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Arts Teaching Kit for Senior Secondary Curriculum

Music

Classical Music
and Architecture
A Historical
Perspective
[Student notes]

Organized by

Funded by

Research Team

Contents
Preamble

Learning plan

1.1 Baroque period (1600-1750)

01

1.2 Classical period (1750-1820)

04

1.3 Romantic period (1820-1900)

05

Lesson 2: Contemporary Music and Architecture

06

Summary, Key words and further reading

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Appendix: Timeline of Development of Music and Architecture

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Cover: Parco Della Musica designed by Renzo Piano, Rome


Disclaimer
Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the project only, and does not otherwise take part
in the project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials/events (or by members of the project team) do not reflect the
views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
2012 Hong Kong Institute of Architects

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Lesson 1: Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Topic 03
Classical Music and Architecture
A Historical Perspective
Major teaching areas

Interdisciplinary teaching areas

Music

Design and Applied Technology

Developing Creativity and Imagination

Strand 1 Design and Innovation

Cultivating Critical Responses in Music

Strand 3 Value and Impact

Physics

Understanding Music in Context

Chapter III Wave Motion

Appreciation and Criticism in context


Formal knowledge
Signs and symbols
Types of image and image development strategies
Knowledge of history and ways of seeing
Knowledge in context

Learning objectives
To appreciate music and architectural styles from different historical contexts
To understand the influences of contemporary art movements on other disciplines of the arts
To develop a broad perspective of appreciation across different disciplines of arts

Learning plan
Lesson
Lesson 1
Classical Music and
Architecture A Historical
Perspective
Lesson 2
Contemporary Music and
Architecture
Appendix
Timeline of Development
of Music and Architecture

Contents

1.1 Musical and architectural characteristics of the Renaissance and

Baroque periods

1.2 Musical and architectural characteristics of the Classical period

1.3 Musical and architectural characteristics of the Romantic period

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Visual Arts


Overview of modern art movements influences on music and
architecture

Historical and cultural events, musical and architectural development


since 1300

Lesson 1
Classical Music and Architecture
A Historical Perspective

Albert Einstein, scientist

Painting, sculpture, digital art, theatre, music, dance, architecture, film, and literature are all disciplines
of the arts, a phrase that summarises all the forms of human creativity. (Here we distinguish arts from
art, the word which normally denotes visual arts only.) Although these disciplines can vary greatly in
form for example, music is an audible but intangible experience while a sculpture is usually a defined
object with volume, texture and colour they are inter-related in the sense that they all reflect the
conceptual framework of their particular time and place of creation.

[Discussion]

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life,
lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading
the individual towards freedom.

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Can you think of any examples of how different forms of art relate to each other and to
society?
Examples:

The emergence of media art with the invention of television in the 50s

Pop art and the consumer and media culture of America in the 60s

Religious music to be played in churches

Opera as a mix of drama, music and fashion design
Examples of relationships between different art forms:

Examples of art in relationship to society:

01

The overlapping terrain of the arts


What are the special properties of each discipline? Link them up to see the complex web of arts.

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

These different forms of art interweave in complex ways, but they do share certain limitations:
All art - indeed, all life - must exist in a particular space and within a particular time frame, because space
and time are the bases of our existence and our understanding of the world.

02

I call architecture frozen music.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, author

How would you interpret Goethes statement above? How is music similar to architecture?

Listen to excerpts of the following pieces of music and study the photographs below, each showing a
particular architectural space.
Gabriel Faur: Requiem in D minor, op. 48, composed between 1887-90
Peret: Saboreando or other songs from the album La Salsa De La Rumba, released in 2001
1. Which piece of music is more suitable for each space?
2. What makes you associate a certain type of music with a certain type of space?

p The Pantheon, Rome

p Park Gell by Antonio Gaud, Barcelona

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Activity: music to fill a space

03

1.1 Baroque Period (1600-1750): Ornaments, theatricality &


formulation
You will listen to a piece of Renaissance music, followed by a Baroque piece.
The teacher will show you images of buildings from these two historical periods.
Baroque architecture
Characteristics

Renaissance music
Characteristics / development

Baroque music
Characteristics / development

Please give the name of one Renaissance musical


instrument and draw its appearance:

Please give the name of one Baroque composer and an


example of his work:

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Renaissance architecture
Characteristics

How do Baroque architecture and music differ from those of the Renaissance, and in what ways do they
reflect the spirit or the major ideas of the time?

