1750-1800 Mozart, Haydn
The Orchestra was small and the tune was normally played in the strings.
The melody has balanced two or four phrases and is elegant and light.
The harmony is mostly diatonic, it is always in major or minor and there are clear cadences.
The rhythm is also clear and the tempo and metre is constant.
The texture is mostly homophonic but sometimes polyphonic.
There were mostly Symphonies which were four movement pieces played by and orchestra and concertos three movement pieces played by a sololist and orchestra. The first movements were in sonata form, the second movement was in ternary or variation form and the third movment was in minuet and trio form.
Late Classical/early romantic
The orchestra got bigger, trombones double bassoons, piccolos and extra strings and horns were added.
There was a dramatic sound and a simgle theme often used throughout.
The harmony was mostly diatonic, it was always in major or minor and there were clear cadences.
There were driving rhythms.
The texture was mostly homophonic but occasionally polyphonic.
1830-1900 Strauss, Chopin, Brahms
Very large orchestra with varied percussion.
Long singable tunes often building to a climax.
Lots of chromatic notes and modulation.
Lots of tempo changes and rubato with some syncopation.
Romantic music describes feelings and is very emotional, eevry instrument got the melody at some point. There are various structures, concert overture which is a one-movement piece in sonata form. A symphonic poem which is a large one-movemnet piece often using a single theme. Program Music music based on a story and incidental music which is played between the acts of a play.
1900-2000 Elgar, Debussey
Any size orchestra, electronic sounds and traditional instruments played in new ways.
Melodies are very varied with wide leaps over dissonant gaps often fragmented.
Often no clear key with lots of dissonance also often bitonality and atonality.
Metre and tempo change often, sometimes polyrhythm and ostinatos.
Huge contrasts in texture.