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Western Music

            Throughout history all cultures have been influenced by music. Before the Baroque era in music there were many forms of western music. Most of this music was monophonic, sung in chant used mostly for religious purposes. During the previous millennia most music was sung in chant form with very little accompaniment, save a harp or a violin. In these times music was a simple art, sung by the people to praise the Lord. Eventually polyphonic music developed, first starting as monophonic chant sung in thirds and fifths, and later contrapuntal music was created. During this time the music notation system was standardized, originally a modified Greek system; music notation evolved into the notation that is used today. Having the use of music notation set the foundation for Baroque music and for all music after that. .
             In the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century the Baroque style of music started in Italy. Italy, where the renaissance started, was able to create a new type of music rich in feeling, but less intricate than much of the previous renaissance music that was centered towards the north (France and the area now occupied by the Netherlands). New ideas, like interplay between the various instruments in an orchestra, became prevalent, unlike the monophonic music of previous years. As new instruments were incorporated into orchestras and compositions became increasingly more instrumental interplay had an increasing new role in the new baroque music. Claudio Monteverdi was a pioneer in the field of music at this time. His new operas contained many instances on interplay and sudden contrasts in feeling. As the seventeenth century progressed base parts in music became increasingly more important as the new basso continuo, idea formed. In the basso continuo soprano and alto voices in the music would be constructed on a platform of bass chords that gave meaning and structure to the music.

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