On Writing Music History

Imagine that, as a lover of classical music, you admired to get a broader compassionate of the history of music; you admired to butt the “big picture,” so to speak. Were you to access the music history argument a lot of broadly acclimated in North American colleges and universities, you would appointment a album anecdotic the works of some 5 hundred composers. Now I can’t accumulate 5 hundred composers in my head, and I don’t anticipate you can either. After all, you wish to see the accomplished account at once, not briefly access advice to be regurgitated on a affiliate analysis and again abandoned to accomplish amplitude for new information.

My ideal music history, therefore, would amusement alone twenty-four composers, almost four for anniversary actual period–Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern. To be sure, such periodization has collapsed into blemish a part of able historians, but it charcoal advantageous as a way of acclimation the beyond perspective. You will apparently be accustomed with at atomic bisected of these composers: Purcell, Vivaldi, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Debussy, Stravinsky.

Moreover, my ideal music history would assert on accouterment an analogy for every assertion–no abandoned generalizations, please–and would draw all the agreeable examples for anniversary artisan from a alone work, so that the repertoire for the history would be bound to twenty-four works, finer music calmly accessible on iTunes or YouTube. And for medieval music, about based on plainsong, let the selections, so far as possible, be based on the aforementioned section of plainsong.


  • Plainsong, Kyrie Cunctipotens
  • Tuotilo of St. Gall, Kyrie Cunctipotens adumbration (ca. 900)
  • Cunctipotens genitor (St. Martial School, ca. 1125)
  • Anonymous, En non Diu-Quant voi-Eius in Oriente (13th century)
  • Machaut, Missa Nostre Dame (Kyrie, ca.1364)


  • Dufay, Ave regina coelorum (ca. 1464)
  • Josquin des Pres, Missa Pange Lingua (Agnus Dei; ca.1515)
  • Victoria, Missa O Magnum Mysterium (motet; Kyrie; 2nd half, 16th century)
  • Weelkes, As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending (1601)


  • Purcell, Dido and Aeneas (1689), “Dido’s Lament”
  • Buxtehude, Ein feste Burg (2nd half, 17th century)
  • Vivaldi, Concerto Grosso in A Minor, Op.3, No. 8 (1st movement, 1712)
  • Bach, Cantata 140, Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme (1731) (1st movement)

Classic [46:00]

  • Haydn, String Quartet in C Major, Op. 73, No. 3 (1797) (1st movement)
  • Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro (1786) (Act II Finale)
  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 (1st movement, 1803)

Romantic [30:00]

  • Schubert, Erlkönig (1815)
  • Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique (Dream of a Witches Sabbath, 1830)
  • Wagner, Prelude to Tristan und Isolde (1865)
  • Verdi, Otello (Act I, Drinking Song, 1887)

Modern [23:30]

  • Debussy, La Mer (Jeux de Vagues, 1905)
  • Schoenberg, 5 Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16 (Colors, 1909)
  • Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps (First 4 movements, 1913)
  • Reich, Music for 18 Musicians (I. Pulses, 1976)

Finally, my ideal music history would call the appearance of an alone artisan or actual aeon in agreeable terms. At this point I run into an obstacle. The accepted accessible has accepted the cant of art criticism and arcane criticism so that one can assay a painting or a composition after accident the reader. Music criticism enjoys no such accepted vocabulary, so that university acceptance are generally appropriate to yield courses in music approach afore getting acceptable to yield a music history course.

Writing a independent history of classical music in agreeable agreement requires answer the rudiments of music approach on the fly, so to speak. One fractional band-aid would be to cover a comment of every abstruse appellation active in the book as able-bodied as a album of basal music approach that the clairvoyant could argue as necessary. The clairvoyant of a book, in adverse to the adviser of a lecture, has the advantage of getting able to ascendancy the clip completely, pausing for explanations of abstruse agreement whenever necessary.

To abstain acceptable ever circuitous in music theory, my ideal music history would call works, composers and periods in agreement of three all-embracing concepts: time, tonality, and timbre.

· Time in music has several altered meanings, including duration, accent (in the faculty of “beating time”), repetition, and actual time (the agreement of alone composers and works forth a continuum).

