Stillwater Christian School

Music Theory, History, & Literature

History & Literature Final Written Examination

Mr. Hunter

Music History – 150 pts.

Please match the style period in the left column with the appropriate set of dates in the right column.

Ancient / 1900-2000
Medieval / 1600-1750
Renaissance / 4000 B.C.- A.D. 300
Baroque / 1450-1600
Classical / 1800-1900
Romantic / 300-1450
Twentieth-century / 1700-1800

Ancient Music

  1. Describe the functions of music in the cultures of Ancient Israel, Greece, and Mesopotamia.
  1. What is a kithara?
  1. What is an aulos?
  1. What is a shofar?
  1. Describe the Ancient Greek understanding of musica mundana.

Medieval Music

  1. What is direct chant?
  1. What is responsorial chant?
  1. What is antiphonal chant?
  1. What is syllabic text setting? Which texts of the mass ordinary are most likely to utilize it?
  1. What is neumatic text setting? Which texts of the mass ordinary are most likely to utilize it?
  1. What is melismatic text setting? Which texts of the mass ordinary are most likely to utilize it?
  1. For what is Pope Gregory the Great primarily remembered in music history?
  1. Differentiate between strict simple, strict composite, and modified parallel organum.
  1. Name two composers of organum who lived in the late Medieval period.
  1. What is a motet as written in the 13th century?
  1. What contributions did Guido d’Arezzo make to music history?
  1. What contributions did Franco of Cologne make to music history?
  1. In your opinion, what is the single most important musical development of the Medieval period? Why?

Renaissance Music

  1. Write “imitative polyphony.”
  1. Explain what is meant by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina belonging to the “Roman school” of composition. What were some characteristics of this “school?”
  1. Compare and contrast a Renaissance madrigal and a Renaissance motet. How are they the same? How are they different?
  1. What is the difference between a Medieval motet and a Renaissance motet?
  1. Technically, Pierre Certon’s La la la, je ne l’ose dire is a “chanson.” If you had to broadly categorize it as either a “motet” or a “madrigal,” which would you choose and why?
  1. Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli worked at St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice during the late Renaissance. What significant contribution did they make in the realm of instrumental music?
  1. In your opinion, who was the greatest composer of the Renaissance period? Why?

Baroque Music

  1. Why is Johann Sebastian Bach widely regarded as the greatest composer of the Baroque period? Do you think he is deserving of this distinction? Why or why not?
  1. What is the difference between an opera and an oratorio?
  1. Name a famous Baroque opera and its composer.
  1. Name the most famous oratorio of the Baroque period and its composer.
  1. What is the difference between recitativo secco and recitativo accompagnato?
  1. Explain how the “recitative and aria” functions in an opera or oratorio.
  1. What is a solo concerto?
  1. Antonio Vivaldi is primarily remembered for his
  1. Oratorios
  2. Concertos
  3. Symphonies
  4. Crazy funk grooves
  1. What is your favorite work/piece of Baroque music? Why?

Classical Music

  1. Classical music is generally characterized by a reliance on
  1. Heavily ornamented solo lines
  2. Complex polyphony
  3. Formal structure
  4. Improvisation
  1. What are the five parts of a sonata plan?
  1. Using letters, write out the plan of a five-part rondo.
  1. Describe the general idea behind theme and variations.
  1. In your opinion, is Mozart deserving of the wunderkind status with which he is still remembered? Why or why not?

Romantic & Nationalist Music

  1. Obviously not every song written in the nineteenth century is a love song. What is meant by referring to the music of this time as “romantic?”
  1. In what three ways did nineteenth-century composers “nationalize” their music regarding folk elements?
  1. Describe how Ludwig van Beethoven can accurately be considered a “transitional” composer. Which two periods did he link?
  1. What is thematic transformation? Who is credited with having developed it? Give an example of a symphony in which thematic transformation is used.
  1. Do you consider Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem to be a Romantic work, a Nationalist work, or both? Explain your answer.
  1. What characters are present in Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig? Does this song qualify as Romantic? Nationalist? Explain your answer.
  1. In your opinion, does worldview affect artistic output? How is your answer supported by an understanding of musical developments of the nineteenth century? Include at least one example.

Twentieth-century Music

  1. Differentiate between the neoclassical and avant-garde schools of compostitional thought.
  1. Of which of these two philosophies is Appalachian Spring an example?
  1. Of which of these two philosophies is minimalism an example?
  1. For what compositional process is Terry Riley known?
  1. What is aleatoric music (aleatory)?
  1. John Cage is known primarily for utilizing ______in his music.
  1. Minimalism
  2. Aleatory
  3. Sonata form
  4. Theme & variations
  1. Terry Riley is known primarily for utilizing ______in his music.
  1. Minimalism
  2. Aleatory
  3. Sonata form
  4. Theme & variations
  1. In your opinion, at which point in history did Western music achieve its artistic apex? Has this point come yet? Is this a reasonable question?


Who is the most likely composer of the following excerpt?

  1. Johann Sebastian Bach
  2. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  4. Ludwig van Beethoven
  5. Aaron Copland

Explain how you arrived at your answer: ______