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Invention and History of Music




History of Invention Music

The history of invention music is long and convoluted, but can be traced back to the early days of the Renaissance. The first recorded examples of invention music come from the early 1400s, in the form of motets and other vocal works by Guillaume Dufay and Johannes Ockeghem. These works were often based on preexisting melodies, which the composer would then add their own embellishments to.

The term “invention” first began to be used in reference to music in the early 1600s, when Michele Palestrina and other composers began writing pieces based on pre-existing themes. This practice became increasingly common in the Baroque era, as composers began to write ever-more complex pieces based on pre-existing material.

One of the most famous examples of invention music is Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, a set of keyboard pieces that are each based on a different musical scale. Bach’s work helped to solidify the idea of using pre-existing material as the basis for new compositions, and his example has been followed by countless composers since.

Classification of Music

Invention music can generally be divided into two main categories: thematic and contrapuntal. Thematic invention music is based on a pre-existing melody, often taken from another piece of music or a folk song. The composer will then add their own embellishments to this melody, creating a new piece of music.

Contrapuntal invention music, on the other hand, is based on two or more preexisting melodies. The composer will combine these melodies, often in a complex and intricate way, to create a new piece of music. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier is a prime example of contrapuntal invention music.

Invention music has been a part of Western classical music for centuries, and has been used by some of the most famous composers in history. Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms all wrote pieces that can be classified as invention music, and the tradition has continued into the modern era.