Presented by: Kevin Abad, Max Lee, George Ingram
Presented to: Ma’am Chesyl Momin
Date: February 9, 2012
The Classical Era spanned roughly 80 years in music history and gave us 3 of the most famous composers of all time: Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. The classical era spans roughly 80 years in music history during the 18th and 19th centuries and is often associated with the movement called the Age of Reason. It is defined by a return to symmetry and simplicity not only in music, but also in architecture and fine art. The excavation of Pompeii began in 1748, and the visible remains which were drawn and engraved became a template for the aesthetics of the time. The best known composers from the Classical period are Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. Time Period
Most musicologists mark the death of J.S. Bach in 1750 as the end of the Baroque era and the dawn of the Classical era. There are fewer consensuses on when it ended: some consider the death of Beethoven in 1827 to be the boundary line whilst others cite 1800 as the beginning of the Romantic era. The Oxford Companion to Music marks the end of the Classical era as "sometime between 1800 and 1830". Few disagree that there was an overlapping of classical and romantic ideals by the early 19th century. Style
The style of music from the Classical Era is predominantly homophonic, consisting of a single melody line with accompaniment as opposed to the polyphonic style of the Baroque Era which weaves together a number of melodic lines. Composers of the Classical Era rejected the elaborate styles of the Baroque Era, which they considered self-indulgent and vulgar. They simplified harmonic structures, shortened musical phrases and applied symmetry that was often lacking in the music of their predecessors. The Classical Era also saw a shift to more instrumental genres, particularly the symphony and the string quartet. Form
Great emphasis was placed on developing musical forms in the Classical era, the most important and overarching being sonata form. Sonata form consists of 3 clearly defined sections: the exposition (and introduction), the development section (a contrasting section in a different but related key) and the recapitulation (a return to the introductory material but remaining in the original key). Sonata form had a direct impact on the development of instrumental music types, particularly the symphony, concerto, sonata and string quartet. All of these types are still used by contemporary composers.
The Classical period produced fewer enduring composers than any other musical period from the 1600s onwards. The Emphasis on form was to have a lasting impact on musical composition but in its infancy it had a rather stifling effect on musical substance and expression. Although there were hundreds of successful and revered composers during that time, only three of them composed music which would truly stand the test of time.
Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and is less complex. It is mainly homophonic — melody above chordal accompaniment (but counterpoint is by no means forgotten, especially later in the period). Variety and contrast within a piece became more pronounced than before. Variety of keys, melodies, rhythms and dynamics (using crescendo, diminuendo and sforzando), along with frequent changes of mood and timbre were more commonplace in the Classical period than they had been in the Baroque. Melodies tended to be shorter than those of Baroque music, with clear-cut phrases and clearly marked cadences. The Orchestra increased in size and range; the harpsichord continuo fell out of use, and the woodwind became a self-contained section. As a solo instrument, the harpsichord was replaced by the piano (or fortepiano). Early piano music was light in texture, often with Alberti bass...
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