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The vast range of music covered in this book (classical music, popular music, world music, and jazz) is divided into three Parts, 14 Chapters, and 60 Gateways. Part 1 concerns music during the period before 1500 and takes a global perspective on the music of small-scale societies and ancient and medieval secular and religious music. Part 2 concerns music from 1500 to 1900 and focuses on European music with excursions to India, Indonesia (Java), and the United States. Part 3 attends equally to jazz, popular music, classical music, and world music, mainly in the United States and the Americas. The pedagogy is based on repeated engagement with five questions in each gateway: what is it, how does it work, what does it mean, what is its history, and where do I go from here. Timed listening guides encourage readers encourage to listen in detail to the elements of music (timbre, texture, rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and performance techniques). Semiotics, a theory that music’s meaning is expressed as icons and indexes of previous experience, informs the study of seven themes that recur throughout the book: aesthetics, emotional resonance, cultural linkages, social behavior, political action, economic activity, and technology.

“A Case of You”

Joni Mitchell

“Star-Spangled Banner”

Jimi Hendrix


Ladysmith Black Mambazo

"Let's Go Crazy"


"The Mooche"

Duke Ellington Orchestra

“Wer nur den lieben Got läßt walten”

J.S. Bach/Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir

“Norwegian Wood”

Sharon Shannon/The Beatles

“I Will Always Love You”

Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton

Music of Small-Scale Societies

This chapter covers three types of small-scale societies with roots in the distant past: BaAka foragers from Central Africa; Tuvan nomadic pastoralists from Siberia; and Solomon Island horticulturalists known as the 'Are'are. These old but still-extant forms of economic sustenance support music making with close links to the environment and to food production. The BaAka use communal, polyphonic singing and yodeling as a mode of communication during the hunt and as a way to celebrate after it. Tuvans practice a kind of throat-singing (overtone singing) that allows them to produce two tones from one throat in a way that mimics the sounds of the wind, streams, mountains, and animals in the their environments. The 'Are'are build sets of panpipes from bamboo, a common plant in their environment, and have perhaps the most elaborate system of music theory in a nonliterate society.

Gateway 1

“Bisengo Bwa Bolé”

BaAka people

Gateway 2

“Borbangnadyr with Steam Water”

Anatoli Kuular

Gateway 3

“Maa ni 'au”

Are'are people

Ancient and Medieval Religious Music

This chapter examines chanting, singing, and music in the liturgies of three widespread religions: Buddhism in its Tibetan form, Christianity in its Roman Catholic form, and Islam, especially the reciting of the Qur’an (Koran). All share the belief that musical elements like melody and rhythm are especially effective ways for humans to communicate with the supernatural. Tibetan Buddhist ritual music features dramatic low-pitched male drone singing with overtones and an ensemble of loud double-reed and buzzed-lip aerophones, drums, and cymbals. Christian chant composed by Hildegard von Bingen is sung in unison with seven-tone, diatonic modes, using melismas and disjunct melodic motion for expressive effect. Islamic recitation of the Qur’an employs the Arabic maqam (makam) system of microtonal melodic modes. The fourteenth-century polyphonic choral music for the ordinary of the mass by Guillaume de Machaut employs harmonic cadences with leading tones.

Gateway 4

“Invoking the Spirit of Kindness through Sound”

Eight Lamas from Drepung

Gateway 5

“Quia ergo femina”

Hidegard von Bingen

Gateway 6

“Chanting (tartîl) of the Qur'ân”

Hamza Shakkur

Gateway 7

“La Messe de Nostre Dame: Gloria”

Guillaume de Machaut

Ancient and Medieval Secular Music

This chapter examines the monophonic court music of China and the Middle East and village music from Africa (the Shona people of Zimbabwe) and Bulgaria. These traditions have roots in the Medieval period from 500 CE to 1500. Music for the Chinese qin, the oldest continuously performed notated music in the world, is played on pentatonic scales by highly educated scholars (mandarins) trained to administer the state. Arab music played on the ‘ud balances improvisation (taqsim) and composition (sama’i) on melodic modes (maqam, makam) and rhythmic modes (iq’a). Shona mbira players create elaborate polyphonic music for entertainment and for healing through trance ceremonies. Bulgarian village dance music features additive meters of five, seven, nine, and eleven beats per measure performed heterophonically small ensembles. Some Bulgarian musical instruments, like the kaval, tambura, gadulka, and tapan, come into Europe from the Middle East, but the bagpipe (gaida) seems to have deep roots in European pastoral culture. All four traditions involve sophisticated elaborations of musical elements and considerable musical skill, whether the patronage of musicians involves the exchange of money, as in China and the Middle East, or the exchange of small favors and friendship, as in the Shona and Bulgarian traditions.