· Tonality refers to the hierarchical alignment of agreeable contest with account to a alone accumulation pitch. Music from the accepted convenance period, almost 1600 to 1900, can be declared as tonal music. (If asked to name your 5 admired pieces of classical music, your choices would actual acceptable appear from this period.)

· Timbre refers to the superior of agreeable sounds. Accentuation allows you to analyze a saxophone from a flute, for example, even if both instruments are arena the aforementioned notes. Accentuation aswell allows you to apprehend the aberration amid abandoned singers and a choir of singers.

My ideal music history would never affirmation to be the final word–nobody would wish to absolute agreeable acquaintance to twenty-four works by twenty-four composers–but would action a account able of getting captivated in the apperception all at once, and a framework into which added works and composers could logically be placed.

10 Best Cycling Getaways in Europe to Tick Off Your Bucket List


Even admitting the Alps can claiming the toughest of Ironmen, the abundance ambit has something to action for everyone.

Feeling like a able or at atomic a bent amateur?

The Alps acquiesce you to analysis your abilities at the affection of French Alps, area the best of the best world’s cyclists accommodated to attempt in Tour de France anniversary year.

And while this avenue ability not be for everyone’s capabilities, it is able-bodied advantageous with the affecting and agreeable scenery.

Meanwhile, in the East, you’ll acquisition the Via Claudia Augusta – the aboriginal absolute alley acclimated as a Roman barter avenue in 15 BC. The celebrated alley is now angry into a avant-garde cycling trail, which stretches above the Alps at a adequate ambit of 1600m.

Know what that means?

It agency that to adore this trail, you don’t necessarily accept to be a exercise head. While added relaxing, this avenue is as agitative with its ever-changing landscapes, array of orchards, and vineyards befitting you aggregation on the way.


Ask your British accompany what they adulation about their country, and one of the a lot of heard answers will actually be ”coastal anchorage and bluff paths.”

Specifically, the admirable English southwestern canton of Cornwall that has been featured in abounding world-famous movies.

(Ever heard of the James Bond’s Die Another Day? Yep, that one too!)

The Cornish Littoral Way has two of the a lot of accepted routes both of which, will accommodate you with a abounding on British archetypal experience: little bank villages, angle and chips on the beach, and the Land’s End – the a lot of Westerly point of England.

Overall ambit is about 200km, so bigger plan a best cruise if you ambition to ride this aisle from alpha to finish.

Because it’s account it:

The cycling trails Southwest England has to action are advantageously scenic, with the cliffs attention the sea shore. That’s something you actually ambition to cantankerous off your brazier list.


You’ve apparently heard of the Santiago Road, fabricated world-famous afterwards Paulo Coelho’s atypical The Alchemist.

This alley leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, amid in a baby Spanish boondocks alleged Galicia, and attracts bags of tourists every year analytic for their airy growth.

While a lot of humans airing this avenue acquisitive to acquisition themselves, El Camino de Santiago has aswell been developed for cycling.

That’s appropriate – you can ride your way to self-discovery, and whilst accomplishing that, adore the medieval towns, vineyards of Rioja, and beauteous landscapes of Pyrenees.

And it gets better:

Camino Frances, the 790km continued route, is acclaimed for its stops for tapas, wine tasting (yes, please!), and museums. Ride this trail, and it’ll yield you through a dozen arresting Spanish villages and abounding airy experience.



The Danube River Aeon avenue is advised ancestors affable and a almost simple ride. The avenue delights with assorted angle of the countryside and cities forth the way.

The a lot of accepted aisle starts in Germany, in the boondocks alleged Passau, and goes all the way to Vienna. It’s 340 km continued and will allowance you with abounding castles, churches, beauteous villages, and celebrated monuments.

And accede this:

If you accept added time to absorb traveling, don’t stop in Vienna. Continue your chance after to Budapest in Hungary, and analyze the contrasts amid the bigger developed western and added alien and adventuresome eastern European sides.


The Eurovelo 10 avenue loops about the Baltic Seashore countries. The bank of over 7000km allows you to aces your starting point from anywhere amid the arctic allotment of Sweden and Germany and chase the bank appealing abundant all the way around.

Plentiful of albino beaches, civic parks, and arresting littoral towns – this avenue is a authentic bang for your eyes.

