Anyone who loves music has probably wondered about where it all came from. How did people first start making music? What were the earliest songs like? This blog post will explore the history & origin of music, from its beginnings in the medieval era to the present day.
Music has always been a vital cultural and social element throughout human history. It assisted people in forming tribal ties and providing religious and spiritual needs. Music has withstood the test of time from the Stone Age to today, surviving thousands of years.
We’ll take a look at how different cultures have contributed to the development of music, and we’ll also discuss some of the most popular styles of music today. So get ready to learn about the fascinating history of music from Ancient!
It became possible to compose music as we do today with the evolution of a writing system. The world’s oldest known music composition in the history of music, which used a cuneiform “alphabet,” was written in Syria around 3400 years ago and is considered to have begun there.
The interpretation of drawings on walls, vases, and other items from ancient civilizations made the study of ancient music easier. These revealed that in Ancient Greece, for example, bagpipes similar to modern versions already existed.
They also discovered the existence of string instruments (such as the lyre) and flutes (the aulos). Polyphonic music was not only present in that time, but also written about by many people.
Researchers also turned to sacred Hindu texts, the Vedas, for additional information on ancient Asian music. In India, researchers utilized the Vedas, which include precious data about Indian classical music. Ancient music flourished in the Middle East as well, particularly in Persia and Egypt. Early on, Hebrews created numerous musical forms for religious reasons.
Medieval music was primarily religious in nature, and much of it was written for the Catholic Church. This includes some of the earliest surviving examples of polyphony, or multi-part harmony.
Medieval music is often characterized by its use of modes, or scales, which are groups of notes with a specific pattern of intervals. The most common mode used in Medieval music was the church mode, which consisted of seven notes.
Another distinguishing feature of Medieval music is its use of ornamentation or decorative embellishments. Melodies were embellished with trills, turns, and other flourishes to add interest and variety during the Middle Ages.
In the Middle Ages, music was most commonly played by traveling minstrels known as troubadours. These performers would sing extemporaneous songs and usually play more than one instrument at a time.
Although most Medieval music has been lost to time, the few examples that remain give us a look into the era’s rich musical history.
What Is The Medieval Music Period, And What Defines It Musically Speaking?
The Medieval Period of music history is defined as the time period from about 500AD to mid-fifteenth century, during which music began to be cultivated. Music was a popular art in taverns and cathedrals by this era, practiced by kings as well as peasants.
While we can’t hear exactly what Medieval music sounded like due to the lack of recordings, we do have a pretty good idea, thanks to notation that has been passed down.
Medieval notation gives us insight into the sound and feel of Medieval music. It was during this long era of music that the sound of music became more and more recognizable. This is partly due to the development of musical notation, which has endured, allowing us a glimpse into this intriguing period.
So while we may not be able to transport ourselves back in time to hear Medieval music firsthand, we can still enjoy and appreciate it through the incredible legacy that has been left behind.
Who Are Some Of The Most Famous Composers From This Period, And What Are Their Most Well-Known Works?
Hildegard von Bingen and Perotin were the first to create many of the musical forms that are still used today, such as the motet and sacred Mass.
The madrigal, which generally expresses the sentiments and emotions of its time, was soon joined by a slew of other significant forms. Its beautifully polyphonic structure is both fascinating and amusing.
The first famous composer from this period is Guillaume de Machaut, who is well-known for his motets, which are polyphonic vocal pieces.
Another famous composer is Johanness Ciconia, who was known for his innovative use of rhythm and meter. His most famous work is the “ballata,” which is a type of love song.
Lastly, there is Franco of Cologne, who was a leading figure in the development of Ars Nova, a new style of music that used complex rhythmic patterns. His most famous work is the “Ars Subtilior,” which is a collection of highly technical and virtuosic pieces.
These are just a few of the famous composers from this period who have made lasting contributions to the world of music.
How Did Medieval Music Reflect The Culture And Society Of The Time Period In Which It Was Written/Composed/Performed?
Medieval music was reflective of the culture and society of the time period in which it was written/composed/performed. The music gradually began to take on more complex forms and devices during the Medieval era, evolving into pieces of stunning beauty and devotion.
