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Quiz about Composer Conundrum
Quiz about Composer Conundrum

Composer Conundrum Trivia Quiz

Ever since my parents took me to see the orchestra, I have been in love with classical music... and then I learned that 'classical' music was really only from one musical period! Can you help me sort these composers into their proper era?

A classification quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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3 mins
Classify Quiz
Quiz #
Sep 23 23
# Qns
Avg Score
12 / 15
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: angostura (15/15), bmrsnr (15/15), Guest 205 (13/15).
Medieval (c. 500-1400)
Renaissance (c. 1400-1600)
Baroque (c. 1600-1750)
Classical (c. 1750-1830)
Romantic (c. 1830-1900)

Henry Purcell Josquin des Prez Frédéric Chopin Hildegard of Bingen Joseph Haydn Franz Liszt Johann Sebastian Bach William Byrd Ludwig van Beethoven Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Clara Schumann Guillaume de Machaut Antonio Vivaldi Adam de la Halle

* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the correct categories.

Most Recent Scores
Sep 28 2023 : angostura: 15/15
Sep 24 2023 : bmrsnr: 15/15
Sep 24 2023 : Guest 205: 13/15
Sep 23 2023 : Terrirose: 8/15
Sep 23 2023 : Guest 90: 11/15
Sep 20 2023 : Guest 99: 6/15
Sep 15 2023 : Guest 50: 5/15
Sep 12 2023 : Guest 86: 13/15
Sep 03 2023 : jackslade: 15/15

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Hildegard of Bingen

Answer: Medieval (c. 500-1400)

Saint Hildegard of Bingen was born around the year 1098 and lived until 1179. She was a known polymath who lived a life of service as a Catholic nun with the Benedictine order, becoming abbess of her convent at Disibodenberg, Germany.

Outside of her other accomplishments in theology, science and medicine, Hildegard was also a composer, and wrote the earliest recorded morality play, both the music and the lyrics, entitled "Ordo Virtutum" (Order of the Virtues). She also wrote 69 other musical compositions (chants), with more of them surviving and being performed/recorded today than by any other composer of the Middle Ages.
2. Adam de la Halle

Answer: Medieval (c. 500-1400)

Records are sketchy, but French poet-composer Adam de la Halle was born sometime between 1245 and 1288, and lived until at least the year 1306. No date of death is noted. Evidence points to his home being Arras.

Adam de la Halle was one of the few known composers of the 13th century that wrote music in both the monophonic (unison, single-line) and developing polyphonic styles of music. His earlier works included 'chansons' (songs) in the conservative style of the 'trouvères' (from which the word 'troubadour' is derived), and his later works included the more complicated 'motets' and 'rondeaux.'
3. Guillaume de Machaut

Answer: Medieval (c. 500-1400)

Guillaume de Machaut was a French composer and poet who lived from around 1300 to 1377. He wrote in many different styles, including both secular and sacred. In fact, his "Messe de Nostre Dame" is one of the earliest masses written by a single composer.

Machaut was central to the development of the 'ars nova' (new technique) musical movement, which replaced the previous 'ars antiqua' with a number of new practices, largely rhythmic and polyphonic, that is likened to the visual art of the day developing perspective. Machaut's influence in this new technique was so prevalent that musicologists mark the transition to the next style ('ars subtilior') as the year of Machaut's death.
4. Josquin des Prez

Answer: Renaissance (c. 1400-1600)

Josquin Lebloitte dit des Prez lived from 1455 to 1521 and was from the French-speaking region of Flanders in present-day Belgium. He was a popular musician and composer during his lifetime, and maintained fame for a time afterwards, with his works still being performed and referenced well into the Baroque period.

Josquin des Prez was a prestigious performer (singer), and held various high-profile posts during his career, including the papal choir in Rome, under Pope Innocent VIII and Pope Alexander VI. In the midst of his musical career, he also became an ordained priest.

As a composer, Josquin was credited with pioneering three distinct practices: using smaller motifs across voices, instead of longer, melismatic lines; writing imitative polyphony equally between voices; and focusing on the text as an early form of word painting, writing the music to emphasize the words.
5. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Answer: Renaissance (c. 1400-1600)

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian composer who lived from 1525 to 1594. At the height of his career he was appointed by Pope Julius III as the 'maestro di cappella' (musical director) of the Cappella Giulia, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an extremely prolific composer over his lifetime, writing almost exclusively for the church. His works include 105 masses, 68 offertories, at least 140 madrigals and more than 300 motets, plus at least 72 hymns, 35 magnificats, 11 litanies, and four or five sets of lamentations (Wikipedia).

