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Composers You Should Know: Home

Lists, facts, dates, links, and more, organized by time period


While this guide was made primarily for Music History and Composition students, everyone can benefit from learning about at least a few representative composers from different time periods and countries.

The top boxes are composers that EVERYONE should know. The lower boxes are composers that music students, especially in Composition and Music History, should be familiar with.

Music Streaming

Famous Composers

Famous Composers

Time Periods

The various time periods of music history are not clearly defined and there is considerable overlap during every transitional time.

The time periods used in this guide are as follows:

Medieval: 500 - 1430

Renaissance: 1430 - 1600

Baroque: 1600 - 1750

Classical: 1750 - 1820

Romantic: 1820 - 1900

Twentieth Century: 1900 - 1975

Contemporary Classical: 1975 -

These time periods reflect when the various composers were active, not their specific birth years.

Tips for Using This Guide

  • When accessing research databases off campus (such as Naxos Music Library), you will be asked to authenticate with your name and YSU ID#.
  • CDs and DVDs are arranged in order by CD/DVD number on the 3rd floor of the library. Bring the case to the Circulation Desk on the main floor and they will provide you with the CD/DVD to check out.
  • Links:
    • Composer names are linked to their Wikipedia articles.
    • ML410 call numbers are linked to the YSU library catalog if the library owns any books about them or their music.
    • CDs and Scores are links to current searches of the YSU library catalog if we own them.
    • Representative pieces are linked to Naxos Music Library when possible. When no recording is available in Naxos, these links go to YouTube.
  • When in Naxos Music Library, you can click the name of a composer to bring up a list of all their works available in Naxos:

Composer Name in Naxos