The Medieval era was a time of great change, with the rise of cities and trade, and the fall of the Roman empire. This changing world is reflected in the music of the time, which ranged from sacred to secular.
The Medieval era was also a time of great religious upheaval, with the rise of Christianity and the Crusades. This religious turmoil is also reflected in Medieval music, which often includes themes of piety and worship.
Ultimately, Medieval music provides us with a window into the culture and society of the time period, offering us a glimpse into the daily lives of Medieval people.
What Instruments Were Typically Used During Medieval Times, And How Did They Contribute To The Overall Sound Of The Music Being Created At That Time?
Invented instruments that reflected the composer’s wildest dreams. During the Medieval period, wind, brass, and percussion instruments were used in addition to human voices.
Instrumental pieces began to be created on their own during the high medieval era, paving the way for many musical genres in the following age: The Renaissance.
The use of instruments in religious ceremonies was not introduced until after the 10th century. Instruments were associated with sinfulness and worldliness and were therefore forbidden in church.
However, Pope Gregory I is said to have changed his mind after hearing Instruments being played during a religious procession in Jerusalem. After that, Instruments slowly began to make their way into religious ceremonies across Europe. By the 13th century, Instruments were being commonly used in churches across the continent.
The Renaissance period of music history is often considered to be one of the most important periods in the history of Western music. It was a time of great creativity and exploration, when new musical styles and genres were developed and traditional forms were reimagined.
composers such as Palestrina and Monteverdi made major contributions to the development of Renaissance music, and their work continues to be performed and studied today.
The Renaissance period was also a time of great change in society, and this is reflected in the music of the time.
Compositions were increasingly intended for public performance, and secular themes began to gain popularity.
In many ways, the Renaissance period set the stage for the subsequent evolution of Western music, making it one of the most significant periods in its history.
What Is The Renaissance Music Period, And What Defines It Musically Speaking?
Renaissance music is defined as the music created during the Renaissance period. This period of time span from 1450 to 1600. The Renaissance was a rebirth of culture, and this was especially true for music.
The composers of the Renaissance broke new ground by escaping the limits of Medieval musical traditions. They experimented with new sounds and forms, and their music reflected the spirit of the Renaissance.
The Renaissance was a time of great change, and Renaissance music reflects that change. It is dynamic, expressive, and often very beautiful. If you want to experience the Renaissance firsthand, listening to Renaissance music is a great place to start.
Who Are Some Of The Most Famous Composers From This Period, And What Are Their Most Well-Known Works?
Josquin des Prez, considered one of the first major Renaissance composers to be a great polyphonic master, frequently blended many voices together to create rich musical textures.
Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, and William Byrd continue to develop on the ideas of Des Pres, writing some of the most beautiful motets, masses, chansons, and instrumental pieces in their own right. The modal system was established as a foundation for all harmony; while strict rules regulating the use of dissonance were introduced, Renaissance music’s expressive power is unrivaled.
How Did Renaissance Music Reflect The Culture And Society Of The Time Period In Which It Was Written/Composed/Performed?
Renaissance music was heavily influenced by the culture and society of the time period. The music reflected the values of the Renaissance, which were focused on humanism, individualism, and classical learning.
The music was also expressive and emotional, reflecting the intense religious beliefs of the time period. Similarly, the instruments used in Renaissance music were often designed to imitate the sound of the human voice.
This reflects the Renaissance belief that humans were at the center of the universe and that their voices should be heard loud and clear.
Renaissance music deeply reflected the culture and society of its time period. It is no wonder that it continues to captivate listeners today.
What Instruments Were Typically Used During Renaissance Times, And How Did They Contribute To The Overall Sound Of The Music Being Created At That Time?
When instrumental pieces became prevalent, more complex instrumental groupings began to emerge.
The bassoon and the trombone were among the first instruments to be developed, and they gave rise to larger and more sophisticated musical ensembles.
The advent of the art song gave composers far more leeway to explore and express their creative ideas than ever before. The viol family emerged to provide a distinct, haunting sound too much of the music of the era, as well as the creation of each recognizable family of instruments comprised of percussion, strings, woodwinds, and brass.
The piano was introduced in the mid-eighteenth century, and its keyboard instruments quickly replaced harpsichords. The sonata followed soon after that.
