For quite awhile now I've been searching for a music history and appreciation program that includes music prior to the Baroque period (after all, music has existed from the earliest times!). While a few contain cursory information on the Middle Ages and Renaissance, none appear to delve into the amount of detail I require, so I've decided to pull something together myself (we're all quite passionate about music, otherwise I probably wouldn't bother!).

For starters, I purchased the HarperCollins College Outline History of Western Music by Hugh H. Miller and A Student's Guide to Music History by R.J. Stove. I may also read The Rise of Music in the Ancient World: East and West and the Norton classics: Medieval Music and Anthology of Renaissance Music (to myself, of course, if I can find the time!). While I don't plan to get super technical with the kids, I would like them to know - at minimum - the main themes, historical context and identifying styles of each period. Essentials of Music is a useful resource for this as well. If I can find enough material, I'd also like to cover non-Western music (Indian, Persian, Asian and Islamic music, for example) - however, that will require much more research!

After spending some time on Amazon, here is the 'starter' list I came up with, though I'm sure it could use some fine tuning:

Several of the above CD's are published by Naxos, which has a great Early Music Collection. Since I'm only personally familiar with the Anonymous 4 selections (which are beautiful!), I tried to choose only those that appeared historically accurate and had very positive reviews. I've ordered a few CD's to get started, so we'll see how it goes! My plan is to spend about 30 minutes per week on a formal lesson, but we'll play the CD's quite frequently during reading and at other quiet times.


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