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Quiz about Music to My Years
Quiz about Music to My Years

Music to My Years Trivia Quiz

Western 'Classical' music has changed significantly over the centuries since someone first tried to write the notes down. Can you match the composer to the musical era for which they are best known?

A matching quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
8 / 10
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. Medieval Era (circa 500-1400)  
  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2. Renaissance Era (circa 1400-1600)  
  Philip Glass
3. Baroque Era (circa 1600-1750)  
  Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz
4. Galant Music (circa 1720s-1770)  
  Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin
5. Classical Era (circa 1750-1820)  
  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
6. Romantic Era (circa 1800-1910)  
  Claude Debussy
7. Impressionism (circa 1890-1925)  
  Johann Sebastian Bach
8. Neoclassicism (circa 1920-1950)  
  John Cage
9. Experimental Music (circa 1950 to present)  
  Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky
10. Minimalism (circa 1960-1990)  
  Guillaume de Machaut

Select each answer

1. Medieval Era (circa 500-1400)
2. Renaissance Era (circa 1400-1600)
3. Baroque Era (circa 1600-1750)
4. Galant Music (circa 1720s-1770)
5. Classical Era (circa 1750-1820)
6. Romantic Era (circa 1800-1910)
7. Impressionism (circa 1890-1925)
8. Neoclassicism (circa 1920-1950)
9. Experimental Music (circa 1950 to present)
10. Minimalism (circa 1960-1990)

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Medieval Era (circa 500-1400)

Answer: Guillaume de Machaut

The Medieval Era of Western art music was not the beginning of music, of course, but it was the era that laid the foundations for what would follow. It included the first efforts of writing music down, rather than simply learning songs (both vocally and instrumentally) by rote.

And since the earliest efforts to write music were associated with the Church, much of what we have record in this era is related to Christianity and the growth of the Catholic church in Europe. As the practice of music notation grew, however, it was expanded to include secular music.

Guillaume de Machaut was a French composer (and poet) who lived from around 1300 until 1377, after much of the aforementioned groundwork had already been laid. He was a very prolific composer who explored multiple styles in both sacred and secular circles. And as such, Machaut became central to the development of the 'ars nova' (new art) musical style that took all of the techniques experimented with and developed over the preceding centuries and formalized them.
2. Renaissance Era (circa 1400-1600)

Answer: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Still considered 'early music', the Renaissance Era of Western art music mirrored the renaissance that was happening in other arts and in the sciences, with increased innovation and exploration, while also hearkening back to the heritage of the Greek and Roman cultures of antiquity.

Musically, this meant a development of the basic understanding of polyphony and harmony, moving away from simpler relationships built only on 'perfect' intervals (fourths, fifths and octaves) and including what was previously considered dissonant (thirds and sixths). The era was characterized by polyphonic writing and the movement away from the Church Modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian) towards the modern tonality (built on the Ionian (major) and Aeolian (minor) modes) that are most common today.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian composer who lived from about 1525 until 1594. As a composer who lived near the end of the Renaissance Era, his works are considered the culmination of the polyphonic style, especially as concerned the use of counterpoint (a new concept in this era). Although he composed primarily sacred music, his works influenced both sacred and secular music throughout Europe.
3. Baroque Era (circa 1600-1750)

Answer: Johann Sebastian Bach

The Baroque Era of Western art music is considered the beginning of the 'common practice period', which basically meant writing music with the major and minor tonality that became prevalent with the move away from the Church modes. While styles within this period varied widely, the foundation of writing within a common framework of tonality was key in developing our modern understandings of music theory.

The Baroque was broken into early, middle, and late segments in how the musical styles progressed, but in a very general sense, the era was known for its use of musical ornamentation (essentially improvising over a chordal harmonic structure) and basso continuo (a bass line being played alongside harpsichord improvising chords above a figured written bass part) in accompaniment of soloists or small ensembles. The orchestra also saw its beginnings during the Baroque.

German composer Johann Sebastian Bach's music so typified the (late) Baroque Era that the date considered to be the end of the era coincides with his death (1685-1750). He was raised in a strong musical tradition, with multiple members of his extended family accomplished musicians in their own right (over a 200-year period, the Bach family has had more than 50 professional musicians and composers). He wrote extensively for the organ (and was himself renowned as an organist), as well as choral works and orchestral pieces.
4. Galant Music (circa 1720s-1770)

Answer: Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz

After the complexity of the late Baroque, Galant music sought to return to a more simplistic style and an attempt to have a wider audience appeal, reducing the polyphony and simplifying melodies and and even returning to a more basic harmonic structure, stressing the tonic and the dominant. The Galant style served largely as a transition between the Baroque and the Classical, with elements of both evident.

