July 10, 2020
For educational institutions
Music History Timeline
⟶ Updated 3 Dec 2018 ⟶
List of edits
14 Mar 2018
Famous music festival competition of Pythian games
Earliest notated manuscript of Gregorian chant
Beginnings of Notre Dame polyphony
Beginning of Ars Nova
Rise of Greek city-states
Roman Republic begins
Crucifixion of Jesus
Destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem
Christianity becomes official Roman religion
Saint Augustine, "Confessions"
(Monastic) "Rule of Saint Benedict"; Benedictine order founded
Gregory I ("the Great") elected pope
Charlemagne crowned emperor by pope
Watermills and windmills boost production
Romanesque style flourishes
Norman Conquest of England
Cornerstone of Notre Dame of Paris laid; Gothic style flourishes in northern Europe
Clement V moves papacy to Avignon
Joan of Arc burned at the stake
Aristoxenus, "Harmonic Elements"
“Epitaph of Seikilos”
Homer, "Iliad and Odyssey"
Euripides, "Iphigenia in Taurus"
Julius Caesar becomes dictator
Birth of Jesus
Nero becomes emperor of Rome
Bishop Ambrose introduces responsorial psalmody in Milan
Boethius, "De institutione musica"
Constantine I issues Edict of Milan, proclaiming religious freedom in the Roman Empire
Constantinople becomes new capital of Roman Empire
Separation of eastern and western Roman empires
Charlemagne becomes king of the Franks with his brother
Charlemagne orders Roman rite used throughout empire
Monks at Saint Gall compose tropes and sequences
Hildegard, "Ordo virtutum"
Bernart de Ventadorn dies
Beatriz de Dia dies
"Chanson de Roland", French epic poem
Romanesque churches and monasteries
Final split between Roman and Byzantine churches
Universities of Bologna, Oxford, and Paris established
Cult of the Virgin Mary flourishes
Richard Coeur de Lion, king of England
Saint Francis of Assisi founds Franciscan order
Du Fay, "Missa Se la face ay pale"
Du Fay dies
Petrucci publishes "Odhecaton A"
Attaingnant publishes first collection of chansons in Paris
Arcadelt, first book of four-part madrigals
Zarlino, "Le istitutioni harmoniche"
Palestrina, "Pope Marcellus Mass" published
William Byrd appointed to Chapel Royal
Yonge, "Musica transalpina"
Dowland, "First Booke of Songes or Ayres"
Monteverdi publishes "Fifth Book of Madrigals" and "Cruda Amarilli"
Thomas Luis de Victoria dies
English under Henry V defeat French at Agincourt
Feast of the Oath of the Pheasant in Lille
First voyage of Columbus to America
Martin Luther, "ninety-five theses"
Sack of Rome
Castiglione, "The Book of the Courtier"
Henry VIII breaks with pope
Execution of Sir Thomas More
Copernicus, "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres"
Elizabeth I becomes queen of England and restores Church of England
El Greco, "Burial of the Count of Orgaz"
Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"
Caravaggio, "The Lute Player"
Du Fay, "Se la face ay pale"
Du Fay, "Nuper rosarum flores"
Tinctoris, "Liber de arte contrapuncti"
Philip III (the Good) begins his reign as duke of Burgundy
Turks conquer Constantinople
Charles the Bold of Burgundy succeeds Philip III (the Good)
Charles the Bold dies in battle; France absorbs duchy of Burgundy
Petrucci publishes first volume of Josquin masses
Josquin, "Missa Pange lingua"
Leonardo da Vinci, "The Last Supper"
Henry VIII becomes king of England
Du Fay, "Resvellies vous"
Binchois, "De plus en plus"
Encina publishes "Cancionero"
Arcadelt publishes "Il bianco e dolce cigno"
Rore publishes "Da le belle contrade d'oriente"
Concerto delle donne established
Morley publishes "My bonny lass she smileth"
Marenzio publishes "Solo e pensoso"
Morley issues "Triumphes of Oriana"
Gesualdo's last book of madrigals "lo parto" published
Spenser, "The Faerie Queene, Books 1-3"
Luys de Narvaez, "Los seys Libros del Delphin"
Tielman Susato, "Danserye"
Gabrieli, "Sacrae symphoniae"
William Byrd, "John come kiss me now"
Guarini's pastoral drama "il pastor fido"
Dutch East India Company chartered
First English cholony in Virginia at Jamestown
Kepler sets forth his astronomical laws
Artemisia Gentileschi, "Judith Slaying Holofernes"
Galileo charged with heresy for claiming the Earth revolves around the sun
Descartes, "Discourse on Method"
Milton, "Paradise Lost"
Newton, "Principia mathematica"
