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The following article consists of a short history on musical categorization.
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Historical Music Categorization
Like all forms of art the creation of music has evolved greatly over time. As musical historians look back over the span of human history they attempt to break that evolution up into stages, in the same way Paleontologists and Historians classify other types of change. Of course such a classification system is always going to be somewhat of a simplification, but it does help to pick up on how and why certain changes have occurred in music throughout time. In reality music has evolved in a more gradual manner with a number of smaller revolutionary steps along the way than these categorizations imply. Still, a broad classification is helpful to make sense of the complexity and give labels to different styles and techniques of music. Although not all music historians agree about the dates for different transitions (there is always a degree of overlap), most musicologists are agreed on the overall shape of musical development, breaking the history of music into different periods in different time frames. The breakdown into music periods can concentrate on either specific traditions like Western Classical Music, or music at large.