Major Musical Milestones

This series explores five musical concepts and ideas that were invented rather than evolved. These inventions not only had a dramatic effect on music, but also heavily influenced all of European history.


  • Notation – For 4000 years there was no musical notation then a monk named Guido changed all this in about 1000 AD. This class traces music’s development without formal notation and looks at the impact notation has had on musical development.
  • Opera – Opera was born in Florence in 1598. From its inception it has been used as a voice for the aristocracy, the oppressed and the liberated; inspired revolution and even started one.
  • Equal Temperament – For hundreds of years musicians, composers, scientists and instrument makers tried to manipulate sound, attempting to make Western music sound different from all other music. How and why did they do this?
  • Piano – The piano was invented about 300 years ago. Although there were keyboard instruments before this, its impact on the musical world has been likened in importance to the invention of the steam engine in the industrial world.
  • Recording – It has only been in the last 120 years that we have had the technology to hear and record ourselves. What have been the ramifications of this invention?

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify the key inventions of Classical Music.
  2. Explain how these inventions impacted on the music scene at the time.
  3. Discuss the evolution of each of these inventions.