Frederick the Great becomes king of Prussia
Artusi attacks Monteverdi in print
Parthenia, "collection of works for virginal", published
First public opera house opens in Venice
Hamburg opera house opens
Alessandro Scarlatti's first opera in Rome
Births of J. S. Bach and Handel
Purcell, "Dido and Aeneas"
Corelli, "Op. 5 violin sonatas", published
Death of Buxtehude
J. S. Bach dies
Mayflower brings first English colonists to New England
V. Galilei, "Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna"
Intermidi for Medici wedding, Florence
Death of Palestrina and Lassus
Jacopo Peri, "Dafne"
First surviving opera, "L'Euridice", by Peri and Caccini, performed in Florence
Monteverdi, "L'Orfeo", in Mantua
Monteverdi appointed maestro di cappella at Saint Mark's, Venice
Francesca Caccini, "La liberazione di Ruggiero"
Monteverdi, "L'incoronazione di Poppea", in Venice
Gabrieli, "Sacrae symphoniae II"
Grandi, "O quam tu pulchra es"
Schütz, "Symphoniae sacrae I"
Schütz, "Kleine geistliche Konzerte"
Monteverdi, "Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi"
Schütz, "Symphoniae sacrae III"
Strozzi, "Lagrime mie"
Galileo publishes "Starry Messenger"
First coffeehouse opens in Vienna
Louis XIV invades Holy Roman Empire
Salem witchcraft trials in Massachusetts
Louis XIV dies
Thoinot Arbeau, "Orchésographie" published
Marini, "Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Op.8" published
Frescobaldi publishes "Fiori musicali"
Gaultier, "La Rhétorique des dieux"
Buxtehude appointed arganist at Lübeck
Buxtehude inaugurates Abendmusik series
Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de La Guerre, "Pièces de clavecin" published
Arcangelo Corelli, Op.3, "Twelve Trio Sonate da chiesa" published
First daily newspaper in England
Quakers demand an end to slavery in British colonies
Voltaire, "Philosophical Letters"
Handel in Hamburg
Vivaldi appointed at the Pieta
Bach in Weimar
Vivaldi, "Concertos, Op. 3 L'estro armonico"
Bach, Chorale Prelude on "Durch Adams Fall"
Bach in Cöthen
Rameau, "Traité de l'harmonie"
Bach, "The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I"
Handel, "Giulio Cesare"
Vivaldi, "The Four Seasons"
Concert Spirituels begin in Paris
Bach, "Saint Matthew Passion"
Couperin, "Keyboard Suites"
Rameau, "Hippolyte et Aricie"
George Frideric Handel, "Messiah"
Bach, "Musical Offering"
Maria Theresa of Austria crowned Holy Roman empress
Excavations of Pompeii begin
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "The Social Contract"
Greuze, "Girl with a Dead Canary"
Thomas Gainsborough, "The Blue Boy"
Beaumarchais, "Barber of Seville"
American Declaration of Independence
Immanuel Kant, "Critique of Pure Reason"
Beaumarchais, "The Marriage of Figaro"
The French Revolution begins
Eli Whitney invents cotton gin
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette beheaded
Napoleon crowns himself emperor
Holy Roman Empire dissolved
Jane Austen, "Pride and Prejudice" published
Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo
J. S. Bach becomes cantor in Leipzig
Joseph Haydn born
Ludwig van Beethoven born
Haydn makes first trip to London; first London Symphonies
Mozart dies in Vienna
Beethoven, "Eroica Symphony"
"The Beggar's Opera"
Pergolesi, "La serva padrona" in Naples
Pergolesi, "La serva padrona" in Paris
Outbreak of the "Querelle des bouffons"
Gluck, "Orfeo ed Euridice" in Vienna
William Billings, "Continental Harmony" published
First volume of Denis Diderot's "Encyclopédie" published
Maria Theresa and Joseph II rule Austria jointly
Leopold II becomes emperor
Haydn hired by Prince Esterházy
Haydn, "Op. 20 quartets"
Mozart concertmaster at Salzburg
Haydn, "Op. 33 quartets"
Mozart freelances in Vienna
Mozart writes six piano concertos
Mozart composes Haydn Quartets
Mozart, "Don Giovanni" in Prague
Haydn, "Symphony No. 88"
Haydn, "The Creation"
Beethoven moves to Vienna
Beethoven, "Heiligenstadt Testament"
Beethoven, "Fidelio" premieres unsuccessfully
Premiere of Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies
Beethoven receives lifetime annuity
Beethoven, "letter to the Immortal Beloved"
Invention of the metronome
Beethoven, "Ninth Symphony"
Schopenhauer, "The World as Will and Representation"
First railway begins operating in England
Delacroix, "Death of Sardanapalus"
