The oldest established genre of music in the modern world, classical music spans numerous genres across multiple centuries. Classical music is deeply rooted within European and Western culture and has played an important role in cultural development. Although classical music can be said to cover almost every form of music written prior to the 20th century, most modern musicians refer to classical music as music written between the Renaissance era and the start of the 20th century. Modern classical music typically refers to music that is written in a classical style, using classical instruments, although like many musical terminologies, they are not set in stone and are often used informally.
The renaissance was an era that was of particular importance to music and it is unlikely that we would have any of the forms of modern music that we do had this period not happened. Many instruments that are still in use today were invented during the Renaissance era, although almost all of them vary greatly for their original iterations. Classical instruments are typically classified into one of four different categories: brass, string, percussion, or woodwind. Brass instruments were traditionally only played by musicians who were members of Guilds, although there are not many historical reference to street performers and whether or not they were guild members. String instruments were considered to be a more universal instrument, particularly as they were typically the least expensive of all types of instruments.
Vocal music also went through a number of changes during the Renaissance period, with vocals becoming increasingly polyphonic, something that until that time was uncommon around the world. Classical music continued to evolve during the Baroque era, and it is during this time that some of the most well-known classical composers, whose works are still frequently played today, began to emerge.