to Wikipedia:
the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 9th century to present times."

But then it gets to the goods:
"The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period."

THAT is it! "Common practice period." That's what most people mean when they refer to classical music. I don't think the term is ever going to catch on, but I'm glad I finally learned it.

Music geeks of course know that the Classical period of music is a subset of the common practice period, preceded by Baroque and followed by the Romantic period. The Classical period was a mere 90 years, from 1730 to 1820.

Wikipedia also has a good article on cadence, complete with audio samples of the various cadence types, including the most awesomely named Phyrigian half-cadence.

Schroeder is admirably clear-headed about life.