Timeline of Music

Chase, Benedikt, etc.

Medieval — 20th Century Timeline of Music

From the Medieval to the 20th century eras, this timeline focuses on key aspects of the musical culture (styles/composers/etc.).

Medieval Era

450 - 1450

Most of the music was consider sacred. Church modes were popular.
Gregorian Chant- Melody set to ancient Latin text.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, secular music became more popular.

Francisco Landini
Guillaume de Machaut
Agnus Dei


1450 - 1600

Rhythm is more of a gentle flow. The music is mostly polyphonic. Referred to the golden age of a cappella music.

Passamezzo and Gilliard
Giovani Gabrieli

Baroque Era

1600 - 1750

Presents one basic mood. For example, what remains happy will remain happy throughout the entire piece. Modeled music out of affections. Specific rhythms or melodic patterns were associated with specific mood. This is a different case for vocals. Rhythm remains constant. Dynamics and melody also remain constant. Mostly polyphonic.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Antonio Vivaldi
George Frederic Handel

Classical Era

1750 - 1827

There is more flexibility of rhythm. Mostly homophonic. Melodies are among the most tuneful and easiest to remember. Gradual dynamic change.

Joseph Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Lugwig van Beethoven

Romantic Era

1827 - 1900

Very passionate. Nationalistic. Composers used tone color to obtain a variety of mood and atmosphere, Colorful harmony, and they made used chords and found new ways to play old chords. Included sharp contrast between faint whispers and sonorities of unprecedented power. Range of pitch was expanded as well. Included accelerandos ritardandos, and variations of pace.

Franz Liszt
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Antonin Dvorak
Johannes Brahms
Richard Wagner
Robert Schuman

Modern Era

1900 - 2012

Tone color became more important than ever before. Harmony changes in the way chords are treated. New techniques of organizing pitches were accompanied by new ways of organizing rhythm.

Claude Debussy
Igor Stravinsky
Anton Weben
Bela Bartok
George Gershwin
Aaron Copland