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The Classical period 1750 1820
What is classical music?
From 1750, artists, musicians, and architects wanted to get away from the opulence of the Baroque
period and move to emulate the clean, organized style of Classical Greece. This period is called
"classical" because of that desire to recreate the works of the ancient Greek Classical art.
What does classical music sound like?
Classical music started to have more contrast of mood often with lots of drama in the music;
whereas Baroque music would have a continuation of mood within the same movement. To do
this, there was a bigger variety of dynamics, melodies, key changed, and rhythm.
Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and is less complicated. It is mainly
homophonic- melody above chord accompaniment (but some polyphony was still used, mostly in
the later part of the period.)
Some Classical Composers:
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Austrian
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Austrian
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) German
Franz Schubert (1797-1823) Austrian
Christoph Willibald Gluck
The 1st Viennese School:
The 1st Viennese School is the name give to the 4 composers- Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and
Schubert. This is because they all worked and studied in Vienna at sometime in the musical careers.
Musical characteristics of Classical Music:
Great attention to and development of Musical form
More use of dynamics
Use of key changes inside movements
Inclusion of more percussion instruments in the orchestra
First use of the Piano
Music was tonal
Simple accompaniment using broken chords called an "Alberti bass".
Classical genres: oratorio, opera, symphony, string quartet, concerto
Composers started their work with a tune (theme) and this tune would be developed in different
ways: put in different keys, changed from a fast to a slow tune, changed from major to minor or
from minor to major.
The majority of classical music is homophonic in which there is a single melody with chord
accompaniment inside the piece of music.
The development of music form is very important in the
classical period. Composers thought it was more important to
write their musical within these musical forms and stay within
them. Some musical forms are: Binary AB/ Ternary ABA'/
Rondo ABACAD.... / Sonata Form-Exposition A, Development
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B, Recapitulation A.
The symphony form: A piece of music for large orchestra- usually 25-40 minutes long. Usually
contains four movements which contrast each other. In a four movement symphony the order
Opening theme- 1st movement (sonata form), slower 2nd movement, 3rd movement usually a dance
3/4 time, 4th movement is fast.
A (minuet1), B (minuet2) (trio-development), A (minuet1) repeated
This "ABA" structure is called a ternary or three-part form. Each of these
parts breaks down into its own ternary section.…read more
Here's a taster:
Drone and Sequencing: A drone is usually used as a melodic device, shown below often used in classical
Alberti bass: Alberti Bass is a kind of bass line that was developed in the Classical Music period and also
used in the Romantic period.
It was named after Domenico Albert (1710- 1740), who used it a lot, although he was not the first to use it.…read more