His music became the standard for future composers and students of Renaissance music. Even today, when learning about Renaissance music, the 'Palestrina Style' is what is primarily studied.
6. William Byrd

Answer: Renaissance (c. 1400-1600)

William Byrd was an English composer who lived from 1543 to 1623. He wrote nearly 500 compositions in both secular and sacred music, but by far was best known for his contributions to Anglican and Catholic musical traditions in England (he began his career as an Anglican, and turned to Catholicism in the 1570s).

Byrd was able to incorporate the new techniques from mainland Europe into existing English Renaissance musical styles, and his work (and his teaching) was highly influential to other contemporary musicians and students in England.
7. Henry Purcell

Answer: Baroque (c. 1600-1750)

Henry Purcell was born in Westminster in 1659 and lived until 1695. He joins William Byrd as one of the foremost English composers of 'early' Western music. He was something of a musical prodigy, with music published already at the age of 11.

Early in his career, Purcell wrote for the theatre, but at the tender age of 20, the organist at Westminster Abbey retired to let Purcell have his position. For the next few years, Purcell devoted most of his composing efforts to writing for the church, only returning to writing after nearly a decade.

While he wrote many anthems and hymns and set a great legacy for the generations to come, Purcell is probably most easily recognized for his theatre music / opera works, with his most famous being "Dido and Aeneas" (1688).
8. Antonio Vivaldi

Answer: Baroque (c. 1600-1750)

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was a Venetian composer who lived from 1678 to 1741. Not only was Vivaldi a renowned composer across Europe during his lifetime, he was also a virtuoso violinist.

The instrumental concerto, which became a mainstay of composers into the 20th century, had its birth during the Baroque, and its early form was perfected in the works of Antonio Vivaldi. Over the course of his lifetime, Vivaldi composed more than 500 concertos, including his most famous set of four violin concertos, "The Four Seasons" (1723).

Sadly, Vivaldi's incredible skill in composing and performing could not overcome the patronage system in the end. Losing some status in Venice led to the decision to relocate to Vienna, potentially to find a new patron in Emperor Charles VI, whom he had met and received an invitation from. But the emperor died before Vivaldi could establish himself, and he soon found himself impoverished and ill, and he died within a year of his relocation.

In spite of his popularity during his lifetime, Vivaldi's music was not re-popularized until the 20th century.
9. Johann Sebastian Bach

Answer: Baroque (c. 1600-1750)

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer who lived from 1685 to 1750. He was born into a musical family as the youngest of eight children, and from a much larger musical tradition that went back at least three generations, with professional musicians on all sides of the family. Two of J.S. Bach's own children would also become professional musician (Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel).

J.S. Bach composed hundreds of works, including cantatas, Passions, oratorios, motets, and concertos. He wrote both secular and sacred music, while working his 'day job' as cantor at St. Thomas' in Leipzig. In 1736, Bach was granted the title of court composer by Augustus III of Poland.

Bach's music epitomized the Baroque style through his mastery of counterpoint and harmony, along with ability to build music on motifs, so much so that musicologists marked the end of the Baroque era by his year of death.
10. Joseph Haydn

Answer: Classical (c. 1750-1830)

Franz Joseph Haydn lived from 1732 to 1809 and spent most of his life as the court musician for the Esterházy family at their castle in Hungary. Despite this isolation from the mainstream musical community, Haydn also worked with many other musicians in his role, as a benevolent musical leader, so much so that he earned the nickname 'Papa' Haydn, mentoring and tutoring such musical luminaries as Mozart and Beethoven along the way.

With Haydn's innovations and development of musical forms for instrumental ensembles, he also earned the (unofficial) titles of 'Father of the Symphony' and 'Father of the String Quartet.' In his later years, Haydn had the opportunity to travel more and he found a home-away-from-home in London, England, and subsequent celebrity in Vienna. His last public appearance for a performance was in 1803, and he essentially retired with ill health until he passed in 1809. Mozart's "Requiem" was played at his funeral.
11. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Answer: Classical (c. 1750-1830)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (christened Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart) was born in Salzburg, Austria in 1756 and lived until 1791. He was a child prodigy who was paraded around Europe by his father beginning at the age of four along with his elder sister Nannerl. When he was just eight years old, he composed his first symphony.

