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1.2: How this text is organized

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    Defining the Problem of Some Approaches to Music Appreciation

    As mentioned in the previous page, this text is organized differently than most other Music Appreciation texts out there.

    Most texts will approach the material from a chronological perspective. They begin in Ancient Rome, and they very slowly work their way through the ages to the present day.

    While this approach makes sense, it does not provide students with a solid understanding as to how different time periods approach similar types of music.

    For instance: in Week 4, students encounter a violin concerto for the first time in the Baroque period. Five weeks later, the encounter a piano concerto in the Classical period, and are expected to be able to compare two different concertos using two different ensembles from two different time periods that they learned about within several weeks' time. This large gap in time does not provide students to understand the differences in approaches between the two time periods -- nor does it address how all of the different time periods differ in their approaches.

    Addressing the Problem: A Topical Approach to Music Appreciation

    This text seeks to rectify this issue by approaching music from a topical perspective, by looking at different types of music in each unit, comparing different time periods from one to another within the same unit. Readers will gain an understanding of how different composers of different eras approached similar topics differently, and will gain a strong appreciation and understanding of the evolution of style, form, and genre.

    The next page will provide readers with a brief understanding of how we organize Music History over the last 2000 years, which are broken up into six different time periods. These different time periods will be addressed throughout the various chapters of the text.

    The following chapter provides a brief understanding of the Elements of music, providing basic terminology that will be utilized throughout this text. It will also cover instruments and instrument families that students will encounter in their text, and are likely to encounter in their own lives.

    Following that, the text is split into 2 different units.

    Unit 1: Instrumental Music

    Unit 1 covers Instrumental Music and spans Chapters 4-8.

    Chapter 4 begins with the Classical Era (1750-~1820), which provides much of the foundation for modern music (including much popular song!) It will cover the most common types of musical phrases and themes, which have influenced composers for multimedia (film, television, video game) to this day! The chapter discusses form within single-movement works, and the 4-movement Symphony.

    Chapter 5 covers Chamber Music over the last five centuries. Beginning with a brief discussion of the Baroque Period (1600-1750), the chapter addresses different types of small instrumental ensembles over the last 400+ years as well as the different formal strategies that composers employed within the music.

    Chapter 6 covers different 20th Century Artistic Movements, including Impressionism, Early Modernism, Expressionism, Avant-garde, and Minimalism. Readers will come to understand just how much of an eclectic variety of styles and artistic visions are found within the last 100 years.

    Chapter 7 addresses the history of Keyboard Instruments, and will conclude with the Piano. While the Piano was popular in the Classical era, it became synonymous with the rising Middle Class in the 19th century: because of the the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing cost far less than it had in previous decades, and many people could afford a piano in their homes as the primary means for musical entertainment. The chapter will address to the two most prominent pianists in the 19th Century: Frederic Chopin and Franz Lizst.

    Chapter 8 addresses the Instrumental Concerto: a combination of soloist and orchestra. Readers will see how much larger the ensembles and music became over the course of the past centuries.

    Unit 2: Music and Drama

    Unit 2 addresses Music and Drama. It addresses program music, vocal music, opera, music in film, and music in video games.

    Can music tell a story without words? Chapter 10 address this question by providing an overview of Program Music in the 19th century. After a brief discussion of the 19th century aesthetics and the rising popularity of program music, it addresses three very distinct and imaginative pieces of instrumental music that tells a story without words.

    Chapter 11 addresses vocal music and the idea of the art song from Ancient Greece to the Present Day. Readers will come to understand how text and sound/music interacts with one another to enhance storytelling.

    Chapter 12 addresses Music Dramas and Opera. It begins with the "pre-opera" of Hildegard von Bingen's Play of Virtues: a Medieval music drama that depicts an innocent soul armed with the Angels of Virtues pitted against Satan himself. It then covers opera in the Baroque, Classical, and 19th century. It concludes by looking at Richard Wagner's Music Drama The Ring of Nibelung, which introduces the concept of the leitmotif. Here, students will learn about how a single musical idea can develop with the drama as it unfolds, interacting directly with the unfolding narrative.

    Chapter 13 addresses music in film, and discusses how Wagner's leitmotif influenced Hollywood composers like Max Steiner, John Williams, and Howard Shore.

    Chapter 14 addresses music in video games, and continues the discussion of leitmotif in video game soundtracks. It discusses how composers for early video games sought to arrange their music for full orchestras, musically depicting a players' own memories of game play---and their own personal memories of play in general.

    Supplemental Materials: Video Presentations

    Remember: music includes sound. It is difficult to simply read about sound. Reading about sound is like listening to someone explain sports. It's easier to listen when trying to understand music!

    This text is combined with many supplemental videos created by the author of this text. These videos provide readers with more in depth discussion of terms, topics, concepts, and musical works covered within this text. Readers are expected to watch the the video presentations in conjunction with the reading in this text. The text itself is purposely written on the shorter side because the videos, which range from 20-70 minutes, cover more difficult topics in more detail. Students who take notes reading this text and watching the videos should be expected to do well on any type of assessment.

    1.2: How this text is organized is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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