Classical European

Exploring Pathways of Appreciation

To foster an awareness and appreciation of music by listening and coming to appreciate how the diverse application of shared elements of melody, harmony, rythm, texture and form gives rise to such diverse expressive pathways showcasing an inner beauty of the human spirit.

Here are links to music performances showing diverse styles and performance as voiced around the world; each expressing a component part of a global diverse counterpoint of cultural contrast. Enjoy yourself and do check on the links.

Without support from authoritive references this site would not be possible.

In Counterpoint of Cultural Contrast

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This page will specialise in European based music forms of medieval, renaissance, romantic, impressionism and modern day music

The Choral Fantasia by Beethoven shows off many elements found in "Western" classical music tradition. First is the opening statement by a solo piano. Then follows a dialogue between the piano and orchestra in search of a new theme. The theme is first "discovered" (given birth) by the piano. The melody is then "adopted, nurtured and developed" (parented) by both orchestra and piano. Soon all manner of ideas and musical (family life)experiences are instrumentally explored. In time the theme reappears. A vocal choir is added to strengthen, restate, liberate and bring to fruition this (now full grown) hymn-like main thematic statement of the work. In a sense, the hymn out-grows the "home environment" finding its own full expression in the chorus.

This live recording features pianist Gerhard Oppitz and the Südfunk Choir, with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti.

Note: Be sure and click on the "full size view" button to see a full screen video. (The full frame view requires a very fast internet service.)

Writing parts contrapuntally is a form of composition that is uniquely expressed in European music. It involves multipart writing where each part plays its own melody line yet, when added together, combine to compliment each other producing a greater whole. A great example of this kind of composition is:

J.S.Bach: Art of the Fugue: Contrapunctus 1
As performed by:
The Emerson String Quartet

The Stabat Mater of Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's (1525 - 1594) is certainly one of the finest examples of acapella sacred music of the period. Listen to the rich  texture and contrapuntal part writing!


Contrast the previous choral Renaissance writing with this
contemporary choral sound


Listen to the parts and follow the score of the music as you listen and watch the video below. Pay close attention to the different melodic lines; how they compliment and answer each other within the context of the whole yet, independently, are melodies in their own right.


 O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum jacentem in praesepio.
O beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Jesum Christum. Alleluia!

O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that the animals should see the new-born Lord lying in a manger. Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear Christ the Lord. Alleluia

O Gran Misterio, y Maravilloso Sacramento,
Que los animales hayan visto Al Seńor recién nacido yacer en un pesebre. Alabada seas, o Virgen, pues tu Vientre mereció llevar a Jesús Cristo, nuestro Seńor, ˇAleluya!



Look upon the videos below as a "doorways"; entryways into the world of European music history. Michael Tilson Thomas hosts and narrates a wonderful series of videos. He personalizes and brings to life the history of music that connects composers, periods and music itself in a deeply informative, yet easy going, way.

Due to time constraints, videos are presented as segments of a larger whole. To continue the program you nust find and select the appropriate video from a thumbnail list which will appear upon completion on the bottom.

Keeping Score - Shostakovich Symphony 5 (1/6)


Keeping Score: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring

20th Century "Modern Period" of Music

This time in Western/uropean music history marks a time of fundamental questioning and bold exploration beyond the confines of long held traditions. see:

Here is a good example of 20th century avant-garde music.

A little off; or should I say,"Way off the "traditional" path," is a modern sounding, very avant-garde revolutionary work by Greek composer Iannis Xenakis. As the title "Metastasis" suggests the music describes motion and change emanating from a static pre-creative condition. The "Mathematical Creative Force" of probability and symmetry expresses a condition of cause and effect.

Metastasis, also Metastaseis, is an orchestral work for 61 musicians by Iannis Xenakis. His first major work, it was written in 1953-54.

Clicking on this link (  ) will enable you to hear the full length composition

Metastasis was inspired by the combination of an Einsteinian view of time and Xenakis' memory of the sounds of warfare, and structured on mathematical ideas by Le Corbusier. Music usually consists of a set of sounds ordered in time; music played backwards is hardly recognizable. Messiaen's similar observations led to his noted uses of non-retrogradable rhythms; Xenakis wished to reconcile the linear perception of music with a relativistic view of time. In warfare, as Xenakis knew it through his musical ear, no individual bullet being fired could be distinguished among the cacophony, but taken as a whole the sound of "gunfire" was clearly identifiable. The particular sequence of shots was unimportant: the individual guns could have fired in a completely different pattern from the way they actually did, but the sound produced would still have been the same. These ideas combined to form the basis of Metastasis.

As Newtonian views of time show it flowing linearly, Einsteinian views show it as a function of matter and energy; change one of those quantities and time too is changed. Xenakis attempted to make this distinction in his music. While most traditional compositions depend on strictly measured time for the progress of the line, using an unvarying tempo, time signature, or phrase length, Metastasis changes intensity, register, and density of scoring, as the musical analogues of mass and energy. It is by these changes that the piece propels itself forward: the first and third movements of the work do not have even a melodic theme or motive to hold them together, but rather depend on the strength of this conceptualization of time.

The second movement does have some sort of melodic element. A fragment of a twelve-tone row is used, with durations based on the Fibonacci sequence. (This integer sequence is nothing new to music: it was used often by Bartók, among others.) ...

The above taken from

Atmospheres-Gyorgy Ligeti; The famed musical piece by the late composer, which was famously featured in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyessy."  









Note: This site on "Global Music Appreciation" is a work in progress. Thie main purpose of being online at this point of development is to allow collaborators and friends to view the progress, make suggestions and provide comments.

You may find "scratch notes" concerning future implementaion of goals. Pages will still be partially complete or even blank.

Yet, there is still an ever-evolving growing selection of music from around the world linked too in this site. You are welcome to look, play and experience music as performed from around the world.