10 most important composers in history?

Jun 8, 2013

In your opinion, what are the most important composers in music?
Which of them have made great contributions to the following generations?

In my opinion are:

Bach
Haydn
Mozart
Beethoven
Paganini
Liszt
Wagner
Tchaikovsky
Grieg
Debussy

In my opinion, without these composers, the direction of the music would be another.

For you what are?


Comments

Bach
Haydn
Mozart
Beethoven
Chopin
Liszt
Wagner
Brahms
Scriabin (his influence is underestimated: Russian music in the twentieth century music owes everything to him)
Schoenberg
This, of course, is excluding the Renaissance and Medieval composers, who were definitely the most important. Leonin, Perotin, Palestrina, Gesualdo and Tallis were the most important composers of all time, but we have forgotten them.
I think that Debussy influenced well over that Scriabin in the 20th century. Both made great roles, but in a different way.
The Renaissance really is forgotten by many, however if it were considered, the list would be less complex.
That is not necessarily true. There are only a handful of composers influenced by Debussy, namely
the French Avant-Garde. Scriabin's influence is sadly forgotten because of the censorship in the Soviet Union. Roslavets, Mosolov, Feinberg, etc. were all extreme Scriabinists. Of course, Myakovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Sorabji, Schoenberg (and his group), Szymanowski, Silvestrov, etc. were more discrete but were definitely influenced by him.
Debussy started the ancient harmonies and invent something completely new for music, impressionism.

Many of modernity were influenced by Debussy. The new style is impressive. As I said do not judge the musician by difficulty but by the brilliance and musicianship, Debussy transmits his view on the world, a mysterious and fantastic way.
Could you give a few examples about Debussy's influences?
Debussy IS difficult, for one; and secondly, he didn't invent Impressionism. Faure did.
Feure did?

Did not see in no time his name next to the word "Impressionism".

Just hate Bach, makes it a "blurred"?

Stravinsky wrote anything in his plays, and everybody loved him!

See what interesting thing!

Ravel, Villa-Lobos, Béla Bartók, Manuel de Falla, Frederick Delius, Isaac Albéniz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Francis P, Bill Evans, Tom Jobim.All influenced.
PS: Debussy is considered the main musician of the modern era. Impressionism was the first modernist movement, even though it was made by Reynaldo Hahn, Debussy was the greatest Impressionist that existed. It deepened in impressionism.
You forgot Messaian in the list of his influences. Saint-Saens influenced by Debussy? In what world? Faure did invent the Impressionism harmonic vocabulary, as did Franck and Dukas. Debussy simply expanded to it. Regardless, Debussy's music should not be called Impressionistic. He said this himself.
Stravinsky wrote anything?
That's a ridiculous statement. Stravinsky was the greatest composer of Ballet ever. Every music professor would agree that Stravinsky is a great composer.
What does this have to do with "blurred" anyways?
Stravinsky is very much like Bach, if you study his music.
Debussy didn't have good structure, counterpoint, etc. His harmony IS interesting, but compared to Scriabin's, it lacks true innovation. Have you studied Scriabin's synthetic chord theories?
Counterpoint? I'm talking about innovation and not old stuff!

I think that we are not speaking the same language.

You're talking about new chord?
So we're talking about Debussy. Without those ancient cadences. Let go of the past and to see into the future, write what you see, even though strange. This is Debussy.

When I hear Scriabin I remember from the old romantic acodes and nothing innovative.


I'm talking about listening to a song and say "I've never heard anything like it." ...IE Debussy.

Stravinsky?

Rite of spring, a strange music, you never want to hear. ... Haha
Scriabin not innovative?
Have you heard his 10th piano sonata?
Vers la Flamme?
The Fifth piano sonata?
I think you've been listening to his early stuff, like the 3rd piano sonata, or the op.8 no.12 etude.

Counterpoint will always be important. It's been the focus of Western music since the very beginning.

The Rite of Spring is a work of genius. It's truly "I've never heard anything like it".
Is the sheer relativity, our tastes are very different.

I think that Debussy is the door to a new place. I feel very well by listening to it, I'm going to another world. A different feel.

You already must have felt this feeling .... because it is an important musician here in musescore.

I love the works of Debussy as you love those of Scriabin. And only.

I could name a few Debussu pieces to show you the genius of it, but don't think I would change your opinion.