Goethe, "Faust", Part II
Victoria crowned queen of England
Turner, "Rain, Steam, and Speed: The Great Western Railway
Marx and Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party"; beginning of women's suffrage movement
Berlioz, "Symphonie fantastique"
London firm of Broadwood making 2,000 pianos a year
Darwin, "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection"
Victor Emmanuel II becomes king of a united Italy; Serfdom abolished in Russia
Austrian Empire reorganized as Austro-Hungarian monarchy
Opening of the Suez Canal; Talstoy, War and Peace
Edison invents the phonograph
Wagner, "Tristan und Isolde"
Premiere of Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony"
Verdi, Requiem; Musorgsky, "Pictures at an Exhibition"
Edison perfects the electric lightbulb
Rossini, "II barbiere di Siviglia"
Weber, "Der Freischütz"
Meyerbeer, "Les Huguenots"
Premiere of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth"
Gilbert and Sullivan, "The Pirates of Penzance"
Verdi, "La traviata"
Wagner dies; Metropolitan Opera opens in New York
Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony
Liszt's piano performance in Vienna creates a sensation
Bach-Gesellschaft (Society) founded
Liszt, "Les Préludes"
Liszt moves to Rome
Brahms, Piano Quintet Op. 34
Brahms, First Symphony
Dvorak, "Slavonic Dances"
Tchaikovsky, Sixth Symphony ("Pathétique"); Dvorak, "New World" Symphony
Hugo, "Les Misérables"
Monet, "Impression: Soleil levant"
Munch, "The Scream "
Freud, "The Interpretation of Dreams"
Pasteur Institute founded in Paris
Ford begins manufacturing the Eiffel Tower erected Model T automobile
Einstein proposes general theory of relativity
Doctrine of socialist realism adopted in Soviet Union
Musorgsky, premiere of "Boris Godunov"
Wagner, premiere of complete "Ring" cycle
Verdi, premiere of "Otello"
Wolf, "Mörike Lieder"
Fauré, "La bonne chanson"
Debussy, "Prélude a L'Apres-midi d'un faune"
Joplin, "Maple Leaf Rag"
Puccini, "Madama Butterfly"
Beach, Piano Quintet Op. 67
Stravinsky, "The Rite of Spring"
Stravinsky and Bartók emigrate to the United States
Penderecki, "Threnody: To the Victims of Hiroshima"
Moog and Buchla synthesizers introduced
Sheng, "Seven Tunes Heard in China"
Saariaho, "L'Amour de loin"
Strauss, "Don Quixote"
Ravel, "Jeux d'eau"
Rachmaninoff, Prelude in G Minor
Ralph Vaughan Williams, "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis"
Futurist manifesto, "The Art of Noises"
Alexander Scriabin, "Vers la flamme"
Ravel, "Le Tombeau de Couperin"
Falla, "El amor bruio"
Janééek, "The Mahropulos Affair"
Rachmaninoff, "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini"
Edison makes first sound recording
Sousa, "Stars and Stripes Forever"
Cohan, "Little Johnny Jones"
Berlin Philharmonic records Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
King Oliver forms the Creole Jazz Band
Electric microphones introduced
Kern, "Show Boat, Bessie Smith, Back Water Blues"
Armstrong and His Hot Five record "West End Blues "
Gershwin, "I Got Rhythm from Girl Crazy"
Steiner, film score for "King Kong"
Ellington, "Cotton Tail"
Rodgers and Hammerstein, "Oklahomal"
LP records introduced
Philips and Sony unveil the CD
Milhaud, "La Création du monde"
Gershwin, "Rhapsody in Blue"
Cowell, "The Banshee"
Champagne, "Suite canadienne"
Weill, "The Threepenny Opera"
Still, "Afro—American Symphony"
Crawford Seeger, "String Quartet"
Union of Soviet Composers founded
Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth attacked in Soviet press
Orff, "Carmina burana"
Revueltas, "Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca"
Shostakovich, Fifth Symphony
Prokofiev, music for the film "Alexander Nevsky"
Soviet Union cracks down on Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and "formalist" composers
Darmstadt school founded
First piece of musique concréte
Cage, "Music of Changes"
Crumb, "Black Angels"
Del Tredici, "Final Alice"
Adams, "Short Ride in a Fast Machine"
Pärt, "Seven Magnificat Antiphons"
Corigliano, "The Red Violin" film score
Saariaho, "L'Amour de loin"; Goliiov, "La Pasi6n segün San Marcos"
Adams, "Doctor Atomic"
John F. Kennedy assassinated
Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated
First humans set foot on the moon
Berlin Wall torn down
Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon
Erection of the Eiffel Tower for the Paris World's Fair
Wright brothers fly first successful airplane
Einstein's first paper on the theory of relativity
Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire
Braque and Picasso paint first cubist pictures
Russian Revolution brings Bolsheviks to power
New York stock market crash begins Great Depression
Germany absorbs Austria
United States enters World War I; Russian Revolution
First sponsored radio broadcast in the United States
Eliot, The Waste Land Fascists take over government in Italy
Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Hitler comes to power in Germany
Roosevelt institutes New Deal in United States
Jackson Pollock, "Untitled"
World's Fair in Brussels
Moog and Buchla synthesizers introduced
Students riot in Paris, anti-war protests in the United States
Nixon visits China
Embargo forces oil prices to rise
Resignation of Nixon following Watergate scandal
John Paul II becomes first Polish pope
Successful solidarity strikes in Poland
AIDS first described
Soviet Union dissolves, ending Cold War
Euro introduced as new currency in European Union
Barack Obama inaugurated as first African American president, the 44th president
Osama Bin Laden killed
Francis becomes first Jesuit pope
Founding of Islam by Muhammad
"Rule of Saint Benedict" introduced in Frankish lands
Ars Antigua (old art)
Ars Nova (new art)
European population triples
Crusades to reconquer the Holy Land
Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Summa theologica"
Giotto (Florentine painter)
Famine in northwestern Europe
Hundred Years' War
Plague kills one-third of Europe
Chaucer, "Canterbury Tales"
Muslim conquests in Asia, North Africa, and southern Europe
Guido proposes system of solmization
Flourishing of Bernart de Ventadorn
Leoninus at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
Perotinus at Notre Dame
Josquin employed in Italy
Council of Trent
Reign of Mary I of England restores Catholicism Restore Latin rite and link to Rome
Dunstable possibly in France
Binchois at Burgundian court
Ockeghem at French royal chapel
Josquin in Ferrara
Tudor dynasty in England
Maximilian I reigns as Holy Roman Emperor
Petrucci issues thirteen frottola collections
Charles V, Holy Roman emperor
Giovanni Gabrieli at Saint Mark's, Venice
Thirty Years' War (religious wars in Germany)
Reign of Louis XIV in France
Bernini, "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa", in Rome
Reign of George II of England
Amati and Stradivari perfect the art of violin making
Handel in London
Bach in Leipzig
Meetings of Giovanni de' Bardi's Camerata
Giulio Caccini, "Le nuove musiche"
Poussin, "The Rape of the Sabine Women"; Rubens, "The Rape of the Sabine Women"
Queen Christina of Sweden in Rome
Leopold I reigns as Holy Roman emperor
Reign of Louis XV in France
Jean Antoine Watteau, "The Music Party"
Publication of Denis Diderot's "Encyclopédie" in 28 volumes
Reign of Terror in France
Napoleon's forces intermittently occupy Vienna
Congress of Vienna, redefines European boundaries
Charles Burney, "A General History of Music"
Beethoven, "Late string quartets"
Reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia
Reign of George III of England
Mozart tours as child prodigy
Beethoven, "Sonate pathétique"
Byron, "Childe Harold‘s Pilgrimage”
Unsuccessful revolutions throughout Europe
Second French Empire under Napolean III
Liszt tours Europe as a virtuoso pianist
Bismarck unites Prussia with other states to forge German Empire
Franco-Prussian War; France defeated and Germany unified
Smetana, "Md Vlast"
Brahms, Fourth Symphony
World War I
Britain and U.S. give women the right to vote
Smetana, "Må Vlast"
Ellington's band plays Cotton Club, Harlem
Varèse, "Poeme electronique"
Mahler directs Metropolitan Opera in New York
Hindemith, Symphony Mathis der Maler
Copland, "Appalachian Spring"
Messiaen, "Quartet for the End of Time"
Britten, "Peter Grimes"
Boulez, "Le Marteau sans maitre"
Varese, "Poéme électronique"
World War II leads to defeat of Italy, Germany, and Japan
Cold War between Soviet Union and United States
Emergence of pop art
U.S. involvement in Iraq War
Spanish Civil War
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