Music history

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and the music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time. Historical studies of music are for example concerned with a composer's life and works, the developments of styles and genres (such as baroque concertos), the social function of music for a particular group of people (such as music at the court), or the modes of performance at a particular place and time (such as the performance forces of Johann Sebastian Bach's choir in Leipzig).

In theory, "music history" could refer to the study of the history of any type or genre of music (e.g., the history of Indian music or the history of rock). In practice, these research topics are nearly always categorized as part of ethnomusicology or cultural studies, whether or not they are ethnographically based.

The methods of music history include source studies (esp. manuscript studies), paleography, philology (especially textual criticism), style criticism, historiography (the choice of historical method), musical analysis, and iconography. The application of musical analysis to further these goals is often a part of music history, though pure analysis or the development of new tools of music analysis is more likely to be seen in the field of music theory. (For a more detailed discussion of the methods see the section on "Research in Music History" below) Some of the intellectual products of music historians include editions of musical works, biography of composers and other musicians, studies of the relationship between words and music, and the reflections upon the place of music in society.

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Pedagogy

Although most performers of classical and traditional instruments receive some instruction in music history from teachers throughout their training, the majority of formal music history courses are offered at the college level. In Canada, some music students receive training prior to undergraduate studies because examinations in music history (as well as music theory) are required to complete Royal Conservatory certification at the Grade 9 level and higher. Particularly in the United States and Canada, university courses tend to be divided into two groups: one type to be taken by students with little or no music theory or ability to read music (often called music appreciation) and the other for more musically literate students (often those planning on making a career in music).

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