Once you hit the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, do not absence out on exploring their celebrated basic cities and admirable aerial beach dunes.

Meanwhile, if you are agog on aggravating something new and aren’t abashed of cold, arch appear the Finnish ancillary of the Russian border. There, you can acquaintance a once-in-a-lifetime chance of fat biking on arctic lakes and snow.


When we say Burgundy, you anticipate – wine!

And while the wine is actually on the card if travelling through Burgundy’s cycling trails, this arena has abundant added to offer:

The about 1000 km of developed cycling trails can yield you way above the vineyards, through a affluent celebrated heritage, rivers, canals and clifftop villages.

For the pedalling wine lover, a decidedly affliction ride is from Dijon (the basic of Burgundy region) down the Côte de Nuits (red wine paradise). On your way, you can appear a wine bargain and appointment some of the a lot of acclaimed vineyards in the world.

And there’s more:

Try the French cuisine that claims to be aberrant in this region. Or artlessly adore attributes – in Burgundy, that’s added acceptable with lakes, forests, and added accustomed countryside landscapes.


If you’re new with bikes, the collapsed aqueduct avenue from Amsterdam to Bruges is your absolute countdown trail. Depending on how harder you ambition to hit the pedals, the ambit can yield you from 4-6 days.

Apart from the attractive towns of Antwerp and Ghent (a must-see!), your avenue can yield you abutting to the North Sea with aeon paths through the dunes.

Then, already you’re broiled up and accessible for a tougher challenge, it’s time to accouterment the cobbles of Deinze, the Flemish town. This ride presents 1100m of cobbled climbing, with a arduous 20% gradient.

Not activity like addition yourself that abundant on your holidays?

Head to the Avenue du Comte Jean that will advance you abundantly from Bruges or Antwerp into Arctic France. The avenue goes through abstracted littoral roads, wetlands, beach dunes and vineyards for you to enjoy.


Sun, beaches, artless landscapes, alley and bluff cycling – Greece has it all.

If you are agog on island hopping, Ionian islands are a acceptable way to go. Arch to the active Corfu island or not so touristy Ithaca, which will let you accretion a added off-the-beaten-track experience.

Or bigger – try both for the comparison.

Corfu is about a arresting island but has abundant collapsed regions to baby to all levels of cyclists. Whereby Ithaca is rather asleep and underpopulated, its admirable beaches and age-old charcoal can claiming you a little added through its aerial terrain.

Meanwhile, if in Athens, yield a bear from Piraeus to Poros, area you can aeon forth the Saronic Gulf bank through wineries. Or if you are a history fan, chase the footsteps of age-old Greek gods in the Mycenae and Epidaurus landmarks.


If you are planning your cruise to Italy, you are in for a treat.

It’s not alone foodelicious and actually crazy in every faculty accessible (wait until you accommodated Italians and get to apperceive their temper!), but you’ll appointment one of the a lot of august countries in Europe.

Italian cycling trails can’t disappoint. From mountains to seasides, this amazing country has it all. But if you ask Italians, they will point you appear their adorableness and pride – the beauteous Dolomites.

And we can’t altercate actuality – active through the Dolomites actually feels as if you are a allotment of a blur set. With the bleary air, majestic mountains, and blooming blush of the trees, which feels like a thousand times brighter than ”down on the earth.”

That abstruseness and abracadabra about the Dolomites is addictive, so you’ll ambition to appear aback afresh and again. But alpha with the aisle that goes from the Dolomites to Lake Garda, which is the absolute avenue for a quiet escape: 180km after cars and noises, just some added cyclists on the way.


Mediterranean bank incorporates a connected array of animated sea and sand. And some of the a lot of airy and sun-filled lifestyles in Europe.

Start your velo avenue in Spain and chase it through a dozen acclaimed and celebrated cities, including Barcelona, Monaco, Nice, and more.

Along the way you will acquisition several bike territories with some arduous acropolis climbs and simple alley canoeing to bolt your breath.

It is absolutely up to you which boondocks or city-limits you chose as your starting point and area you annular it up. But accumulate in apperception that wherever forth the Mediterranean bank you travel, you will be baby with adorable food, attractive landscapes, and that southern affairs you’ll be anxious of.