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Originating Location: Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, Syria, Iberia and Egypt.

Originating Styles: Early Christian religious music, plainchant, folk styles, theater and market music, Greek and Roman music theory.

Originating Era: Between the 6th and 9th century.

Key Composers[]

Early Middle Ages: Rome, Hispania, Gaul, Milan, and Ireland[]

  • Pope Gregory I
  • St. Godric
  • Hucbald
  • Guido of Arezzo
  • Odo of Arezzo
  • Notker Balbulus
  • Hildegard of Bingen
  • Odo of Cluny
  • Tutilo

High Middle Ages: France and Spain[]

  • Léonin
  • Pérotin
  • William IX of Aquitaine
  • Alfonso X of Castile
  • Chastelain de Couci
  • Petrus de Cruce
  • Beatriz de Dia
  • Wolfram von Eschenbach
  • Niedhart von Reuenthal
  • Bernart de Ventadorn
  • Adam de Saint Victor
  • Walther von der Vogelweide
  • W. de Wycombe

Late Middle Ages: France and Italy[]

  • Borlet
  • Grimace
  • Solage
  • François Andrieu

  • Jacopo da Bologna

  • Donato da Cascia

  • Anthonello de Caserta

  • Philippus de Caserta
  • Johannes Ciconia
  • Baude Cordier
  • Andrea da Firenze
  • Gherardello da Firenze
  • Giovanni da Firenze
  • Lorenzo da Firenze
  • Francesco Landini
  • Jehan de Lescuerel
  • Guillame de Machaut
  • Lorenzo Masini
  • Bartolino da Padova
  • Matteo da Perugia
  • Niccolò da Perugia
  • Maestro Piero
  • Jacob Senleches
  • Philippe de Vitry

Early Renaissance: Flanders, Germany, England, and Italy[]

  • Gilles Binchois
  • Bartolomeo da Bologna
  • Antoine Busnois
  • Antonio da Cividale
  • Guillame Dufay
  • John Dunstaple
  • Paolo da Firenze
  • Franchinus Gaffurius
  • Heinrich Glarean
  • Nicolas Gombert
  • Roy Henry
  • Heinrich Isaac
  • Arnold de Lantins
  • Martin Luther
  • Giovanni Mazzouli
  • Jacob Obrecht
  • Johannes Ockeghem
  • Leonel Power
  • Josquin des Prez
  • Antonius Romanus
  • Zacara da Teramo
  • Johannes Tinctoris

Late Renaissance: Italy, Flanders, France, Spain, and England[]

  • Jacques Arcadelt
  • William Byrd
  • Francesca Caccini
  • Giulio Caccini
  • Guillame Costeley
  • John Dowland
  • Juan del Encina
  • Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • Andrea Gabrieli
  • Giovanni Gabrieli
  • Vincenzo Galilei
  • Carlo Gesauldo
  • Alessandro Grandi
  • Clément Janequin
  • Claude Le Jeune
  • Orlando de Lassus
  • Luzzasco Luzzaschi
  • Luca Marenzio
  • Girolamo Mei
  • Philippe de Monte
  • Claudio Monteverdi
  • Thomas Morley
  • Luys de Narváez
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  • Jacopo Peri
  • Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
  • Thomas Tallis
  • Lodovico Grossi da Viadana
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria
  • Nicola Vincentino
  • Thomas Weelkes
  • Giaches de Wert
  • John Wilbye
  • Adrian Willaert
  • Gioseffo Zarlino

Baroque and Rococo: Germany, France, England, and Italy[]

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Deterich Buxtehude
  • Antonio Caldera
  • Francesco Cavalli
  • Giacomo Carissimi
  • Antonio Cesti
  • Marc-Antoine Charpentier
  • Arcangelo Corelli
  • François Couperin
  • Johann Jacob Froberger
  • Johann Fux
  • Denis Gaultier
  • George Friderich Handel
  • Johann Adolf Hasse
  • Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre
  • Reinhard Keiser
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully
  • Biagio Marini
  • Johann Pachelbel
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
  • Henry Purcell
  • Jean-Phillippe Rameau
  • Alessandro Scarlatti
  • Heinrich Schütz
  • Barbara Strozzi
  • Antonio Vivaldi
  • Georg Phillip Telemann

Early Classicism: Germany, Austria, England, Spain, and Italy[]

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Johann Christian Bach
  • Franz Ignaz Beck
  • William Billings
  • Luigi Boccherini
  • Christian Cannabich
  • Muzio Clementi
  • Jan Ladislav Dussek
  • Anton Fils
  • Ignaz Fränzl
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Joseph Haydn
  • Ignaz Holzbauer
  • Ludwig August Lebrun
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Franz Xaver Richter
  • Antonio Salieri
  • Domenico Scarlatti
  • Giovanni Battista Sammartini
  • Antonio Soler
  • Anton Stamitz
  • Carl Stamitz
  • Johann Stamitz
  • Carl Joseph Toeschi

Late Classicism and Early Romanticism: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Czechia, Hungary, America, Russia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland[]

Late Romanticism and Realism: America, Austria, Czechia, England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, and Russia[]

