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Perhaps the backbone of music is the classical music tradition. Georg Mathhias Monn was an 18th century Vienna composer. His great contribution to the evolution of music was through the introduction of the secondary theme in the symphony. Monn was influenced by the Baroque style of Bach, but advanced this style to a more looser and graceful sound. His work on ‘Symphony in B major’ reflects this looser style, as well as containing a secondary theme. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony #9 in D Minor, Opus 125 is a piece from most of the most renowned symphonies in the Western tradition. The symphony is in part such a revolutionary contribution to music, not simply because of its powerful and virtuosic content, but also because it represents one of the first instances of voices in a symphony. In terms of thematic content, Beethoven had a number of aristocratic patrons that ensure his artistic productions could be achieved to full completion. Franz Schubert was a 19th century Romantic composer. Despite his early death at 31 his influence has lived on through a number of later composers and in the gradual adoption of Romantic principles. Schubert’s work on Erlkonig is highly influential as it aids in the early development of these Romantic tendencies, as well as the adoption symphonic poetry within the classical music context. In addition to traditional classical composers, there are a great number of amateur and otherwise marginalized songwriters. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was a nineteenth century American composer. He constructed a great number of Romantic piano works and was recognized as virtuoso performer. His composition ‘The Banjo: Fantasie grotesque, Opus 15’ falls within this category. ...
The song is a light-hearted piano melody that one can argue is one of the forerunners of 20th century developments in popular music, with its naive and fun tone. Amy Beach was a 19th and 20th century American female pianist. Her composition ‘Gaelic Symphony: Movement 2’ is highly relevant to the history of music for its virtuosity and content; however, perhaps Beach’s greatest contribution was through breaking gender barriers in an field that until this point has been largely male dominated. Stephen Collins Foster was 19th century American songwriter. He is referred to as the father of American music. His song ‘De Camtown Races’ is highly important as it establishes forms of music that would later influence 20th century singers and songwriters. In terms of influence, the track was heavily influence from black minstrels that were popular at the time. Francis Johnson was a 19th century African American composer based in the United States. During this time African American composers were highly rare. Similar to Beach, Johnson continues the theme of marginalized individuals breaking into an oppressive industry. His song ‘The Grave of the Slave’ is notable for its simple yet beautiful melody. It’s clear Johnson was influenced by African minstrels and European and American classical influences. William Billings was an American choral composer during the 18th century. He is widely recognized as being the progenitor of American choral music. His songs were all written for four-part chorus and intended to be sang acapella. His composition ‘Wake Ev’ry Breath: A Canon of 6 in One with a Ground” falls directly into these categorical articulations. The choral composition is clearly influenced by similar spiritual compositions in the European tradition.
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