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Which came first?

So here’s the famous riddle: Which came first, the chicken... or the violin? Or the piano? Or the valved horn?

By the mid-to-late-1500s the members of the modern violin family had been perfected, and by 1600 the Baroque era in music had begun, with an explosion of music for the violin. The piano was invented in 1700 and eventually mass-produced, and by 1775 the Classical era in music was in full swing, with an explosion of music for the piano. The ranges and possibilities for brass instruments were increased enormously in the early 1800s when instrument makers figured out how to add valves to horns and trumpets, and the 19th century, the Romantic era in music, saw composers writing ever-more demanding and sophisticated music for the brass sections of their ever-expanding orchestras.

Did all the new inventions fit new artistic trends… or were they responsible for them? Or both?

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.