The piano keyboard has white keys based on the C Diatonic scale plus black keys, which add the remaining notes used in western music. The asymmetrical way in which the black and white keys are placed makes it hard to transpose music and learn scales, since the same scale has a different layout when played in a different musical key.
Some websites state that the reason is Gregorian music since they only used their modes (which only included pitches from the modern C diatonic scale) and then the black keys were added. Going back to antiquity, things always evolve the way they do because over the centuries people find it the most practical and popular method. Later, the first primitive pipe organs were invented, and they began to include keyboards that could be operated by the fingers, which only had to be strong enough to open and close the valves of compressed air going to the pipes (the compressed air was supplied by someone other than the keyboardist who was pumping an air bellows.) This means that the keyboardist could control not only the starting of each note, but the point at which it stopped as well. It's fair to say that the first keyboards on the first organs, in Western civilization, which were certainly rare, expensive and sophisticated mechanical devices for their day, were built to accompany singers who were singing Gregorian chants or melodies of similar structure. As Western music composition and theory gradually became more sophisticated, and melodies were composed which were more elaborate, extra pitches would be required, not only on the organ keyboard, but on other musical instruments with fingerings, such as woodwinds, and stringed instruments with frets. It is worth noting that keyboardists did not use all ten fingers in playing the keyboard until comparatively recently! It is worth noting that in the Renaissance and Baroque periods there were certainly keyboards for pipe organs and for percussion instruments like the harpsichord and clavicord that had more than 12 keys and pitches per octave -- in some cases far more. Apparently the chromatic keys were not for enabling transpositions but were used to enable the playing of perfect or virtually perfect 3rds in polyphony. The need to transpose and play in different keys did not arise until later, by which time the chromatic keys (initially tuned to pure harmonic thirds) were already established.
It's good of you to cite the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (or Grove Online as it is called today), which is the most authoritative source for questions like this. So the piano layout is more or less what you get by first placing the black keys (and actually the white stubs between the black keys) "properly" according to their position in the twelve-tone scale, then putting the white keys in spaced properly according to their position in the seven-tone scale, and then aligning both in the nicest manner.
Oh, and if the question is why add a diatonic white scale at all to the front: it corresponds well to Western scales and notation. Playing guitar (another polyphonic instrument) from scores rather than tablature requires similar sightreading skills. Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged piano keyboard history or ask your own question.
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A tribute to the great gift of music made by these people to humanity as well as a great educational resource for the aspiring musician or anyone who is fond of classical music. Born in Magdeburg, Germany, this composer managed to learn to play four instruments(flute, keyboard, zither and violin) by the time he was ten and wrote his first opera at ten years old. Claudio Monteverdi was born in Cremona, Italy in 1567 becoming the fifth member of a family of four. Compositions from Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, or George Friedrich Handel define the period of baroque music.
Period PerformanceOr, historically informed performance, is an approach in performing arts.
The name 'baroque' comes from the Portuguese word 'barroco', meaning 'misshapen pearl' or 'oddly formed pearl'. Instruments from the baroque period are not completely distinct from those of the modern period.
String Instruments: The violin family included the violino piccolo, violin, viol, viola, and tenor violin. Wind Instruments: The transverse flute, chalumeau, musette de cour, dulcian, baroque oboe (originally hautbois), bassoon and rackett (both from the earlier Renaissance double reed family), and recorder (fipple flutes) were mostly used. Percussion Instruments: These consisted of the baroque timpani or kettledrum, tambourine, snare drum (wooden), and castanets (dancers hold these in their hands). Tonality: Harmony was not much distinct in the music of the medieval times, though some composers focused on it. Monody (Melody and Harmony): What we understand to be some of the basic terms of music, like melody and harmony, have been discovered in the baroque era. A dramatic element and rhetorics were introduced to the musical renditions, portrayed excellently through the voice of a soloist.
Bassocontinuo: Also commonly known as 'thorough bass' or sometimes as figured bass, this system of notation has also defined the entire baroque era to be the period of thorough bass. Reform in opera, associated with Metastasio (Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi), a librettist, gave rise to 'opera seria', a famous Italian opera style. The oratorio has similarities with the 16th century genres of motet and madrigal repertoire. Although baroque music was criticized in the immediate future, it is now that music composers and enthusiasts are appreciating this particular style of art. The "keys" were large heavy foot- and hand-operated levers that triggered ropes that rang bells, and required the performer to throw their body weight onto each lever.