Both Debussy and Scriabin, are two men who have changed the music of the era in which they lived.
What I don't understand is that you say that Scriabin is not innovative.
That's ridiculous.
He's not at all a "romantic" composer.
He was less tonal than Debussy.
-Bach
-Mozart
-Beethoven
-Liszt
-Chopin
-Wagner
-Verdi (His importance is more related to Italy's born)
-Debussy
-Stravinsky
-Schoenberg
-And me (Just kidding)
@José Victor: Some notes about things you said
1) Saying that counterpoint is old stuff is non-sense. The creation of counterpoint was more important than any Debussy's harmonies.
2) Fauré was an impressionist composer. Not the most important, but he was.
3) Actually, if you think about innovatives composers of the modern era, Schoenberg was better than Debussy. Atonal music was something really new.
4) Stravinsky is considered the most important modern composer. I simply can't believe that you don't like "Le Sacre du Printemps". As NFL said, this is a "I've never heard anything like it".
I'm not saying that Debussy wasn't important, but I think that you are overestimating his genius.
Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, Wagner, Brahms, Paganini, Mahler, Debussy and perhaps as well Stravinsky.

Scriabin was extraordinarily innovative, but no more so than Debussy was. Both, earlier in their lives, composed with a more romantic touch, later on Debussy turned to impressionism along with Ravel (although they themselves did not like the term), and Scriabin became more atonal. But don't forget that Scriabin was influenced enormously by Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and his teachers being Sergei Taneyev and Nikolai Zverev.

Jose made a good last point, both Debussy and Scriabin were influential and integral parts of the development of music. It really is down to personal taste, you cannot say one was better than the other, NFL you're statement about Debussy's lacking true innovation is absurd.

As for Stravinsky I prefer the firebird.
PS: Debussy is considered the main musician of the modern era. Impressionism was the first modernist movement, even though it was made by Reynaldo Hahn, Debussy was the greatest Impressionist that existed. It deepened in impressionism.
Is undeniable that Debussy was the greatest impressionist, although doesn't mean that he was the main musician of the modern era. Stravinsky made a larger contribution to the Modernism.
Tales,eu sempre li muito sobre Debussy,eu converso sempre que posso com minha professora sobre o compositor(ele é uma grande fã dele,a professora dela foi aluna dele). Na maioria dos livros que li,dizem que ele é o pai do modernismo. Como eu disse antes,o impressionismo foi o primeiro movimento modernista que existiu, ele foi o primeiro grande modernista na música,realmente foi o pai do modernismo. Música bela,sem borrões,tem entendimento. Quando ouvi a sagração da primavera,eu não entendi nada,tudo bem que a música não tem melodia,mas,não tinha sentido,não agradava a meus ouvidos.
De fato, é o pai do Modernismo, e é sim o primeiro grande compositor do gênero. Só não acho que ele tenha sido o mais grandioso. Quanto a Sagração da Primavera, ela tem melodia. O detalhe é que - não sei se você conhece o programa da música - mas Stravinsky quis dar um foco na parte rítmica para parecer algo tribal e estar fortemente ligado com o balé. Esse é o grande lance da Sagração: A música ocidental sempre manteve em foco a melodia, e Stravinsky não usa esse padrão, o que a princípio parece soar estranho aos ouvidos.
Mozart
Beethoven
Bach
Haydn
Schubert
Chopin
Liszt
Tchaikovsky
Verdi
Brahms
I'd like to mention Handel as well but as many people think(and somehow including me!) the barouqe period can be completely summarized in Bach;so I didn't consider him in my top 10 of all time.
I would personally say that Debussy has had a more profound effect on C20th music than Skrjabin. To discount Debussy for his influence from Fauré is like discounting Bach for his from Buxtehude... Debussy's innovations shaped generations; Skrjabin was more a part of the development of localised art.
I do not agree.
Debussy was a member of a movement, while Scriabin began a movement.
Of course, this is all a matter of opinion. It's as futile as arguing as to whether Bach was greater than Beethoven or the reverse.
It's pretty easy to say that Debussy was a member of a movement, Debussy himself did not like being called "Impressionist".

The impressionism of Debussy was very different.