The Baroque Period (1600-1760) is notable for its many famous composers and works in Western Classical Music in the history of music. It also witnessed some of the most significant musical and instrument innovations. Italy, Germany, England, and France continue from the Renaissance to dominate the musical scene, each influencing the other with traditions and style.
What Is The Baroque Music Period, And What Defines It Musically Speaking?
The Baroque period was one of the most important times in Western classical music. This is the era where some of the most well-known composers and works come from.
Not only that, but it was also a time of great innovation in music and instruments. The four main countries that dominated the musical scene during this time were Italy, Germany, England, and France. They all had their own unique traditions and styles that influenced each other.
One of the defining characteristics of Baroque music is the use of counterpoint. This is when two or more different melodic lines are combined together to create a more complex sound.
Another important element is the use of ornamentation. This is when extra notes are added to a melody to make it sound more elaborate.
Composers during this period were also known for writing expressive and emotional music. This was in contrast to the more reserved music of the Renaissance.
Overall, the Baroque period was a time of great creativity and achievements in Western classical music history.
Who Are Some Of The Most Famous Composers From This Period, And What Are Their Most Well-Known Works?
G F Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, and Purcell are but a few of the renowned composers who shaped the Baroque period. It is during this glittering era that Handel composes his oratorio “The Messiah,” Vivaldi produces his “Four-Seasons”, Bach completes his six “Brandenburg Concertos,” as well as Purcell’s opera “Dido and Aeneas,” and other works.
The Baroque period is known for its grand music with lots of twists and turns. The melodies are often very ornate, with lots of decoration.
The Baroque period began around 1600 and lasted until 1750. The date it started is still being discussed by scholars, but it is around 1600.
Consequently, the composers active during this time period reflect this wide range of styles and techniques. As such, the music of the Baroque period provides a comprehensive overview of the different ways in which composers experimented with sound during this turbulent time in music history.
How Did Baroque Music Reflect The Culture And Society Of The Time Period In Which It Was Written/Composed/Performed?
Baroque music emerged in the early 1600s, a time of great political and social change in Europe. The Baroque era was marked by religious conflict, the rise of absolutism, and the growth of international trade.
This change is reflected in Baroque music, which often features grandiose melodic lines and elaborate ornamentation. The Baroque period also saw the development of new musical genres, such as the concerto and the sonata.
These genres were often used to convey political messages or to celebrate military victories. As Baroque music evolved, it came to reflect the increasingly complex social landscape of Europe.
What Instruments Were Typically Used During Baroque Times, And How Did They Contribute To The Overall Sound Of The Music Being Created At That Time?
During the Baroque period, music was characterized by a complex, often contrapuntal texture. Instruments such as the harpsichord, violin, and oboe were commonly used to create this effect. The harpsichord, in particular, was an important instrument during this time.
Its distinctive sound helped to shape the overall sound of Baroque music. The violin also played a significant role in Baroque music. This instrument was often used to provide melodic embellishments and decoration.
The oboe, meanwhile, added a unique depth and richness to the overall soundscape. Other instruments such as the trumpet and bassoon, were also used during this period, but their contributions were less significant.
In general, the instruments used during the Baroque period helped to create a complex and nuanced sound that remains hugely popular today.
We enter the Classical Period (1730-1820) from the Baroque. Haydn and Mozart dominate the musical scene during this period, while Germany and Austria are at the center of creativity. From ornate Baroque composers such as Gluck, Mozart, and Haydn moved away from polyphony to homophony in order to produce music that appeared to be simple, elegant, and precise on the surface.
What Is The Classical Music Period, And What Defines It Musically Speaking?
Classical music is a pretty broad term. It can be used to describe anything from Gregorian chants to Beethoven to John Williams. But generally speaking, when people use the term “classical music,” they’re referring to a specific period in Western musical history.
The Classical period lasted from around 1750 to 1820, and a few key characteristics defined it. First, there was a shift away from the elaborate ornamentation of the Baroque period. Classical composers favored simplicity and clarity and sought to create an ideal balance between all the different elements of their music.
They also wrote in what’s known as strict form, meaning that their pieces were carefully structured and followed a clear plan.
