The Romantic Period

Topics: Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Piano, Orchestra, Franz Liszt, Music / Pages: 4 (815 words) / Published: Sep 8th, 2013
Romantic music is a term describing a style of Western classical music that happened roughly from 1810 to 1900. It formed part of Romanticism, the artistic and literary movement that emerged in the second half of the 18th century in Europe. Romanticism doesn’t necessarily refer to romantic love, though the theme was common in many pieces composed during this time period, in literature, painting and music.
Romanticism followed a path which led to the expansion of formal structures for a composition, and the end result is that the pieces are ‘understood’ to be more passionate and expressive, both by 19th century and today's audiences. Because of the expansion of form within a typical composition, and the growing characteristic and expressiveness of the new composers from the new century, it thus became easier to identify an artist based on his work or style.
Unlike Classical composers, Romantic composers aimed for a powerful expression of emotion, often revealing their deepest thoughts and feelings. Romantic music is not just about the emotion of love, it can also be about hate or death.
Romantic music attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe ‘deeper truths’ or ‘human feelings’, while keeping (but in a lot cases extending) the formal structures from the classical period, in others, creating new forms that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. The subject matter in the new music was now not only purely abstract, but frequently drawn from other art-form sources such as literature, or history (historical figures) or nature itself.
As Romantic composers widened the range of their musical material, we find richer harmonies, more passionate melodies, and greater use of chromaticism. There was an enormous increase in the size of the orchestra. The tuba was added to the brass section, valves were invented, giving the brass more flexibility. Composers wrote for woodwind instruments in threes of even fours. The piccolo, cor anglais,

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