While still a teenager, Mozart earned a position as one of Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo's musicians in Salzburg, and even though he was keen for better opportunities, travelling for a time, he did not leave for good until 1781, when he relocated to Vienna permanently. In short order, Mozart was hailed as the finest keyboard player in Vienna, and achieved success as a composer, as well. While in Vienna, Mozart met Haydn and they became friends. Haydn wrote to Mozart's father, stating, "I tell you before God, and as an honest man, your son is the greatest composer known to me by person and repute, he has taste and what is more the greatest skill in composition."

While in Prague for the premiere of one of his works, Mozart became sick with an unknown malady. His health deteriorated until, by late November, he was bedridden. He passed away in his home on December 5th, 1791, a great loss to the world at just 35 years of age.
12. Ludwig van Beethoven

Answer: Classical (c. 1750-1830)

Ludwig van Beethoven was a Germon composer who lived from 1770 to 1827. He began his life and career in his home city of Bonn in Germany, but moved to Vienna in 1792, filling the void left by the recently deceased Mozart. Beethoven quickly established himself as a virtuoso performer, and soon was having his compositions performed to rave reviews.

Beethoven's hearing began to fail during the early 1800s, and by 1814, he was completely deaf. Despite this, he continued to compose masterful music, and by the end of his life was beginning to explore the beginnings of what would become known as the Romantic Period of classical music. An estimated 10,000 people attended his funeral procession.

Two centuries later, Beethoven's works are still amongst the most-played 'classical' music in the world.
13. Frédéric Chopin

Answer: Romantic (c. 1830-1900)

Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin (originally Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin) was born in 1810 and lived until 1849. He spent the first half of his life in his home city of Warsaw before moving to Paris at the age of 20, where he lived until his untimely death at the age of 39.

Chopin was a virtuoso pianist who also chose to write the majority of his compositions for the piano. He embraced the Romantic Period by imbuing his music with emotion and sensitivity through advanced use of harmony and rhythm. More than 230 of his works survive, mostly shorter in length, but some longer pieces. He even invented a new form called the instrumental 'ballade.'

Chopin spent much of his life in poor health, and it is believed that he finally passed away from (likely) pericarditis, made worse by tuberculosis.
14. Franz Liszt

Answer: Romantic (c. 1830-1900)

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian pianist and composer who lived from 1811 to 1886. He began his musical career touring as a virtuoso pianist in his late 20s and early 30s, garnering an almost feverish following, not just for his skill, but also for his good looks. The term 'Lisztomania' was coined by a literary critic in 1844, upon review of the Parisian concert season.

Liszt was also a prolific composer, creating more than 700 works, the vast majority of which were for, or included, piano, even when part of larger ensembles. He is credited with creating the 'symphonic poem,' which is a symphonic work that generally evokes the content of a poem, short story, or novel, or even visual media such as paintings, a landscape, or other non-musical source.

Liszt lived a long life, and by the end of it he began to experiment with harmonies in some of his works, bringing a foreshadowing of the Impressionist movement that would be realized in the music of Debussy and Ravel.
15. Clara Schumann

Answer: Romantic (c. 1830-1900)

Clara Josephine Schumann (née Wieck) was a German composer who lived from 1819 to 1896. She was born into a musical family, with both her parents pianists and music teachers, and began her career as a child prodigy, touring as a pianist at the age of 11.

In 1840, Clara Wieck married the composer Robert Schumann, although it was not an easy process, as her father (Robert's piano teacher) was dead set against the marriage. Robert actually went through a long and bitter legal battle with Clara's father over the matter.

Their nuptial and musical partnership only lasted until Robert's death in 1856, but in that time, Clara often premiered many of her husband's compositions (or her own piano transcriptions of his orchestral works), along with doing her own music. Even though she was more renowned as a performer, Clara produced a healthy body of work of her own works, composing 66 pieces including works for piano and orchestra and solo piano.
Source: Author reedy

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