Early Music of the Church When European musical notation began in the 8th and 9th centuries, the Western world was already filled with music. Sacred chants and secular songs were rich with melody, rhythm and harmony. Richard Taruskin begins our chronicle with the early music of the church.
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Early Music of the Church

The 1,200-year-old European tradition of notated music is detailed in a new, highly ambitious six-volume survey by musicologist Richard Taruskin. The Oxford History of Western Music explores the music of Europe and America from the rise of musical notation in the eighth and ninth centuries to the beginning of the 21st.

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume I Oxford University Press hide caption

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Oxford University Press

Providing analysis of key works that affected the course of Western music, Taruskin also relates musical developments throughout the ages to trends in economics, politics, religion and other cultural and social events.

Taruskin joins NPR's Fred Child in the first of a series on five pivotal moments in the history of Western music. He begins the chronicle with early music of the church.