These melodies adhere to a certain very strict "mode" or scale and do not involve chromaticism or modulation. I would imagine that successive generations of pipe organs were built which gradually incorporated additional chromatic pitches one by one.
There are still pipe organs being built today which are replicas of Baroque instruments and that have a somewhat standard (for the era) layout of 15 pitches and keys per octave, used for playing Baroque music in meantone tuning. But note that you can only access that link if you have a paid subscription to the service, or if you are using a computer through a library that pays for a site license subscription. Nonetheless, his family, not coming from a musical background at all, were not at all impressed. Of course, Johann Pachelbel wrote many great pieces, but the 3-part canon he had once written will come to mind every time we hear his name.
Along with some new genres in music, this period also gave birth to the concept of tonality. Here, the performance has to be in accordance with knowing the aesthetics of the period in which the compositions were made.Think of 'sonata', and we tend to imagine the sound of a piano in the background. It was named so by some critics in the nineteenth century, as they found the music very ornamental and highly exaggerated. Others comprised the cello, contrabass, lute, archlute, hurgy-gurdy, harp, mandolone, and baroque guitar.
Brasses included the cornett, serpent (from the cornett), natural horn, baroque trumpet, and tromba da tirarsi or Zugtrompete. It was in the 1600s that composers began creating some secular music for non-religious purposes. Instrumental pieces from the famous baroque artists and composers are remembered to this date, in part, because of the element of contrast in their large-scale works. Baroque music used a different approach, by directing harmony towards tonality, instead of modality (earlier music was based on modes). Claudio Monteverdi's work, named 'Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda', is an excellent example of this blend. However, the pitch, or a common note to which all musicians would tune was not uniform then.


The first three given below are genres that are predominantly known for their vocal aspect.
Opera: This is a musical drama performed by singers and musicians, combining libretto (script) and music.
Arcangelo Corelli's church sonatas were further built upon by Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, and George Handel. Claudio Monteverdi, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Arcangelo Corelli, and Domenico Scarlatti were some of the Italian musicians from these times. Besides undertaking research to understand more about this era, some are also known to have purposefully designed and tuned few musical instruments that could sound baroque.
The series is a collection of the keyboard music of the period 1600 - 1750, offering a fairly representative selection of the forms, styles and composers of that period. You might argue that these are not pianos, well, they could had been pianos if the keyboard had evolved differently which is what my question is about, why did it evolve the way it did? It was not possible to damp each bell, or to restrict the length of the sounding of each note; each bell continued to ring out after it was struck. If you have learned to play an instrument, especially the piano, you would probably have heard of this term, or even better, played it sometime. The period between 1600 and 1750 in Western European art music is eminently known as the baroque period.
The harpsichord, clavichord, organ, tangent piano, and fortepiano were some keyboard instruments.
Then, music began to be heard outside religious edifices, was well received by the layman, and was also composed for royalty in the courts. High and low tones, differences in volume and pitch, loudness and softness, flipping between slow and fast tempos, etc., make this music one of its kind.
The practice of focusing on a single or primary sound, like the voice of the singer, was established in this period. Baroque compositions began to display a wide range of emotions, forming a parallel between human feelings and their imagery expressed through variant ranges of voice.
This is where the melody and bass line were written out completely, and thus helped in extending the practice of emphasis on these two aspects in music. In around 1637, Venice saw a different presentation of this art, no more limited to the courts, but in the form of a carnival or a season, for which people bought tickets. Singers gained fame through this style, as it gave them the opportunity for arias (elaborate solo singing).
The word cantata literally means 'sung', which is the past participle of the Italian verb 'cantare', meaning 'to sing'. Jean-Baptiste Lully, FranA┬žois Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier belonged to France. Baroque Keyboard Pieces Book 1 is featured on the Grades 2 and 3 of the 2017-2018 ABRSM piano exam. It provides both scholarly performing editions and sources of enlightenment on performance conventions.
The bells would be arranged and tuned to play very simple melodies in modes and scales with few notes, where the ringing overtones of the bells would not clash with each other too much. So the pipes would be built and tuned to play only the notes needed for this kind of very simple music that was deliberately restricted in its scope. But the point is that as additional pitches were added that were between the established 7 pitches of the natural minor scale, the logical place to put the extra keys seems to have been physically locating each new key between the two keys representing the pitches tuned immediately below and above the newly introduced pitch.