Finally, Classical composers were interested in creating work that would evoke strong emotions in their listeners. They believed that music had the power to transform lives, and they strove to create pieces that would inspire hope, joy, and even national pride.
All of these elements came together to create some of the most beloved pieces of classical music, including symphonies, concertos, and sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven in the history of music.
The Classical period saw the emergence of some of the most famous composers in the history of Western music. Among the most notable names from this era are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Each of these composers left a lasting legacy, and their music continues to be performed and enjoyed today.
Mozart is perhaps the best-known composer from the Classical period. His works include such timeless classics as “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “The Marriage of Figaro.” Bach, meanwhile, is celebrated for his iconic works such as “The Well-Tempered Clavier” and “The Brandenburg Concertos.” And Beethoven’s towering symphonies continue to captivate listeners around the world. These three composers helped to define the Classical era, and their Impact on music can still be felt today.
How Did Classical Music Influence Or Reflect The Culture And Society Of Its Time Period?
Classical music has always been reflective of the culture and society of the time period in which it was written/composed/performed.
For example, Classical music from the Baroque period tends to be very ornate and elaborate, reflecting the opulent lifestyle of the aristocrats of that time.
Classical music from the Classical period is often lighter and more graceful, echoing the refinement of 18th century society.
And Romantic-era Classical music is emotional and expressive, capturing the tumultuous spirit of the 19th century.
In short, Classical music is a reflection of the society that creates it, and as society changes, so does Classical music.
What Instruments Were Typically Used During Classical Times, And How Did They Contribute To The Overall Sound Of The Music Being Created At That Time?
If you took a trip back in time to the Classical music period, you might be surprised by the instruments being used. While today we typically think of pianos and violins when it comes to classical music history, that wasn’t always the case.
In fact, during the Classical period, a wider range of instruments were used, and each contributed to the overall sound of the music.
Pianos and violins were certainly popular during the Classical period, but so were a variety of other stringed instruments. This included guitars, cellos, and even harps.
Woodwind instruments were also commonly used, such as flutes, oboes, and bassoons. And let’s not forget about brass instruments like trumpets and horns.
Each of these instruments played a role in creating the distinctive sound of Classical music. The various strings provided the melody while the woodwinds added harmony.
The brass instruments added texture and depth. Together, these different instruments created music that was both complex and elegant.
The Romantic Period of music is often said to begin in the early 1800s on history of music. This was a time when composers began to rebel against the strict rules of the classical period. They started to explore new soundscapes and strive for expressive emotions in their music.
One of the most famous Romantic composers was Franz Liszt, who was known for his highly virtuosic piano playing.
Liszt was also one of the first composers to write programmatic music, which told a story or painted a picture through music.
The Romantic Period was a time of great creativity in music, and it gave rise to some of the most beloved pieces of classical repertoire.
What Is The Romantic Music Period, And What Defines It Musically Speaking?
The Romantic Music Period is often said to have begun in the early 19th century and ended in the late 19th century. However, the exact dates are often debated by music historians.
What is certain, though, is that the Romantic Music Period was a time of great change in the world of music.
One of the defining features of Romantic-era music was its increased expressive power. Composers began to explore new ways of using harmony and melody to convey emotion.
They also made greater use of dynamics and tempo changes to create a more dramatic effect. Instrumental music became increasingly popular during this period, as composers took advantage of the expanded possibilities offered by the piano and other instruments.
The Romantic Music Period was a time of great creativity, and it left a lasting mark on the world of classical music.
The Romantic period was one of the most creative and innovative eras in Western music history. Some of the most famous composers from this period include Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Frederic Chopin.
These composers each made a significant contribution to the development of Romantic music. Their music is still widely performed today.
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is one of his most famous works. It is considered to be one of the greatest symphonies ever composed.
Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” is a very famous work from this period. Chopin’s piano concertos are some of the most popular pieces of music for pianists to play.
The Romantic period was a time when music was very creative. Many new and different styles of music were created. These styles are still enjoyed by people all over the world today.
How Did Romantic Music Reflect The Culture And Society Of The Time Period In Which It Was Written/Composed/Performed?