Debussy opened the modern era.
In order of their eras .
-Monteverdi (I don't know why no one mentioned him)
-Bach (almost most important)
-Gluck (Improved Opera)
-C.P.E Bach (because of his inscriptions in piano and he was caused of prevalence of piano)
-Mozart (technically was first pianist)
-Beethoven (this is so obvious , he used scherzo instead menuet in symphony and made symphonies after him very strong orchestration and also his great sonatas)
-Chopin ( One of the romanticism founder )
-Liszt (One of the romanticism founder and also I think he improved pianists skills because of many students that he had)
-Wagner (it's a bit long to describe his influence to next eras)
-Tchaikovsky (because of his modernity in orchestration)
(11)-Debussy (I'm not his fan , also it's hard to say his influence in music ,next eras composers have to discuss about this issue , . Anyway he was founder of Impressionist , that I don't like this movement . But there is many composers that interested to him )
(12)-Schoenberg (Atonal movement , though he wasn't first person in atonality music , but almost one of the importance and he had famous students )
Vivaldi
J.S. Bach
C.P.E. Bach
Haydn
Beethoven
Liszt
Chopin
Wagner
Stravinsky (Surprised he hasn't been mentioned as much, even if the rite of spring wasn't the first piece in a modern style, it definitely was the piece that ushered in the new century)
Debussy
Satie (Much contribution in tempo and expression texts)
Bach
Chopin
Vivaldi
Liszt
Haydn
Mozart
Beethoven
Brahms
Paganini
Rachmaninov
pretty interesting almost everyone considered Bach,Beethoven and Mozart in their list...i wish i lived in a society like here!
Bach
Beethoven
Mozart
Chopin
Gesualdo(Important he infulenced the whole 20 century)
Liszt
Scriabin
Rachmaninoff
Gesualdo?
Not really... Wagner was more influental.
Rachmaninoff wasn't really important at all.
Gesualdo used first the jazz harmonies and just look at wagner... an antisemitist....
Rach because he's the only normal russian IMPORTANT composers or Lyapulov
Um... Scriabin? Tchaikovsky? Roslavets? Shostakovich? Prokofiev? Ornstein? Feinberg?
Not sure what you mean by Russia not having important composers other than Rachmaninoff. Lyapunov is a mere child compared to the others mentioned above, and Rachmaninoff is a skilled composer who was a bit alien to the word "innovation". He is one of my favorites but can hardly count as an "important" composer.
Gesualdo didn't use jazz harmonies: he just used chromatic notes with long pedals.
How could you possibly deny Wagner's influence on the ground that he was an antisemite? Mahler, Schoenberg, etc. were all Jews yet they were huge admirers of his music. He was the origin of modern music: "new wine needs new glasses", he would say.
Updated list, with inclusion of early composers:

Leonin
Palestrina
Caccini
J.S Bach
Haydn
Mozart
Beethoven
Wagner
Schoenberg
Cage
John Cage? Really? He isn't that important. Maybe on a "10 most important composers from the 20th century" he would be.
Cage influenced music for 100 years, and will continue to do so. Upon reflection, it came to me that he is the great figure of postmodernism, a movement not represented by the other composers listed.
For 100 years? When he was 1 year old he already was an influence? (Just kidding)
But on postmodernism I think Stockhausen was more important than Cage.
Cage din't make many innovations, but continued the music of stockhausen, xenakis, and ligeti. Rachmaninov is a great composer, but only continued on as a romantic, and perfected the Piano Concerto to late.

Antonio Vivaldi: Put the italian in Italian baroque. He wrote masterful dances and concertos, that compares with no other.

J.S. Bach: His Music is Timeless. If his music was written yesterday it would still share the popularity that it has. He's written many works (e.g. goldberg variations, Prelude in C from WTC1) that have influenced composers throughout history.

C.P.E. Bach: Biggest person in bringing the classical area, took baroque styles and developed them classically.

F. J. Haydn: Most influential Classical Composer. Created the string quartet, taught Beethoven, and wrote such a prolific amount of pieces that he covered the whole spectrum of his time.

L. V. Beethoven: Perhaps the most influential in history. Besides coming up with a multitude of great melodies, he created the scherzo, and developed the romantic sonata.

Franz Liszt: Introduced the idea of the piano recital and extreme virtuoso.

Frederick Chopin: Brought piano music up to a new level. Perfected the Romantic prelude and the art of pedaling.

Richard Wagner: Yes, he was anti-semitist, but he perfected opera until Einstein on the Beach happened. He also helped perfect the tone poem.