Bach (1685-1750) and by that time keyboards had already standardized on the physical size and layout of keys that we see on pianos today. Luckily for Georg Telemann, the superintendant of that very school was a music theorist and supported Telemann's passion for music. Interestingly enough, although he penned a great deal of works, the Canon in D composed for 3 violins and continuo was the only canon he had ever written.
His father was a chemist but actually practiced medicine, which of course even at this time was illegal.
Even if you haven't, a music lover would always love to know about the various styles of music, their history, and some distinct forms that have shaped the music we make or hear today. Classical music of the West is divided into three time spans: Early music period (Medieval and Renaissance), the Common practice period (Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras), and the 20th century period (Modern, Contemporary, or Postmodern). To better this aspect, composers are known to have chosen certain instruments for particular pieces of music, not letting any other instrument sound it. Having a single tonic, or arrangement of chords or pitches to give a sense of hierarchy, led to the emergence of tonality.
The notation includes numerals and symbols, which indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, according to their placement above or below the bass note. So, during those times, even the same notations could sound a little low- or high-pitched with every performer. In the baroque period too, it referred to a work with several movements for one or more instruments, usually the violin.
Along with these solo sonatas for harpsichords and organs, famous pieces include those for violins and cellos too. Chromaticism was avoided; the overtone series of the lowest bell and the root pitch produced the purest scale with the least clashing overtones. Placing them higher in elevation and further back, and using a smaller key, seemed to work well for keyboardists concentrating on playing the "white" keys. Before Bach, most keyboardists used only the first three fingers of each hand: six fingers, not all ten. Having proved to be a quite promising musician, he was accepted at the Accademia filarmonica at the age of seventeen. The young boy was able to learn composition for an entire four years along with studying his normal subjects to please his family. The piece can be described as 3 violins taking turns to elaborate on a simple theme, resulting in a musical climax which moves the soul.
So, it was understood that chords can give the effect of closure in a composition, instead of notes. Castrato was the voice of the male vocalist, which used to be equivalent to a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto. The highlight of the performance, later, was to be a solo instrument (a piano, violin, cello, or flute), which was accompanied by an orchestra.
Therefore it seems that what has come to be the standard keyboard layout that we see today must have evolved with playing with only those six fingers in mind. This institution has been an important provider of musical education to many great composers thoughout the centuries.
After entering high school(*German: Gymnasium), he was once again fortunate to find another teacher that supported his interest in music, encouraging him to compose works for school events, dramas, and even got him involved with the local Catholic church. What many people do not realize is that Johann Pachelbel is not considered a great composer on account of this work alone.
So, violins used during the early period (in the times of Claudio Montverdi) were different from the ones used in the late baroque period (Johann Sebastian Bach). Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nicola Broschi or Farinelli and Francesco Bernardi or Senesino were the famous Castrati, and Faustina Bordoni was the popular female soprano voice then. Musicians, including Johann Sebastian Bach and Dieterich Buxtehude, composed cantatas for the liturgy and for other occasions too.


Concerto grosso, which evolved alongside the concerto, had a few instruments grouped together (instead of a solo) that were accompanied by an orchestra.
But Bach found that he could play scales, chord progressions, and all musical passages with all ten fingers on the keyboard he already had, and that this was a great advantage.
It exists to this very day.In the following years, having taken the position of one of the best violinists in Italy, his musical career led him to Rome where he played at a great deal of places. Having written a great deal of other things, the famous Canon in D, although a beautiful piece, actually has very little importance in regards to his musical gifts to humanity. Giocomo Carissimi, Antonio Vivaldi, and Alessandro Scarlatti used to compose music of this genre, which reached glorious heights through the works of Bach. Concertos were mostly sacred compositions; Claudio Monteverdi's creations are a perfect example. It was here that he made the acquaintance of Queen Christina of Sweden who had a residence there and was a leading patron of Rome's musical scene at the time. Although he was most probably complying with his mother's wishes, his studies did not last very long. His works on the organ were much more important, for they were not only great pieces, but greatly influenced Johann Sebastian Bach.
Handel is believed to have made this form popular in London, where people had no taste for Italian opera. Heinrich SchA?tz has left a beautiful collection of sacred concertos by the name 'Kleine geistliche Concerte'. He began composing for her and even dedicated his Opus 1 collection of trio sonatas to her in 1681.His fame caught the attention of Cardinal Benedetto Pamfili who Corelli began to work for in1687, taking up residence in his palace and becoming music director along with giving instrumental performances.