Romantic music is often seen as a product of its time, and it is certainly true that the sounds and themes of Romanticism were shaped by the culture and society of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
However, Romantic music also had a profound impact on the way that people thought about themselves and their world.
In a time when reason was prized above all else, Romantic composers championed emotion and imagination, paving the way for greater expressive freedom in all forms of art.
Romantic music also helped to redefine the relationship between performer and audience, breaking down the barriers between creator and receiver.
As Romanticism spread across Europe, it gave rise to nationalistic feelings and helped to forge new identities for countries that had only recently come into existence. In many ways, Romantic music was the sound of a changing world, and its influence can still be felt today.
What Types Of Instruments Were Popular During The Romantic Period, And How Did They Shape The Signature Sound Of That Time?
The Romantic era was a time of great change in the world of music. Composers began to experiment with new forms and structures, and instrumentation became more diverse.
Among the most commonly used instruments during this time were the piano, violin, and cello.
These instruments helped to create a richer, more expressive sound that was well suited to the Romantic style of music.
The piano, in particular, became a staple of Romantic compositions. Its wide range of dynamics and tonal colors made it ideal for conveying the emotions of the composer.
The violin and cello also played an important role in creating the distinctive sound of Romantic music.
These instruments lent a sense of lyricism and drama to the music, which helped to capture the imagination of listeners.
20th Century And Present
The Western classical music eras up until the turn of the 20th century were defined by a single style and rule. Composition was frequently inflexible to these rules, which meant that much of the music created during that period had a similar “sound.” However, in the 20th century composers began to break away from these broad Classic Themes and generations arose.
Transitioning From The Romantic Period
The 20th century was defined by music, as the name implies. It is the final of the six periods of classical music history and follows the romantic era, which came to an end in 1910.
By the end of the Romantic period, classic music had reached a turning point, with many conventions and structures having stayed essentially unchanged since the Baroque era of the 17th and 18th Centuries.
In the 20th century, composers began to reject traditional music styles in many different ways. This led to a wide range of new and sometimes revolutionary music.
As a conclusion, This era of Western art music is very different from earlier periods. There is no one sound that defines this music. It is much more diverse in terms of style.
20th Century Movements
The twentieth-century music history, as previously stated, isn’t one style but rather multiple different movements that were popular with various composers and at diverse times throughout the 20th century.
In this section, we’ll look at a few of these movements and the composers who pioneered them.
Modernism And Atonalism
The Common Practice period is a time when composers use key centres and basic chord progressions. This period has been around since the Baroque era. Some people think that by the 20th century, Romantic composers like Wagner and Richard Strauss had used all the possibilities that this framework offers.
This idea was frequently used in 20th-century music, but it became obsolete as the century progressed and new styles emerged. Modernism’s rejection of tradition and celebration of individuality is typical.
Arnold Schoenberg was one of the most important figures in the modernist movement, pioneering atonalism in the 1920s. This music, which is extremely dissonant and lacking in a key centre, dispenses with conventional harmonic function.
He also experimented with 12-tone music, which is a tone row that employs all 12 notes from the chromatic scale in a particular sequence, in which each of the 12 are given roughly equal importance, and subsequently varies it.
Jazz And Ethnic Folk Influences
The most important musical development of the 20th century was without a doubt the creation of jazz, which was pioneered by African Americans.
The United States became a serious force in classical composition for the first time. Some American composers looked to the artform for ideas, including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and George Gerswhin.
Many American composers were inspired by jazz. But non-Americans were too. Darius Milhaud was inspired by the music he heard in Harlem, New York. Malcolm Arnold, an English composer, wrote a concerto for Benny Goodman.
Composers also continued to include their native folk music in their compositions. This was a practice that began during the Romantic period.
Béla Bartók gathered Hungarian folk songs, which gave him inspiration for his own compositions. Ralph Vaughan Williams composed an English Folk Song Suite.
Minimalism And Use Of Electronics And Technology
The minimalist school started in the 1960s and focused on making use of minimal musical material and employing repetitive patterns, loops, and electronic methods. It was an era when technological development proceeded at a rapid pace, particularly in areas such as electronics and recording technology.
The popularity of contemporary minimalist music peaked in the 1980s. It was generally less dissonant and challenging than modernist composition than it is today, and composers such as Phillip Glass and Steve Reich became quite popular.
Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen would take raw recordings of instruments, people, or natural environments, and then modify and transform them into musical collages. This involved manipulating the recordings in various ways.
Aleatoric Music And Experimentalism
As the century progressed, individuals developed a variety of inventive strategies to question the very notion of composition.
Many types of aleatoric music include portions that are decided by chance. This usually refers to the opportunity for the performer to choose how a section of the song should sound. Perhaps with an improvised section.
The Mosaic Quartet is a piece of music that can be played in any order, by any number of players. This means that each performance will sound unique.
In addition to instrumentation that was ahead of its time, American composer John Cage utilized aleatoric elements in his works.
He used a prepared piano, which has things placed on or between the strings to change the sound of the instrument. It’s frequently more percussive when played this way.
4’33”, his best-known composition, is four minutes and 33 seconds of ambience and environmental noise. Others place it among the most notorious pieces ever composed, while others dispute its value.
Composers such as Charles Ives utilized microtones in other sections of the same piece. To our ears, these smaller-than-semitone intervals sound out of tune and therefore create dissonance. If you want to sound good while playing an instrument, it is important to tune the instrument first.
Classical Music In The 21st Century
Classical music has been modernized, and it still comes in a variety of styles. The internet has made music more accessible, allowing sub-genres to cross pollinate and influence each other more readily.
The use of music notation and sound recording software have revolutionized how we create music. Film score composition has become quite popular as an art form, and composers such as John Williams and Hans Zimmer have helped to expose traditional-inspired music to a wider audience.
Opera And Romantic Music
During the late XVIII century and early XX century, many different composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and Schubert. These musicians experimented with different styles and methods. This included exploring new melodic concepts and harmonic methods as well as trying out new instruments.
The Classical period began with the creation of a new form of singing that combined music and theater, known as Opera. During this era, symphonies became more popular as well.
In this vast time period, several currents and sub-genres emerged. One of the most popular types of music today is romantic music. Composers like Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms has influenced romantic music.
Jazz And Blues
During the 1960s, a new type of music developed in the African-American communities in North America, Europe, and other places. This music was based partly on African customs and partly on Christianity.
Jazz and blues music were the foundation for all of today’s genres. European classical music had done the same thing before them. Jazz songs were popular and remained popular until the 1960s when a variety of new styles emerged, including bebop.
Rock and pop music
A revolution took place throughout the Fifties: rock and roll emerged, smashing the music industry.
Rock and roll became popular and had a big influence on many parts of culture and society. It became one of the most important types of music for other genres and styles. Pop music is one example.
For example, the Beatles served as a link between these two realms that frequently overlapped in their songs. Other bands, such as The Rolling Stones, on the other hand, popularized the classic bluesy raucous sound.
With the invention of new technologies and computers, musicians have been able to approach music in a whole new way. They no longer have to play an instrument to create a tune because they can now use a piece of software or an electronic device to do it. This has allowed for more creativity and variety in the music industry.
Electronic instruments are frequently used to create popular music today. But even though the sounds might be different, the structures of the songs are still based on classic rock and pop music from the 50s.
One downside of using recorded music is that it takes away from the creativity that musicians put into their music.
After all, they are the ones who create the song from start to finish. In other words, today we should place more value in pre-made beats and instrumentals.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
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What Are The Ways To Promote Your Music?
There are numerous ways to promote your music:
- You can start by performing at local venues and open mics. This will help you get your name out there and give you the opportunity to build a following.
- You can also promote your music online through social media and streaming platforms.
- Make sure to post regularly and interact with your fans to keep them engaged.
- You can also submit your music to blogs and podcasts for exposure.
- consider entering competitions and attending music festivals. These events can help you reach a wider audience and potentially land a record deal.
As we end our journey through music history, it’s interesting to reflect on how far we have come. We started with the impressionist composers who were reacting against classical conventions and then moved on to explore modernism and minimalism. In both cases, we saw how composers pushed boundaries in search of new sounds and structures.
And finally, we looked at aleatory music – a genre that is still evolving today. If you’ve enjoyed this introduction to 20th-century music, why not check out some of the featured pieces? They are all available online, so you can listen for yourself.