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‘The Fallen Woman’ La dame aux camélias (‘The Lady of the Camellias’) by Alexandre Dumas had barely been staged in 1852 before Verdi took it up for La traviata, one of the great operas from his middle period. It premiered at Teatro La Fenice, Venice on 6 March 1853, and the first performance was disastrous. Verdi blamed the ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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In order to put Western classical music into a global and historical context, one must survey the music of ancient civilizations as well as the traditions of the non-Western world. From what is known of this music it was – and is – performed in a vast range of cultural environments and with many functions other than for entertainment in ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The earliest recorded dynasty in China, the Shang (c. 1766–c. 1122 bc), developed the system of writing that today offers a record of Chinese musical activity spanning 5,000 years. From these writings can be gained information on the destruction and reinvention of music theory through centuries of change: its mythological origins, theoretical basis, an inventory of court ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The South Asian region is centred on India and includes the neighbouring modern nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The region now called Pakistan saw the rise and fall of the Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world. Scarce archeological objects showing drums and an arched harp give a ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The vast Southeast Asian region includes the island republics of Indonesia and the Philippines, and the mainland states of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. The mainland countries, particularly Vietnam, have been greatly influenced by Chinese culture and Buddhism. Indonesia has been influenced by Hinduism and Islam, and the Philippines ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The ancestors of the indigenous peoples of North and South America migrated from Asia across the frozen Bering Strait over 20,000 years ago. Even after millennia, some characteristics are shared between Oriental and Amerindian music: monophonic forms, large intervals, a tense vocal style, rattles and frame drums, and the importance of music in healing rituals. ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The Oceania region includes three principal areas – Melanesia (from the Bismarcks to Fiji), Polynesia (Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti and Samoa) and Micronesia (north of the equator and west of the International Date Line). The music of the Pacific islands (some 7,000 to 10,000) has been shaped by the alternating forces of isolation, migration and contact within ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Since classical antiquity, the varied cultures of Africa have fascinated Europeans, but it was only in the twentieth century that musicologists overcame the traditional concepts of ‘primitivism’ to discover the richness of the continent’s music. African performing arts are intimately bound to life – the music is woven into the fabric of society and culture. It is inseparable from ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The Near East includes two of the world’s earliest civilizations – Mesopotamia and Egypt. From the few artefacts found in Mesopotamia something is known about Sumerian instruments and the circumstances in which music was played. The Egyptian musical culture shared characteristics with that of Mesopotamia; they played similar instruments and music was also closely associated with rituals and worship. Within the ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The government-enforced isolation of Native Americans in the United States has fostered cultural independence, in contrast to the marked musical acculturation between the Hispanic-speaking and Amerindian societies in South America. But in modern times, North American groups have tended to set aside tribal differences and seek a pan-tribal cultural unity. The ‘Ghost Dance’, a religious cult led by Jack ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The two great architectural styles of the medieval age were the Romanesque and the Gothic. The Romanesque, with its round-arch forms borrowed from classical buildings, is a massive style, characterized by solid pillars supporting the great stone roof vaults that were a new feature of construction. It is often crowded with imaginative sculpture. During the twelfth century, ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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In the second half of the twelfth century, the new cathedral of Notre Dame was the focus of an extraordinary effort by Leonin and others to create a whole new musical liturgy. Thanks to their efforts and to the presence of the increasingly independent University of Paris, whose curriculum was aimed towards ecclesiastical careers, the city became a ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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Among the earliest humanist projects was the recovery and study of classical architecture. Many buildings from the Roman period still stood (some stand today); others were in ruins from which the originals could just be discerned. Study of these remains with reference to recently recovered classical architectural treatises led to a new school of architecture. The leader of this school was ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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The seven centuries covered here saw, essentially, the making of modern Europe. They saw the rise of the papacy and its numerous conflicts. They saw the shaping and reshaping of nations and empires. Yet beyond, and often because of, these conflicts and changes, they also saw the formation of great cultures. As nation met nation in ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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‘Medieval’ as a concept is very hard to define, and the period itself is just as difficult to delineate. It was a term invented by Renaissance writers who wished to make a distinction between their modernity and what had gone before. Although the onset of the Renaissance is often taken to be around the beginning of the fourteenth century, ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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