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United Kingdom MUSIC

Early music

Music in the British Isles was a diverse and rich culture, including

sacred and secular music

English Miniature from a manuscript of the Roman de la Rose

Each of the major nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales retained unique forms of music and of instrumentation.

British music was highly influenced by continental developments, while British composers made an important contribution to many of the major movements in early music in Europe, including the polyphony of the Ars Nova and laid some of the foundations of later national and international classical music

British distinctive forms of early music:

Celtic chant

contenance Angloise


polyphonic votive antiphones


Church music and religious music was profoundly affected by the Protestant reformation of the 16th century that forced the development of distinctive national music.

  • - madrigals

  • - lute ayres and

  • - masques (Renaissance)

  • - English language opera (early Baroque XVII century

Baroque music of the British Isles (the early music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods/the development of fully fledged and formalised orchestral classical music (XVIII)

the term Baroque= conventionally used for European music from about 1600

effects were not felt in Britain until after 1660, delayed by



native trends (religious and cultural differences from European countries)



disruption to court music caused by the Wars of the three kingdoms and Interregnum

  • - elaborate musical ornamentation,

  • - improvement of musical notation

  • - new instrumental playing techniques

  • - rise of new genres such as ballad opera



specific genre of English stage entertainment (racy and often satirical spoken (English) dialogue, interspersed with songs kept very short – a stanza and refrain) which involves lower class, often criminal, characters, and typically shows a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral values of the Italian opera of the period

Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, (Charles II) - his (hidden) preference for Catholicism and explicit desire for entertainment

the court became the centre of musical patronage in Britain, a crossroads of European musicians and styles: (the Welsh musicians encountered the Italian triple harp, which they


adopted and made it a national Welsh symbol)

the theatres were reopened

the introduction of a new Book of Prayer (1662) - choral music

Henric Purcell

organist and composer of secular and sacred music

incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions

considered to be one of the greatest English composers

George Frideric Handel, 1733, ( Balthasar Denner )

George Frideric Handel, 1733, (Balthasar Denner)

Portrait of George Frederick Handel ( William Hogarth )

Portrait of George Frederick Handel (William Hogarth)

By Thomas Hudson

By Thomas Hudson

naturalised German: helped British music and continental music integrate and define its specificity

founded The Royal Academy of Music

prolific composer,

Water music,

Music for the Royal Fireworks

made Britain second only to Italy as a centre of operatic production

sacred drama and choral music, particularly the coronation anthem "Zadoc the Priest" (written for the inauguration of George II in 1727) which has remained part of the ceremony for British monarchs

major influence on future classical composers including Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

Classical music: (term in this sense emerged in the early 19th century) written music of:

∑ chamber ∑ concert ∑ church


  • - lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music

  • - less complex: mainly homophonic

  • - Variety and contrast within a piece became more pronounced:



rhythms and

dynamics (crescendo, diminuendo, sforzando)

  • - frequent changes of mood and timbre

  • - shorter melodies, with clear-cut phrases and clearly marked cadences

  • - orchestra increased in size and range;

  • - the harpsichord was replaced by the piano

  • - importance given to instrumental music



string quartet,





<a href=T he ROYAL ALBERT HALL (London) " id="pdf-obj-18-2" src="pdf-obj-18-2.jpg">



best known for holding the annual summer The BBC Proms, (The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts) presented by the BBC concerts since 1941

  • - one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings

  • - opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, as a dedication to her deceased husband and consort Prince Albert

  • - it hosts more than 350/year performances including classical concerts, rock and pop, ballet and opera, tennis, award ceremonies, school and community events, charity performances and banquets

The Royal Opera House, London

Many of them are world renowned, and have been held for many years

Music festivals United Kingdom cover a wide variety of genres:


Classical music and opera

Dance and electronic music

Ethnic music

Folk music

Metal music

Jazz music

Pop music

Punk music

Rock music

British Folk music

Each of the four countries of the United Kingdom has its own diverse and distinctive folk music forms.

there are numerous distinct folk traditions brought by immigrants from



the Commonwealth

Folk music flourished until the era of industrialization when it began to be replaced by new forms of popular music, including

