Classical Music

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The classical music period coincided with a revolution in thought called the age of enlightenment, which focused on the search for intellectual freedom. Unlike the preceding Baroque music which emphasized textural intricacy, classical music is characterized by it's near obsession with structural balance and clarity, however many other elements were integral to forming the musical foundations for the Classical period. The music of this era began with a pre-classical, somewhat transitional music style called Rococo which was a reaction to the rigidity and seriousness of Baroque music. Rococo style occurred around 1720. This music with its refined ornamentation is usually seen as connected to the movement in art and the worship of Greek or Athenian culture. The style can be summarized as charmingly melodic, graceful and pretty. It was the beginning of music that was designed specifically to be entertaining. Polyphonic texture was replaced by simple homophony and repetition of short phrases became the characteristic of the style which was also known as gallant. Homophony (music in which melody and accompaniment are distinct) dominated the Classical style, and new forms of composition were developed to accommodate the transformation. Sonata form is by far the most important of these forms, and one that continued to evolve throughout the Classical period. Although Baroque composers also wrote pieces called sonatas, the Classical sonata was different, it had four sections; the introduction, the development, the exposition and the coda. The texture of a composition could often change during a piece to a more complex polyphonic texture but most composers chose always to at least start with a homophonic texture to maintain the pieces tunefulness. Classical composers tended to be liberal when it came to rhythmic patterns, unlike baroque music in which a few patterns are repeated creating perpetual motion, classical compositions can feature many changing patterns. As well...
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