Cover image for Chronology of Western classical music
Chronology of Western classical music
Hall, Charles J. , 1925-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
2 volumes ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
v. 1. 1751-1900 -- v. 2. 1901-2000.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML161 .H35 2002 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
ML161 .H35 2002 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music
ML161 .H35 2002 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
ML161 .H35 2002 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Music

On Order



This 2-volume reference work offers a complete chronology of classical music from the 18th-century through the end of the 20th. Organized by year, each entry gives: births of key musicians/composers, deaths, performing debuts, new positions, prizes/honors, bibliographical highlights, cultural beginnings, musical literature, and compositions. This work answers hundreds of common questions, from "Who wrote that piece?" to "When was it first performed"? A complete index is given in each volume, making finding information quick and easy. This book will strongly appeal to music students, professors, and lovers of classical music.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This new chronology covers events in "cultivated/art music" from around the world for the years 1751 through 1900 and 1901 through 1999. Author Hall's previous chronologies, A Chronicle of American Music, 1700-1995 (Schirmer, 1996), An Eighteenth-Century Musical Chronicle: Events, 1750-1799 (Greenwood, 1990), A Nineteenth-Century Musical Chronicle: Events, 1800-1899 (Greenwood, 1989), and A Twentieth-Century Musical Chronicle: Events, 1900-1988 (Greenwood, 1989), have essentially been rolled into one, with some additions, corrections, and formatting changes. Each year's entry begins with a couple of paragraphs outlining historical and arts and literature highlights. Nine categories of musical events follow, among them "Births" and "Deaths" (both further subdivided into composers, conductors, singers, performers, and others); "Debuts"; "Prizes/Honors"; and "Biographical Highlights." The last category in each year, "Musical Compositions," is the largest, encompassing chamber music, choral and vocal music, orchestral and band music, ballets, symphonies, and more. A "Composition Index" and a "Historical Index" (which indexes names of people, orchestras, places, and so on) complete the set. There is no source bibliography, which would undoubtedly fill an entire volume, but the author cites the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Grove, 2001) and Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Schirmer, 2001) as "the final word" when he found conflicting data. Hall's earlier works have a cleaner layout, but there is better organization of compositions in the new set, with narrower subdivisions in each broad category. A comparison of entries in the latest chronology with those in the author's earlier works shows that several new names have been added in the various categories for each year, and many old names have been corrected or include additional data, such as what instrument a person played. Libraries that have the other works may not be able to justify purchase of the new set, but those with comprehensive music collections or high demand for chronologies will welcome it. Another music chronology, Music since 1900 (Schirmer, 6th ed., 2001), takes a day-by-day rather than a subject approach and covers only the twentieth century. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This chronology covers music from the classical period to the end of the 20th century, with Volume 1 ranging from 1751 to 1900 and Volume 2 from 1901 to 2000. Hall (Andrews Univ.) includes only "cultivated/art music," meaning that pop music and jazz are excluded, as well as anything that could be considered "ethnic" or otherwise outside a fairly conservative view of Western art music. Each year's entry begins with a sentence or two citing general historical events and a short paragraph on the arts. The entry is then broken down into 11 sections, including births, deaths, compositions, and performances. These sections are then further divided into subsections, so that "Compositions," for instance, includes a subheading "Chamber Music," making for a total of more than 37,500 separate pieces of information. Hall is fairly comprehensive in terms of covering the most famous people, music, and events in the United States and England. Canada and other European countries, however, get short shrift, and some of the lesser-known figures, music, and events included are highly subjective. The key to the chronology lies in the two extensive indexes (one for compositions, one for all other historical data) at the end of each volume. They guide the reader to the correct year and, by means of a simple code, indicate the nature of the entry (e.g., A=birth date). Because this is essentially a chronology, it is of somewhat limited use. One can find, for example, that Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro was first performed in 1786 but not where or by whom; for more details, the reader will need to consult another source. Perhaps one would do better to start with The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, which the author used for fact checking. Recommended with reservations for larger libraries.-Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Historical Highlights Art and Literature Highlights
A Births Composers, Singers, Performers, Others
B Deaths Composers, Singers, Performers, Others
C Debuts Singers, Performers
D New Positions Conductors, Others
E Prizes/Honors
F Biographical Highlights
G Cultural Beginnings Performing Groups-Instrumental, Educational, Music Publishers, Performing Centers, Other
H Musical Literature
I Musical Compositions Chamber Music, Choral/Vocal Music, Orchestra/Band Music