May 14

The MyMusicTheory Guide to Music; Part 1 – Introduction


Do You Know Your Beethoven from Your Boccherini?

Stieler, Joseph Karl: Beethoven mit der Missa solemnis Ölgemälde, 1819

MAJ06_12_Shepheard.inddWhether you need to brush up on your knowledge of musical styles for your upcoming music theory exam, or are just keen to learn more about our rich heritage of “classical” music, I hope this series of posts about the history of classical music will stimulate your earbuds!


Here’s a quick run-down of what’s in this series!

Each post will take a brief look at one of the main eras that “classical” music is divided into.

I’m using the word classical in inverted commas, because most people understand the term “classical music” to mean “art music” or “serious music” or sometimes just “old music”… But, technically the term only refers to a short period of time spanning the 18th to the 19th centuries.
This series of posts will cover these periods of music:

  • Medieval
  • Baroque
  • Classical
  • Romantic
  • Modern

and will show you how you can identify music from each period, using clues from:

  • the instruments
  • the texture of sounds (the way different instruments are blended together)
  • the harmony
  • the structure (how a composition is organised)

This series will be helpful for anyone studying music theory at ABRSM grade six or higher, as knowledge of musical styles is tested at these grades. For example, you may be asked to look at a printed score and name the most likely composer.

But if you’re not studying for a music theory exam, you’ll still find the posts useful and interesting if you are an amateur musician, hobbyist or even GCSE or A level student.

  • Be able to identify the style/period of music you hear playing on the TV or radio
  • Make a good guess at the most likely composer, just by listening!
  • Notice details about your favourite music that you might never have noticed before
  • Be able to explain why a piece of music sounds “Baroque” (for example)
  • Exercise your brain as you listen to music or read a score
  • Maybe even discover a new genre you haven’t really listened to before!


Ready to get started? Head on to Part 2 – Medieval Music!

Or for those less patient, skip to the era of your choice!

Part 3: Renaissance Music

Part 4: Baroque Music

Part 5: Classical Music

Part 6: Romantic Music

Part 7: Modern Music




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  1. Music 4 All

    This is really great. Adding the videos makes the history much more real. Is this something I can down load or will it always be available on line.

    1. admin

      Hi – it’s only available online as the Youtube videos are not mine, I’m just linking to them.

  2. Neophyte

    Thank you!

  3. Dora Felices

    Hi Victoria,

    I think this is a wonderful opportunity to brush up the knowkedge of History of Music from the beginning of Western Music up to the Present time and to be able identify music through ages by a new approach as well.

    Victoria, Thank you very much for the marvellous musical journey that we are going to start guided by a well informed, and generous Lady. D.

  4. Skawinski family

    wonderful help… thank you so much

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