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History of Music -
Guide to Musical Genre

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Oratorio
An oratorio is a piece of music for orchestra, choir and solo singers. It usually tells a story from the Old
Testament (Bible). An oratorio may be about two hours long: a whole concert. It is similar to opera, but
whereas an opera is acted out in costume on…

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The word "symphony" comes from the Greek words "sym" (together) and "phone" (sound).

"Symphonic" means "like a symphony". It is often used to describe music which is quite long and develops
tunes over a long period.

A large orchestra is often called a "symphony orchestra". This is to distinguish it…

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By the time Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was growing up string quartets treated each of the four
instruments as important. Beethoven wrote 16 string quartets. The middle ones became particularly
famous and later composers took ideas from them, for example the slow introductions, and the idea of
having a fast…

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after the slow movement. The first movement would be in sonata form. The most important composers of
sonatas at this time were Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

Many composers in the Romantic period wrote sonatas, for example: Brahms wrote piano sonatas as well
as sonatas for violin and piano, cello and…

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thought that it was very immoral and wrote angry letters to the newspapers saying that it was the end of
civilised society. However, the waltz continued to be popular, and many dance halls were opened where
people could waltz.

Minuet
A minuet is a dance which was popular in the…

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