Gateway 8

“Three Variations on the Yang Pass”

Lin Youren

Gateway 9

“Taqasim and Sama’i Bayyati Al-Arayan”

Ali Jihad Racy

Gateway 10


Hakurotwi Mude

Gateway 11


Kostadin Varimezov

Music from the European Age of Discovery (1500-1600)

This chapter focuses on European music during a period known as the Renaissance, a rebirth of interest in Greek and Roman art and the flowering of humanism as a challenge to religious authority. Four traditions from this period have left their mark on music today: the sacred masses and motets in imitative polyphony by Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina; secular polyphonic songs (especially Italian and English madrigals), with an example by the English composer John Farmer; polyphonic dance music for consorts of instruments (recorders, viols, violins) of different sizes capable of playing in four-part harmony (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), with an example by the German composer Michael Praetorius; and theme and variations form for the lute and vihuela, a predecessor of the guitar, with an example by Spanish composer Luys de Narváez. Other legacies of Renaissance music include triadic harmony with V-I authentic cadences and the association between musical elements and the sense and sentiments of song texts. The chapter also introduces the classical (Hindustani) musical tradition of North India, with its improvisations in ragas and talas played on sitar and tabla, a tradition that took shape during the sixteenth century and that was made famous by Ravi Shankar.

Gateway 12

“Sicut cervus”

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Gateway 13

“Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone”

John Farmer

Gateway 14

“Dances from 'Terpsichore'”

Michael Praetorius

Gateway 15

“Quatro diferencias sobre Guárdame las vacas”

Luys de Narváez

Gateway 16

“Raga Bhairvi - Dadra Taal”

Sharmistha Sen

Music from the Age of Global Commerce (1600-1750)

This chapter examines music of the European Baroque period including the invention of opera and one of its finest early examples, L’incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi; the rise of the string orchestra and a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi; Protestant religious music and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from the oratorio Messiah by George Frideric Handel; and the keyboard (harpsichord, clavichord, organ) music of Johann Sebastian Bach, which exploited the new tonal system of twelve major and twelve minor keys in “well-tempered” scales. Other legacies of the period include instrumental music that expressed, on analogy with vocal music, emotions and pastoral scenes, the use of dissonance to express sorrow and anguish, the showcasing of vocal and instrumental virtuosity, and the development of European musical notation in its present form. An excursion to the Indonesian island of Java introduces another orchestral tradition that appeared about the same time: the gamelan made of large sets of bronze gongs and slab-keyed instruments. All of these traditions depended on wealthy patrons, whether merchants and traders, churches, or aristocratic courts.

Gateway 17

“Speranza, tu mi vai”

Claudio Monteverdi

Gateway 18

“The Four Seasons - Violin Concerto in E Major, RV 269, "La Primavera," I. Allegro”

Antonio Vivaldi, Guiliano Carmignola

Gateway 19

Messiah: Part 2 - "Hallelujah”

George Frideric Handel

Gateway 20

“Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major”

Johann Sebastian Bach

Gateway 21

“Ketawang Puspawarna Laras Slendro Patet Manyura”

Music from the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution (1750-1800)

This chapter examines the music of Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven, all of whom worked in or near Vienna. Their life stories record the transition from courtly patronage to civic and private patronage. Haydn was famous for his string quartets, symphonies, and the development of sonata form; Mozart for this operas, symphonies, and prodigious talent; and Beethoven for his deeply expressive piano sonatas and chamber music. Beethoven was a child of the Enlightenment, which championed the rights of man over those of the aristocracy. Secular music surpassed religious music as the principal medium of compositional practice, and public concerts, music lessons for the wealthy merchant and bourgeois classes, and royalties from published compositions began to supplant courtly patronage as the means of support for composers, who began to regard themselves, and were regarded by their audiences and critics, as artists and not merely as servants and craftsmen. These composers flourished during a revolutionary period that also coincided with the height of the transatlantic slave trade, and so the chapter also introduces the African-derived religious practices, especially Brazilian Candomblé, that have flourished in the New World to this day.

Gateway 22

String Quartet Op. 76, No. 3, “Emperor,” Movement II, Poco adagio, cantabile

Franz Joseph Haydn

Gateway 23

“Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, Movement I”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Gateway 24

Le Nozze di Figaro, Act I Scene 1, "Cinque . . . dieci"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Gateway 25

“Piano Sonata in C Minor No. 8, Op. 13, Mvt. I: Grave - Allegro molto e con brio (Pathétique)”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Gateway 26

“Ijexa for Oxum”

Jorge Alabȇ

Music from the Early Nineteenth Century (1800-1850)

