Western Classical Music: The Landscape

The encour­ag­ing response to my teas­er post has pro­pelled me towards think­ing of an out­line for how to struc­ture this series. Here is the first draft of my pro­posed out­line.


  • What is Clas­si­cal Music? Brief His­to­ry.
  • Dif­fer­ences between Hin­dus­tani & WCM
  • Chal­lenges in WCM appre­ci­a­tion

The Basics

  • Peri­ods (and why they’re impor­tant)
  • Genres/Styles (dit­to)
  • WCM used in Movies (for eas­i­er appre­ci­a­tion)
  • Some key terms explained (Sonata Form, Major/Minor, Coun­ter­point, etc.)
  • Rec­om­mend­ed Lis­ten­ing for Begin­ners (sam­pling across genres/periods)


  • Movies about WCM
  • Doc­u­men­taries about WCM
  • Books on WCM

Digging Deep Into Specific Works

  • Mozart 40/41
  • Beethoven 5/7
  • And some oth­ers

Am I miss­ing out some­thing you were look­ing for? Any sug­ges­tions? Any feed­back appre­ci­at­ed.

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  • I think that’s a great start! You may want to have a sec­tion on instru­ments (esp. old ones) and break up ‘key terms’ into: for­mats (sonata/ symphony/ con­cer­to) and musi­cal terms and nota­tions (chords, etc.) — this part should prob­a­bly come under ‘struc­ture’ of WCM. And in the deep dive sec­tion, PLEASE do not miss out on J S Bach 🙂 who gave us the well-tem­pered clavier and in doing so influ­enced most of what was to fol­low in the his­to­ry of WCM.

  • Thank you!

    Instru­ments sec­tion was also sug­gest­ed on Twit­ter, will def­i­nite­ly add that.

    Yes, will do (re: formats/musicology terms).

    For JS Back, will either attempt my best or invite guest post from you! 😉 (Yes, with­out Bach, there would be no WCM)

  • fast dots

    Glad to have you writ­ing on AUM reg­u­lar­ly 🙂

    Great start! I would also throw in a lit­tle bit more about WCM evo­lu­tion.

    As an aside, I have real­ly enjoyed Carnegie Hall lis­ten­ing adven­tures — check out their work on Dvorak’s 9th sym­pho­ny at http://listeningadventures.carnegiehall.org/nws/splash.html

  • @FastDots: Thank you! 🙂

    I am plan­ning to cov­er a bit of the evo­lu­tion aspect when dis­cussing the peri­ods.

    Thanks for the Carnegie Hall point­er, will def­i­nite­ly check it out!

  • Nice! Look­ing for­ward to this 🙂


  • That was just the final push that was required! 🙂 Thanks, Gau­ri, very much.

  • shar­mi chakraborty

    Can you please extend the top­ic of music appre­ci­a­tion a bit?
    EFor exam­ple a brief note on world music with dif­fer­ent gen­res explained and the rela­tion of euro­pean clas­si­cal music with that of oth­er forms of clas­si­cal music could be some­thing inter­est­ing to talk about.

    • - Music appre­ci­a­tion — that’s what this is all about.
      — Yes, dif­fer­ent gen­res is planned, also com­par­ing WCM with ICM.
      — Will try to pro­vide links for fur­ther read­ing wher­ev­er pos­si­ble.