Bohemian composer Johann Stamitz (1717-1757) was one of a number of composers who can be considered an exemplar of the Galant style, but Stamitz was important for his development of orchestral formats (the first to consistently use a four-movement structure that became common in the Classical era) and he also contributed to the development of the sonata form (exposition, development, recapitulation), another standard form used in Classical music literature.
5. Classical Era (circa 1750-1820)

Answer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The musical style of the Classical Era rebounds somewhat from the reaction to the Baroque Era that was the Galant style. Classical music is still less complex (in ornamentation and texture) than the Baroque, but its clear lines and tendency towards homophony were by no means simplistic. And counterpoint was still well-used.

During the Classical Era, the fortepiano (later known simply as the piano) made its debut, largely replacing the harpsichord. Sonatas, solo concertos and symphonies, trios and string quartets, choral works and opera were all prevalent during this time.

The quintessential Classical composer was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91), the Austrian prodigy (technically, he was born in Salzburg while it was still part of the Holy Roman Empire) who began composing at the age of four and was showcased around Europe as a child by his father Leopold, also a musician. Mozart's was a prolific composer during his short life (passed at the age of 35), producing more than 600 works of all styles, with some of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas written in the final few years of his life. Contemporary Joseph Haydn wrote of him, "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years".
6. Romantic Era (circa 1800-1910)

Answer: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin

Completing the 'Common Practice Period' (that began with the Baroque) is the Romantic Era, so named for its connection to the greater movement of Romanticism that also included art, literature, and other intellectual pursuits. The prevailing style of the era moved away from the formulaic Classical styles and became more individualistic and dramatic, sought to express and evoke emotion, and often was written to be programmatic (having a connected theme or story).

Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin (1810-49) was a Polish composer and pianist who spent the last half of his life in Paris, adopting a French version of his name (Frédéric François). He was also a child prodigy, and later was highly sought after as a piano teacher. He wrote many different styles within the overarching Romantic style, but is perhaps best known for his mazurkas and instrumental ballades. Everything that he wrote was written for, or included, piano.
7. Impressionism (circa 1890-1925)

Answer: Claude Debussy

The Mondernism Period followed the Common Practice Period with changes to the fundamental ideas of form and structure. Impressionism took its name from the art movement epitomized by Monet, wherein the observer (or listener, as pertains to music) focuses their attention on the overall impression of the piece, rather than specific components.

Musically, the desired effect of Impressionism came through the use of musical 'colour' (timbre) through orchestration, new chord combinations, ambiguous tonality, non-traditional scales, and other experimental ideas.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was a French composer who was reactionary in his work, seeking to counter the 'obsolete' classical symphonic form with his 'symphonic sketches', or reacting to the German musical tradition (typified in Wagner's music). In addition to his orchestral works, he enjoyed writing for chamber ensembles and piano, and only managed to complete one opera before passing away at the age of 55.
8. Neoclassicism (circa 1920-1950)

Answer: Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

As was the case with some of its predecessor musical eras, Neoclassicism grew out of a reaction to the preceding trends, in this case the tendency towards unrestrained emotionalism and perceived lack of structure and form of the late Romantic Era and subsequent Impressionism movement. Neoclassicism sought a return to clarity through order and balance, as well as emotional restraint. It was a return to 'absolute' music, and a step away from 'program' music.

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian composer who gained a reputation early in his career for pushing musical boundaries, but by the 1920s he had embraced Neoclassicism, looking to earlier styles (like the concerto grosso, fugue, and symphony of the Common Practice Period) for his inspiration. He would move on to Experimental Music in the 1950s, as well, but look to the next composer for more on that.
9. Experimental Music (circa 1950 to present)

Answer: John Cage

Experimental Music (as pertains to Western Art Music) could really encompass any number of sub-styles of the mid to late 20th century and into the new millennium, but it had its beginnings with French composer Pierre Schaeffer (1910-95) and the Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète (GRMC). The inclusion of electronics, acoustic science and modern recording and mixing techniques in the creation of art music was a revolutionary concept. Much of what they did in the 1950s has become common practice in the music industry today.

John Milton Cage, Jr. (1912-92) was an early proponent of Schaeffer's ideas, and became known for pushing the boundaries of modern art music through most of his career. In a lecture that he gave in 1957 titled "Experimental Music", Cage described music as "a purposeless play" which is "an affirmation of life - not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we're living". (Wikipedia)
10. Minimalism (circa 1960-1990)

Answer: Philip Glass

The earliest forays into Minimalism were considered part of the Experimental Music movement, but quickly grew into their own method and style. Minimalism echoes the practices of the visual arts by reducing the musical palette, utilizing repetition of patterns or pulses, recurring melodic figures, drones and consonant harmonies.

One of the earliest and best-known contributors to the Minimalist movement in Western Art Music was Philip Glass (b. 1937), having been influenced by the modernist and experimental composers that came before him and were his contemporaries. Glass turned to the minimalism style in earnest in 1967 and would devote much of the next decade into exploring its possibilities.
Source: Author reedy

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