Orchestral Landmarks

Different eras of Orchestra and their features.

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  • Created by: Siana Rae
  • Created on: 02-06-10 13:35

Classical 1750 - 1800

  • Small orchestra
  • No harpsichord
  • Main texture - melody and accompaniment
  • 1st violins play main melody
  • Wind instruments fill out harmony
  • 2 or 4 bar phrases
  • Homophonic texture
  • Tonality is major or minor
  • Tempo stays constant
  • Stepped dynamics
  • Simple harmonies
  • Composers: Mozart, Haydn
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Late Classical 1800-1830

  • Bigger orchestra than Classical
  • Brass and strings share same melodies
  • Bigger changes in dynamics
  • Even phrase lengths
  • Added instruments: cymbals, bass drum, triangle etc.
  • Beethoven made contrasting sections of the orchestra - brass playing against the strings
  • 2 timpani
  • Tremolo in strings introduced
  • Sounds exciting and dramatic
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Romantic Period 1830 - 1910

  • Large orchestra
  • Conductor brought in
  • Richer, fuller musical textures than earlier eras, often with doubling of harmony parts
  • Greater technical virtuosity, especially piano
  • Expanded orchestra includes more horns, trombones, tuba
  • Added instruments like Celeste, harp, piccolo and cor anglais
  • Greater use of chromaticism and richer harmonies including dissonance
  • A broader range of pieces, from short songs ad salon music to Wagner's music dramas
  • Massive range of dynamics, expression markings, tempo changes, changes in texture
  • Sounds very emotional
  • Developed new structures (below):
  • Concert overture - a one movement piece in sonata form
  • Program symphony - a work with several movements based on a story
  • Symphonic poem - a large one movement piece often using a theme
  • Incidental music - played between the acts of a play
  • Composers: Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Berlioz
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20th Century Orchestra - 1910 onwards

  • Huge orchestra
  • Composers started to experiment with different sounds and effects
  • Wind: breathing sounds, clicking keys or rattling valves, glissando, pitch bending
  • Strings: vibrato, tremolo, pizzicato, tapping on the body of the instrument
  • Percussion: Different ways of hitting instruments, Special effect like playing on top of timpani or scraping a coin down the side of a cymbal. Instruments from beyong Europe e.g. bells and gongs
  • Composers interested in new textures and timbres
  • Percussion section expanded
  • Some pieces bi tonal (two parts played at the same time in different keys)
  • Some atonal, no main key
  • Syncopated rhythms
  • Poly rhythms
  • Ostinato
  • Metre changes
  • Composers: Aaron Copeland (Nationalism), John Cage (Aleatoric), Gershwin (Jazz influence)
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these are great thanks!! i'm most worried about doing the pitch and rhythm thing though :L



these are great thanks!! i'm most worried about doing the pitch and rhythm thing though :L

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