Igor Stravinsky: Wrote the Rite of Spring! By far the most influential piece of the modern era, and the one that told everybody that romanticism is waning. Yes Ives and Scriabin were righting dissonant and chromatic pieces, but not on the scales of Stravinsky's.

C. A. Debussy: He was the founder and star of the movement he hated. To me at least, he is the single person who succeeded in making atonal and chromatic pieces flow like tonal ones, and could create great imagery with his music.

Erik Satie: To the texts in music to a whole other level. He also started the Idea of parodical music and was an early minimalist. I suggest everyone here looks up his Parade on youtube.

If I could add three more for an 11th, I would say that Stockhausen, Xenakis, and Ligeti put a scientific emphasis on music. As well as pioneering in electronic music, they many styles not even hinted.
Ohh yeah? Check Io Parto or Beltá Poi C't assenti but if Gesualdo not there's A.instinct
Bach
Haydn
Mozart
Field
Clementi
Beethoven
Paganini
Bellini
Chopin
Brahms
Debussy
Rachmaninoff
There are many, many forgotten composers who took the first step to start a new era, but you can not name them all.
I read the name of John Cage, seriously? His 4´33´´is the stupidest piece ever. Not a genius, an untalented musician who pretend be different. Nothing more ... Well, is just my opinion.
@Santiago: Rachmaninoff isn't important (Although is good). You haven't mentioned Liszt, and he is more important than Rachmaninoff.
Monteverdi
Bach
C. P. E. Bach
Haydn
Mozart
Beethoven
Paganini
Chopin
Liszt
Tchaikovsky
Scriabin
Wagner
Stravinsky
Bach
Beethoven
Liszt
Rachmaninoff
Tchaikovsky
Ravel
Debussy
Haydn
Mozart

For my final composer, I'd like to include a neo-classical composer from japan whose orchestral arrangements of his most notable compositions are my greatest inspiration to one day take up the conductors baton: Koji Kondo
Greatest set of modern classical music I know of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwbyU_QuBNs
Beethoven created the scherzo?I thought Haydn did it.
I would add Schubert as important composer, he practically created the romantic art song and influenced a lot the next wave of romantics like Schumann, Brahms etc...
Palestrina
Bach
Haydn
Beethoven
Berlioz
Paganini
Glinka (inventor of truly Russian music.)
Debussy
Stravinsky
Schönberg
anyone who doesn't think that the great great Alexander Scriabin deserves to be on the list of top 10 is just out of their mind biased and ignorant. If you listened to Stravinsky's firebird suite, you'd know it has Scriabin's Poem of ecstasy and Poem of fire harmonies and orchestration written and quoted all over it in different variations. His early works (opus. 46 or before) completes what Chopin did not. His late works got everybody else thinking of music in a much more different manner than music was ever capable of being imagined.

Hell I would even trade Mozart for Scriabin for this top 10 list (sorry this is my own biased and do not be offended)

The other guy who was influential beyond confirmation was Richard Wagner. If you didn't include him in your list of top 10, I'm not sure what I can say to you besides you definitely should believe that John Williams was the most innovative composer because of Star Wars (sarcasm).

Scriabin wasn't just innovative. All his music were clearly written with no mistakes. Every single notes count, you play 1 wrong or leave 1 note out you'd find that the piece doens't make as much sense anymore. His form was extremely clear and there's an abstract story telling that just makes perfect sense in his music, and when you actually feel his music, his music will melt your soul to its core. His work of music was nothing but perfection. The conductor that premiered his symphony no. 2 even called that symphony the new musical bible. A conductor who's still living today named Gergiev was witnessed to be smiling like he never did when he was conducting Poem of Ecstasy.

I hope I convinced some of you, it'll also help to listen to a lot of Scriabin's work. Maybe listen to all of it I can guarantee you all the time you spend doing that wouldn't be a waste. But do make sure you take some precautions because once you feel his music, you can't have your normal life back like you had before.

Even if Scriabin was considered to be #1 he'd still be too underrated.

Now fight me.
@Haotian Yu There definiltey are splenty more composers who were influenced by Scriabin. Frank Bridge was one of them. Liadov was an admirer of Scriabin's music.
Absolutely absurd to me that anyone could possibly deny Wagner's influence on the ground that he was an antisemite

Your comment

Only members of a group can post to group discussions, so Join 10 most important composers in history?