There are six periods of music and in the following paragraphs I will be comparing all of them. The six periods of music are the Medieval, the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Classical, the Romantic, and the Twentieth Century.
Music of the Medieval Period consisted of chant written for the church by monks and traveling musicians who remained anonymous. Chant is monophonic, speech like, and modal. During this period music was used strictly for the church to enable it to present religious text to an illiterate congregation.
The Renaissance period signaled the beginning of polyphony and the beginning of music for entertainment. The sacred music was referred to as motets or masses and the secular music was referred to as madrigals; most of the music was a cappella, but there were some instrumental parts. Servants to the church or royalty composed most of the music of this period.
In the Baroque period music became entertainment for a greater portion of society and servants or church music directors composed the music. Music in the Baroque period was polyphonic (with some homophony), had unity of mood, and tonality existed. The various forms of music in this period were the baroque suite, oratorio, opera, concerto, fugue and prelude.
The Classical period is the beginning of music for the masses; music was no longer limited to the aristocracy. Operas include common man and melodies as a result. The symphony as invented during this period and form is the most important part of the music. Another major change during this period is that there are freelance musicians, not all composers are servants.
During the Romantic period individualism, nature, imagination, and nationalism dominates music. The symphony orchestra has become larger. Music in not just entertainment, it also fuels national pride. The composers of this period were either freelance or church musicians and some worked as educators.
During the twentieth century everything changes and there are no longer any rules, music is whatever we say it is.