Music hall Brass bands

British popular music originates in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries un til the XIX (broadside ballad)

In the 1930s the influence of American Jazz led to the creation of

British dance bands, that began to dominate social occasions and the radio airwaves

- Folk music - Pop
Folk music
  • - Rock music

  • - Rock n’roll

  • - Hard rock

  • - Blue rock

  • - Heavy metal

  • - Acid jazz

  • - Drum and bass, etc


Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin (1916 – 1999)

PERSONALITIES Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin (1916 – 1999) ∑ Russian Jewish American violonist and conductor ∑

Russian Jewish American violonist and conductor spent most of his performing career in the United Kingdom citizen of Switzerland in 1970, and of the United kingdom in 1985 considered to have been one of the twentieth century's greatest violin virtuosi


Britain is more famous for pop music than it is for classical composers or jazz musicians

∑ punk, ∑ garage, ∑ house, ∑ rock, ∑ pop and ∑ R&B. (such as McFly,
∑ punk,
∑ garage,
∑ house,
∑ rock,
pop and
∑ R&B. (such as McFly, JLo, Xtina, Beyonce, Pink, Britney, Justin Timberlake, Mis-teeq)


The origins of music in Britain lie in the songs sung and dance music played by ordinary people. Passed from village to village and handed down in the unwritten form from generation to generation.

Different trends

Over the last thirty or so years British pop music has led the world in its range and quality, starting several new trends. Britain, along with the US, was the main contributor in the development of rock and roll, and Britain has provided some of the most famous bands, including The Beatles and many others.

Britain was at the forefront of punk music in the 1970s with bands such as the

Sex Pistols and The Clash,

and the subsequent rebirth of heavy metal with bands such as

Motorhead and Iron Maiden

Music in Britain

1920s - Young people listened to ragtime and jazz

1930s - Swing became popular. Benny Goodman and his Orchestra were the 'King of the Swing', as were Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. The music was fast and frantically paced and led to dances being banned from dance halls, as the young women being flung into the air by their partners showed their stocking tops and underwear. Jazz continued to be popular.

1940s - The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) dance music - boogie-woogie or jitterbug. Dances were held in church halls, village halls, clubs, Air Force bases - everywhere! But slower, romantic songs were also popular as loved ones went away to fight, such as Vera Lynn's 'We’ll meet again' and the song about coming home again, 'The The White Cliffs of Dover’

After the war 'skiffle' bands became popular. These bands used household items, such as washboards and tea chests, as part of their set of instruments! Tommy Steele, who later became very famous, first played in a skiffle band

1950s - Rock and Roll became very popular

1960's - The Beatles began their career. They leapt to fame in 1963 with 'Please, Please Me'.

The Beatles moved through the late 1960s as favourites of the 'flower power' generation - many young people enjoyed 'hippie' music. Other teenagers preferred the music of the 'Mods' - ska music and The Who.

1970s - The first big new sound of the 1970s was “Glam Rock”, the main figures of this were

David Bowie, Elton John and

Gary Glitter

In the bleak political backdrop, these larger that life British bands and characters brought a welcome relief with their platform boots, sequins, nail varnish and colourful hair.

Punk The punk movement of the late 1970s began in England. Great British bands of this


The punk movement of the late 1970s

began in England. Great British bands of this scene were The Sex Pistols and The Clash.

The Punk style was Mohawks, bondage clothes, safety pins, piercing and bovver boots.

1980s - The 1980s saw the rise of

∑ hip hop and ∑ rap music,
hip hop and
∑ rap music,

with American influences powerful once again in the form of such groups as

Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash and

the Furious Five

It also saw the rise and fall of the

'New Romantics',

typified by groups like

Adam and the Ants, who dressed as pirates and highway men and wore huge amounts of makeup

1990s – Britpop =the general name given in the 1990s to a new wave of successful British bands who made a big impact in the United States and Europe, as well as in England. The most successful have been

Radiohead, Oasis,

Blur, Pulp,

Massive Attack and

The Spice Girls