The video clip Historia de la Música (Morales de los Ríos, 2013) is a concise but intense journey through the birth of music and the development of musical styles throughout Western civilizations. Sketched by the inspired pencil of Pablo Morales de los Ríos, the video is accompanied by musical hints that match what the artist draws filling a violin’s shape. This paper follows how the video outlines the history of music and the musical structure’s evolution. While the work is brilliant, minor criticism can be made.
The musical journey starts with a frenetic rhythm played on percussions and proceeds through ancient civilizations, highlighting the musical notes’ discovery and the first melodic textures. Middle Ages witnessed the monophony rise and the distinction of sacred and profane music with the Gregorian chants and the Troubadour songs. The importance of the liturgical aspect of music is mirrored in the development of the tetragram, the ancestor of the modern pentagram, by the monk Guido D’Arezzo (Morales de los Ríos, 2013). A coherent system of writing music contributed to opening new doors for the following eras.
During the Renaissance, the music developed through polyphony, while basso continuo and tonal music characterized the Baroque period. Besides, as highlighted by some notes from a virginal, single instruments as the violin and the organ gained more prominence (Morales de los Ríos, 2013). Renaissance and Baroque paved the way to Classicism and Romanticism, the golden ages of orchestras, symphonies, and operas. With the Impressionism, classical music started to explore new paths and gradually lost connection with the ordinary people.
The twentieth century saw the spread of ragtime, jazz, blues, and rock, while the wide use of synthesizers has marked the rise of electronics. From the long list of artists mentioned, it is clear that the focus has shifted on many iconic performers. The only criticism is that ragtime, jazz, and the American music stem only partially from European classical music: although understandably, the author does not highlight their African roots.
The video offers a unique overview of music’s evolution in the Western world: the portraits of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart guide the viewers along an incredible trip. The sketches hit the spot and have a touch of irony, while the soundtrack is overwhelming and passionate. The video should have highlighted that some modern music has other origins than classical music, but overall, it is impressive and lively.
Morales de los Ríos, P. (2013). Historia de la música [Video]. YouTube. Web.