04

Old Supreme Court building, Hong Kong

1.2 Classical Period (1750-1820): Balance and elegance


Neoclassical architecture (17001900 or 18thlate 19th century)
Characteristics

Classical music (17501820)


Characteristics

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Please name the classical architectural elements of the


Old Supreme Court building.

How do neoclassical architecture and classical music reflect the spirit or the major ideas of the time?
Which of the two buildings shown on the left is a classical building?
Which one is Neoclassical? How do you tell?

Parthenon, Greece

White House, Washington D C

*Drawings not to scale

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1.3 Romantic Period (1820-1900): Passion and Diversity


What were the reasons for the resurgence of interest in Gothic and Medieval culture in the 19th century?

The teacher will play a piece of piano music from the Romantic period.
Please name the composer and the form of the piece (e.g. etude,
impromptu, sonata).

a spinet (a small harpsichord)

a modern piano
Gryffindor - Wikipedia user

What is the difference between a modern piano and a harpsichord? How did
the improvement of the piano influence the development of musical styles?

Which of the above is/are in Neo-Gothic style? How can you tell?

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

06

Lesson 2
Contemporary Music and Architecture
Exploration and evolution
There is no such thing as silence.
John Cage, composer
Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

[Discussion]
The teacher will play a piece titled 433 (four minutes, thirtythree seconds), composed by John Cage in 1952. After listening to
the piece, please discuss the following:
1

What did you hear when the piece was played?

Recall what you heard in the classroom during the


4 minutes and 33 seconds.

What is your definition of music?

Do you consider what you just heard music?


The world is filled with all kinds of sounds,
including those made by the functioning of our own
bodies. Is absolute silence possible?

07

Style matching:
Please match the names of the modern architectural styles with the correct images.

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Form follows function.


Louis Sullivan, architect

Art Nouveau (1890-1910)


Nature-inspired, organic patterns, full of curves

High-tech (1970-present)
xposed structure, emphasis on functional elements
Prefabricated building parts
Use of high-tech materials: steel, aluminium, and
glass

Minimalism (1920s-present)

Use of geometric shapes and stepped forms


Use of ornaments in clean and modernised forms
Symmetry and a sense of grandeur

Strip down ornaments and retain only the essential


elements
Emphasis on the void, or the space, through
careful composition of planes and structures
Influenced by Japanese Zen aesthetics

Bauhaus/International Style (1920-70s)

Postmodernism (1980-present)

Art Deco (1930-70s)

Rectilinear forms
Asymmetry
Truth in materials
Functionalism form follows function

A response to the rational and boring International


Style
Return of ornaments and use of colours
Reference to architectural styles from the past

08

St Pauls Cathedral, London in the


Baroque style

Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona in minimalist style

[Discussion]
1

Of the major periods of classical music, which do you like best? Why?
Which style do you think is most relevant, or is the best representation, of our time?

Please share your own experience of enjoying music in a particular time and space.

Do you go to classical concerts in a concert hall?


Do you listen to your own mp3s while travelling on the MTR?
Do you like singing in the bathroom with the special acoustics?
Or, like modern composers, do you like listening to the sounds of the city?

How would you compare space and time in architecture and music in terms of the following aspects:
- Experience (how do we experience a building or a piece of music?)
- Composition (how are different building parts put together? How is a piece of music composed?
Does music have a structure just like a building? Does composition affect our experience of
architecture or music?)

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

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Summary
1.

All arts deal with space and time. Music and architecture have both passed through stages of
tangible and intangible development in response to their time.

2.

Music and architecture from the Baroque period (1600-1750) feature elaborate ornamentations and
strong emotions.

3.

Classical music and architecture (1750-1820) display a search for balance and elegance.

4.

Romantic music and architecture described by Passion and diversity (1850-1900).

5.

In the 20th century, new forms of music and architecture were tested. Many distinctive styles have
evolved due to new technology and innovations.

Renaissance
Baroque
Classical
Romantic
Contemporary
Modernism
Neo-classical Architecture

Further reading
1.

TED Talk: David Byrne: how architecture helped music evolve


ht tp: / / www. te d. com/t alk s /david_byr ne_how _ ar c hit ec t ur e_ help ed _ mus ic _ e vo lve.ht ml

2.

: 2009

3.

: 2004

4.

Performing architecture: opera houses, theatres and concert halls for the twenty-first century.
Hammond, Michael. London: Merrell, 2006.

5.

Where modern Hong Kong began: the City Hall and its 50-year story. Chow Fan Fu. Hong Kong: Hong
Kong City Hall, 2012.
2012

Arts | Classical Music and Architecture A Historical Perspective

Key words

This page: Parco Della Musica

Organizer

Sponsor

Reseach Team

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