Famous Musicians

Arranged by Period

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Music wouldn't be where and what it is today without the contribution of many talented and creative musicians and composers. Here you will find biographical information on the world's most notable and prolific musicians in history. Each musician is categorized under a specific era in music history. Read on and meet some of our greatest masters of music.

Middle Ages - During this period, musical notation began as well as the birth of polyphony.
There is a remarkable continuity in musical styles categorized into monophonic and polyphonic styles. The most notable musicians of this era are:Renaissance- Also known as the "rebirth," this era signifies an increased patronage of music. Known composers of this period are:
  • Guillaume Dufay
  • Johannes Ockeghem
  • Jacob Obrecht
  • Josquin Desprez
  • Clement Janequin
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  • John Farmer
  • Claudio Monteverdi
  • Claudin de Sermisy
  • Adrian Willaert
  • Jacob Arcadelt
  • Orlando Lassus
  • Luca Marenzio
  • Carlo Gesualdo
  • Tomas Luis de Victoria
  • Giovanni Gabrielli
  • William Byrd
  • John Dowland
  • Thomas Tallis

Baroque Period- This era was a time of experimentation. The role of music in society continued to expand and there was growing awareness of national styles. Great musicians of this period are:

Classical- Musical context during this period was more on art and nature. Music had simpler textures, melodies and rational forms.
The piano was a favorite instrument during this time. Famous composers of this period are:
Romantic Period - During this era, there was a marked change in the status of musicians. There was an increased interest in nature and the supernatural as well as nationalism and exoticism. It also signifies the rise in program music. Famous musicians of this period are:
20th Century- This period experienced the advent of sound recording and the birth of a "World Music" culture. There was also a widening gap between the art and popular music. Great composers of this era are: