Independent Classical Music
Not a single musical style, but numerous styles as well as numerous periods of music. Classical music is considered to begin with Pope Gregory I. Music existed prior to Gregory, of course, but he was the first to come up with the idea of writing music down, inventing sheet music. Gregory gave each note that he recognized (4) a corresponding letter: A through D. We still use these notes today, but E, F, G, and all the half notes between each note on the scale have been added since Gregory's time. Monks started writing and singing songs using Gregory's rules - Gregorian Chants. A few years later, a monk named Guido of Arezzo invented the music notations do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti, and drew them as notes on a staff.
During the Renaissance madrigals, a form of vocal music that incorporated at least three voices (but often more), was created and quickly became popular. Madrigals were beautiful and harmonic, and involved a technique called madrigalism that is best exemplified by an example: when madrigal singers came across the word "happy" in their lyrics, they would sing that note happily. Or if they were singing about running downhill, the notes would also descend. Also during this period Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi came up with the idea of adding musical accompaniment to madrigals, made music more dramatic by inventing opera.
Around the late 1600s (the Baroque Era), it was fashionable for royalty and rich households to employ a composer. Composers also resided in churches and wrote music for mass. This period produced Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach - each of whom created hundreds of pieces that are still played and cherished today.
The classical period, which lasted from the mid-1700s to early 1800s, yielded some of the most popular composers in history. This period produced Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, who, along with others, wrote concertos, sonatas, and symphonies that bare still performed today.
During the romantic period, lasting from the early to mid-1800s, music became highly emotional and poetically personal. Structure, while important, was second to expressing oneself freely. Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, and Strauss are a few of the romantic greats.