Nevertheless, he received a fine musical education at the cathedral’s Maestro di Cappella. This step of Corelli's life was of great importance because Pamfili's palace and the performances had been considered to be one of the musical epicenters of Rome. By the age of 16, he had already published many musical works, among them a three-part motet and eight books of madrigals.A year after publishing his works, he started working for a powerful family, known as the Gonzaga family, in Mantua, working as a string player.
As a child, having always been interested in scientific as well as musical knowledge, he had 2 music teachers.
After a while, Pamfili left to Bologna and Cardinal Ottoboni took a liking to Corelli's music, somewhat adopting his services. The city's mayor liked it so much, he invited Telemann to compose a cantata for Sunday mass every two weeks.
One of the teachers taught him to play and compose, while the other introduced him to the fundamentals of music. He worked for him for a period of ten years directing concerts as well as operatic performances. The cantor of the church did not much like Telemann's increasing influence at his church, but could not do anything about it.
In 1669, he started studies at the University of Altdorf (Universität Aldtdorf) and at the same time took a position as an organist at the St.
His works were requested for every Sunday soon after.At the age of 21, Georg Telemann founded the Collegium Musicum, a musical ensemble for which he organized concerts regularly. He also travelled around Europe performing, having joined the Duke of Mantua’s travelling court.
Shortly afterwards, he was appointed director of the Leipzig Opera and started to compose operas and giving the roles to his own music students. They had 3 children together, but unfortunately, one had died, leaving them only two remaining. His masterpiece, Concerti grossi, Opus 6 - a collection of 12 pieces, having been written over a great many years and completed just before his death - certainly achieved this. Since the school had been founded in 1529, its cantor was not only the director of the school, but also responsible for the music played in Hamburgs five main churches. In 1673, he went to Vienna, Austria, where he found work as an assistant organist at the St.
These pieces along with Corelli's achievements had played a great role in development of solo concerto and the violin technique we know this very day. A mere year after Corelli had been buried in Rome's great Pantheon, were the Concerti grossi actually published. It was here that he was closer to his good friend, the musician Georg Frideric Handel, for whom he arranged a lot of concerts. After four years, he became the court organist to Duke of Saxe-Eisenach, a position he kept for only a year.
Although the piece was originally written by Jacopo Peri, Monteverdi’s version used a lot of instruments and focused more on musical aspects to perform the opera. Along with staging vast musical events for the city, Telmann was known quite well for his composition of Tafelmusik(table music). The pieces were meant to be played at banquets in circles of nobility and the middle class, always beginning with a French-style overture and a series of melodic pieces that were to be played in any which order. He used stringed instruments for example to portray the character Orpheus, a character which had always been associated with the lyre. Living over a span of eighty-six years, Georg Philipp Telemann wrote six hundred Italian overtures, fourty-seven concertos(concerts for solo insturmentalists and orchestra), six oratorios including the famed Tag des Gerichts (Judgement Day) and fourty operas, this great composer will live on in our hearts as one of the most prolific of all time, having given a gift to humanity that has and will always endure throughout the centuries. He spent 12 years in this city…He got married to a woman named Barbara Gabler and had a son. Unfortunately, after only 2 years of marriage, both his wife and son were victims of the Black Plague. With his second wife, Juditha Dommer, he started a very large family consisting of 2 daughters and 5 sons. It was a change that he encouraged with his genius and musical composition abilities, helping to change and develop existing musical styles.
An interesting fact is that Johann Pachelbel became friends with the Bach family and took J.S. He is a man that lived through a lot of hardship in life, family death, a broken up family, losing the love of his life, but this did not stop him from being one of the most significant composers in history. It was not until 1690 that he moved to Stuttgart to become the organist at the Wurttemberg Court. Unfortunately, he was forced to leave the position due to the French invasion, thereby returning to his hometown of Nuremberg. He composed many motets, arias, Masses, and 13 Magnificats, including not only violins, but also singers, choirs, orchestras, as well as wind and brass instruments. Above all, having been acquainted with Catholic church music, he was able to add certain elements to his compositions, thereby bringing a unique beauty to Protestant church music .
His works are representative of Protestant church music and give people somewhat of a cultural contrast in regards to two leading religious denominations during the 17th century. This fact is of utmost significance in the history of music and should be thought of when Johann Pachelbel’s name is mentioned.



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