  • Mily Balakirev
  • Amy Marcy Beach
  • Ernest Bloch
  • Alexander Borodin
  • George Whitefield Chadwick
  • Francesco Cilea
  • César Cui
  • Antonin Dvorak
  • Edward Elgar
  • César Franck
  • Umberto Giordano
  • Edvard Grieg
  • Ruggero Leoncavallo
  • Pietro Mascagni
  • Edward MacDowell
  • Gustav Mahler
  • Modest Mussorgsky
  • John Knowles Paine
  • Horatio Parker
  • Giacomo Puccini
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Camille Saint-Saëns
  • Alexander Scriabin
  • Jean Sibelius
  • Richard Strauss
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Hugo Wolf

Neoclassicism, Neoromanticism and Neobaroque: Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and the Americas[]

Impressionism and Post-Romanticism: France, Spain, Poland, Czechoslovakia, England, and America[]

  • Isaac Albéniz
  • Louis Andriessen
  • André Caplet
  • Claude Debussy
  • Frederick Dellas
  • Paul Dukas
  • Manuel de Falla
  • Gabriel Fauré
  • Charles Griffes
  • Leoš Janáček
  • Charles Koechlin
  • Charles Martin Loeffler
  • Olivier Messiaen
  • Maurice Ravel
  • Ottorino Respighi
  • Albert Roussel
  • Erik Satie
  • Cyril Scott
  • Karol Szymanowski

Expressionism and Serialism: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States[]

  • Milton Babbitt
  • Jean Barraqué
  • Alban Berg
  • Luciano Berio
  • Pierre Boulez
  • Elliott Carter
  • Bruno Maderna
  • Donald Martino
  • Luigi Nono
  • Arnold Schoenberg
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen
  • Anton Webern
  • Charles Wuorinen

Experimentalism, Aleatoricism, and Avant-Garde: America, France, Austria, and Japan[]

  • John Becker
  • Earle Brown
  • John Cage
  • Julián Carrillo
  • Henry Cowell
  • George Crumb
  • Merce Cunningham
  • Ivor Darreg
  • Lucia Dlugoszewski
  • Morton Feldman
  • Lou Harrison
  • Toshi Ichiyanigi
  • Charles Ives
  • Colin McPhee
  • Harry Partch
  • Krzysztof Penderecki
  • Carl Ruggles
  • Pierre Schaeffer
  • Charles Seeger
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger
  • Ralph Shapey
  • David Tudor
  • Edgard Varèse
  • Christian Wolff
  • Stefan Wolpe
  • Iannis Xenakis

Minimalism and Post-minimalism: America and the Netherlands[]

  • John Adams
  • Louis Andriessen
  • Gavin Bryars
  • Philip Glass
  • Karel Goeyvaerts
  • Henryk Górecki
  • John Lewis
  • Steve Martland
  • Michael Nyman
  • Michael Parsons
  • Arvo Pärt
  • Steve Reich
  • Terry Riley
  • Bright Sheng
  • Howard Skempton
  • Dave Smith
  • John Tavener
  • John White
  • LaMonte Young

Polystylism and Eclecticism: America, Russia, and Canada[]

  • Lera Auerbach
  • Django Bates
  • Michael Colgrass
  • John Corigliano
  • Peter Maxwell Davies
  • David Del Tredici
  • Sofia Gubaidulina
  • György Ligeti
  • George Rochberg
  • R. Murray Schafer
  • Alfred Schnittke
  • Joan Tower
  • John Zorn
  • Alexander Zhurbin
  • Lev Zhurbin
  • Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Popular form: America and Austria[]

Key Albums[]

Genre Description[]

Western Classical is the oldest type of "serious" music. It's a huge blanket term for basically all forms of court, church and upper-middle class music, and sometimes important popular composers. Classical music can be vocal; between song and operatic theater, or instrumental; solo instrument and big orchestral ensembles -- there are many classical pieces for solo piano, violin or harpsichord. Most people think that classical music was written centuries ago, but there is still classical music being written today, though usually for a much smaller market, unless it is in a romantic or classical style. A lot of 20th/21st Century classical, however, is much more experimental than it was before (But also much more fragmented), making it interesting for smaller groups of music specialists but not for a broader market. Minimalism is the main exception.

Artists in this genre[]

This only includes artists for whom there are recordings.

Conductors[]

  • Claudio Abbado
  • Leonard Bernstein
  • Sir Colin Davis
  • Bernard Haitink
  • Sir Neville Marriner
  • André Previn
  • Simon Rattle
  • Georg Solti
  • Georg Tintner
  • Pinchas Zukerman

Pianists[]

  • Leif Ove Andsnes
  • Claudio Arrau
  • Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Daniel Barenboim
  • Vladimir Feltsman
  • Vladimir Horowitz
  • Lang Lang
  • Maurizio Pollini
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff

Violinists[]

  • James Ehnes
  • Fritz Kreisler
  • Jascha Heifetz
  • Victoria Mullove
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter
  • Isaac Stern

Other[]

Labels in this genre[]

Further Reading[]