The chapter examines the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, especially his Fifth Symphony; the Symphonie Fantastique of Hector Berlioz; and solo piano music in the form of a waltz by Frédéric Chopin, a Polish emigré to Paris. These works were imbued with the spirit of an aesthetic philosophy called Romanticism, which argued artists should express their interior experiences of passion, restlessness, longing, and striving in their creations. Listeners heard those passions in instrumental music with or without accompanying written programs. The industrial revolution enabled the creation of pianos with strong metal frameworks and wind instruments with keys and valves, and it created a new class of wealthy patrons for music: the urban bourgeoisie of capitalists, manufacturers, businessmen, accountants, and lawyers. In the United States the first civic symphony orchestra was formed, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk, a piano virtuoso and composer, concertized at home and abroad. Popular entertainment flourished in the form of minstrel shows with popular songs composed by Stephen Foster and banjo and fiddle music, a tradition kept alive in the Appalachian Mountains and elsewhere by “old-time” and Bluegrass musicians, both black (Elizabeth Cotten, Rhiannon Giddens, the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and white (Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, Béla Fleck).

Gateway 27

“Fifth Symphony, Mvt. I”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Gateway 28

“Symphonie Fantastique (Mvt. I)”

Hector Berlioz

Gateway 29

“Waltz in C-sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2”

Frederic Chopin

Gateway 30


Rhiannon Giddens

Music from the Late Nineteenth Century (1850-1900)

During the late nineteenth century musical Romanticism became the basis for musical nationalism, the expression of national sentiment, often based on rural folk music, in symphonies, piano works, operas, and songs. Richard Wagner’s music dramas in the German language expressed his hope for a German state, while the operas of Giuseppe Verdi have been associated with Italy’s quest for unification. Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde and the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s tone poem called The Moldau illustrate these trends during a time when Europeans were dreaming of creating nation-states based on the principle of ethnic nationalism. The late nineteenth century also witnessed the beginning of the end of the tonal system of European music in Wagner’s “endless melodies,” which avoided authentic cadences, and the free-flowing, seemingly directionless music of Claude Debussy, represented by his tone poem Prélude à l'après-midi d’un faune. In the United States after the Civil War, the Fisk Jubilee Singers spread an appreciation for the spiritual songs of its once enslaved population to northern audiences during tours that left their mark on high school and college choirs to this day and set the stage for the popularity today of African American gospel music and soul music.

Gateway 31

“Prelude (from Tristan und Isolde)”

Richard Wagner

Gateway 32


Bedřich Smetana

Gateway 33

“Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune”

Claude Debussy

Gateway 34

“Swing low, sweet chariot”

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Music from the Turn of the Twentieth Century (1890-1918)

This chapter examines music that emerged in the period between 1890 and 1918 in five categories: the blues, American band music, ragtime, early European modernism in classical music, and Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues” opens a discussion of the blues as a popular musical and social practice of African American communities of the American South under Reconstruction and Jim Crow. John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” provides an example of popular marching and concert band music composed in this period and its connection to European dance form as well as its role in the social life of American communities. Ragtime was also popular during this period, and Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin illustrates its ties to marching band music and its position, along with the blues, as a precursor to jazz. The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky challenges the tonal system and draws on musical folklore as an example of early European modernism. Balinese gamelan gong keybar developed in the wake of Dutch colonization, emphasizing musical contrast and explosive virtuosity and becoming part of the fabric of community life and of a vibrant tourism industry that continues today.

Gateway 35

“Backwater Blues”

Bessie Smith

Gateway 36

“The Stars and Stripes Forever”

John Philip Sousa

Gateway 37

“Maple Leaf Rag”

Scott Joplin

Gateway 38

“Rite of Spring (Introduction)”

Igor Stravinsky

Gateway 39

“Tabuh Sekar Jepun”

I Wayan Gandra

Music from the Interwar Period (1918-1939)

This chapter examines music from the period between the First and Second World Wars, when the music industry began distribution recordings on a mass scale for the first time. Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five’s recording of “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” by Lil Hardin Armstrong is an example of how black musicians from New Orleans who migrated to northern cities such as Chicago adapted early jazz styles to the trends, markets, and technologies of new urban environments. Americans in the 1920s and 1930s were captivated by the swing music and dance craze, and Duke Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy” introduces how combinations of African American, European, and other musical elements embody and signify complex musical and social confluences related to jazz and race. American popular song of this period emerges from Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, illustrated in “I Got Rhythm” by George and Ira Gershwin, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue provides an example of American symphonic nationalism with its jazz- and blues-inflected style. In Mexico, mariachi music in this period began to resemble its modern sound as the Mexican film industry featured mariachi musicians performing in a style that became a musical icon of Mexican and Mexican American identity.

Gateway 40

“Struttin' with Some Barbecue”

Louis Armstrong

Gateway 41

“Black and Tan Fantasy”

Duke Ellington

Gateway 42

“I Got Rhythm”

George Gershwin/Judy Garland

Gateway 43

“Rhapsody in Blue”

George Gershwin

Gateway 44

“La Negra”

Mariachi Vargas

Music during World War II and its Aftermath (1939-1950)

This chapter examines music from during and just after World War II, taking cases from country music, bebop, classical music, and Trinidadian steel pan music. Country became a named genre in popular music, drawing on roots in “hillbilly records” of the music of rural white musicians and growing into a thriving record industry with musicians such as the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks becoming stars. Bebop style emerged among jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie experimenting with complex harmonies, virtuosic fast tempos, and extended improvisation, all of which departed from the music of popular swing bands and began to position jazz as a type of art music. In classical music, composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Olivier Messiaen, Viktor Ullmann, and Arnold Schoenberg responded to the violence and devastation of World War II, with Shostakovich writing his Symphony No. 7 as a neoclassical depiction of the siege of Leningrad during the war. In Trinidad, steel pan music emerged as musicians turned found objects into instruments and began arranging calypso music, popular music, and European classical music for steelbands that now perform annually at carnival and serve as a symbol and source of national pride.

Gateway 45

“I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Hank Williams

Gateway 46

“Ko Ko”

Charlie Parker

Gateway 47

Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60 "Leningrad": I Allegretto

Dmitri Shostakovich

Gateway 48

“Mystery Band”


Music from an Age of Disenchantment and Protest (1950-1975)

This chapter introduces rock music and salsa and traces developments in jazz and classical music in the period between 1950 and 1975. After first emerging as rock ‘n’ roll among artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley in the 1950s, rock in the 1960s became the music of the first “teenagers,” for whom the music of Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and others became both a way to define themselves against the generation of their parents and a vehicle of protest and resistance. Jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Miles Davis responded to bebop by developing new styles such as modal jazz, hard bop, and free jazz, and combined jazz with popular styles in various forms of jazz fusion. In classical music composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass wrote music that featured repetition and became known as minimalism, while others such as John Cage and Milton Babbitt challenged the nature of music in other ways using new computer technologies and elements of chance. Salsa music emerged among Puerto Rican and Cuban musicians in New York, serving as a pan-Latin American music for entertainment and partying as well as social commentary.

Gateway 49

“All Along the Watchtower”

Jimi Hendrix

Gateway 50

"Acknowledgement" from A Love Supreme

John Coltrane

Gateway 51

“In C”

Terry Riley

Gateway 52

“Oye Como Va”

Tito Puente

Music and Community (1975-1994)

This chapter examines several examples of musicals styles and compositions from between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s that have significant ties to the lives of various communities. Hip-hop culture first emerged among black and Latino communities in the form of rap, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti first for entertainment and enjoyment and later for the expression of the realities and struggles of urban life and myriad other themes in the music of Public Enemy, N.W.A, Tupac Shakur, Queen Latifah, and others. Jazz musicians like Wynton Marsalis turned to neo-traditionalism to celebrate historical styles in jazz, to stimulate jazz education in high schools and universities, and to cultivate the patronage of jazz by institutions such as Lincoln Center. Classical composers such as John Corigliano, John Adams, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and David del Tradici composed music in postmodern, minimalist, and neo-Romantic styles that were more accessible and understandable to a broad audience. Reggae had developed in Jamaica and, with Bob Marley as its most prominent musician, swept the world in this period as a popular music promoting peace and speaking against the oppression of individuals and communities throughout the African diaspora.

Gateway 53

“Fight the Power”

Public Enemy

Gateway 54


Wynton Marsalis

Gateway 55

“Symphony No. 1: III. Chaconne. Giulio's Song”

John Corigliano

Gateway 56

“Buffalo Soldier”

Bob Marley

Music Today

This chapter focuses on four examples from recent years that deal with particular social issues in each of four categories: popular music, jazz, classical music, and world music. Lady Gaga’s song “Til It Happens to You” engages with the issue of sexual assault, and her broader body of work addresses themes such as LGBTQ rights, gender fluidity, and the construct of fame, while demonstrating how popular music today is intertwined with visual and social media and electronic music technology. Jazz musician Esperanza Spalding incorporates R&B, rock, classical music, soul, and other styles into her music as she celebrates black culture, crosses genre boundaries, and indicates some shifts in the male-dominated history and culture of jazz towards a more diverse gender representation. Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer-winning oratorio Anthracite Fields brings elements from rock and popular music into a classical setting as it addresses histories and contemporary challenges of coal-mining communities in Pennsylvania. In their narcocorrido “La Bala,” Mexican American norteño group Los Tigres del Norte paint a vivid picture of the real and devastating consequences of the drug trade in a musical style with roots stretching back to mid-nineteenth-century Mexico.

Gateway 57

“Til It Happens to You”

Lady Gaga

Gateway 58

“Black Gold”

Esperanza Spalding

Gateway 59

“Anthracite Fields”

Julia Wolfe

Gateway 60

“La Bala”

Los Tigres Del Norte