Modern and contemporary 20th century (1900 – 2000)
Contemporary (1975 – present)
From Classical to Romantic
The term 'classical music' did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to 'canonize' the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1836.
The instrumentation in orchestras grew in the classical period as composers became more comfortable with the writing of symphonies. Where a Baroque orchestra may have had 25-40 players, the classical orchestra grew to number about 60 performers, and the orchestras of the Romantic period mushroomed to twice that, plus even a choir or two; as in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony .
Form and technical execution
Classical composers often aspired to imbue their music with a very complex relationship between its emotional content and the intellectual means by which it was achieved. Many of the most esteemed works of classical music make use of musical development, the process by which a musical germ, idea or motif is repeated in different contexts or in altered form.
Along with the desire to attain high technical achievement in writing their music, performers of classical music were faced with similar goals of technical mastery, as demonstrated by the proportionately high amount of schooling and private study most successful classical musicians have had when compared to "popular" genre musicians, and the large number of secondary schools, including the conservatories, dedicated to the study of classical music. The only other genre in the Western world with comparable secondary education opportunities is jazz.
Performance of classical music repertoire often demanded a significant level of technical mastery on the part of the musician; proficiency in sight-reading and ensemble playing, thorough understanding of tonal and harmonic principles, knowledge of performance practice and a familiarity with the style/musical idiom inherent to a given period, composer or musical work were among the most essential of skills for the competent, classically-trained musician. Works of classical repertoire often exhibited artistic complexity through the use of thematic development, phrasing, harmonization, modulation (change of key), texture, and, of course, musical form itself. Larger-scale compositional forms (such as that of the symphony, concerto, opera or oratorio, for example) usually represented a hierarchy of smaller units consisting of phrases, periods, sections, and movements.
Niccolò Paganini (October 27, 1782 – May 27, 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. http://www.karadar.com/Jpg/Paganini_image_01.jpg
As composers explored instrumentation, orchestras grew in numbers and became "limitless" in the Romantic Period.
The Classical Period was the beginning of extensive music education for musicians. This was continued and expanded in the Romantic Period because of greater demands for mastery of instruments.
The Classical Period focused more on complexity in form and technical demands on the performer. This was carried forward into the Romantic Period, but with a twist.
In the Romantic Period, many compositions were inspired by emotion and had a "descriptive theme", in addition to a musical theme, and this became the norm.
Romantic Music is a musicological term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in European music history, from about 1820 to 1900.
Romantic music as a movement does not refer to the expression and expansion of musical ideas established in earlier periods, such as the classical period. Romanticism does not necessarily apply to romantic love, but that theme was prevalent in many works composed during this time period. More appropriately, romanticism describes the expansion of formal structures within a composition, making the pieces more passionate and expressive. Because of the expansion of form (those elements pertaining to form, key, instrumentation and the likes) within a typical composition, it became easier to identify an artist based on the work. For example, Beethoven favored a smooth transition from the 3rd to 4th movement in his symphonies, and thus his pieces are more distinguishable. Overall, composers during this time expanded on formal ideas in a new and exciting way.
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. http://emilyalarsen.blogspot.com/2008_02_01_archive.html Liberty Leading the People (1830), Louvre MuseumParis
Romantic Music Increased Emotional Expression
Romantic music is related to romanticism in literature, visual arts, and philosophy, though the conventional time periods used in musicology are very different from their counterparts in the other arts, which define "romantic" as running from the 1780s to the 1840s. The Romantic Movement held that not all truth could be deduced from axioms, that there were inescapable realities in the world which could only be reached through emotion, feeling and intuition. Romantic music struggled to increase emotional expression and power to describe these deeper truths, while preserving or even extending the formal structures from the classical period.
http://www.partenia.org/images/200702/SacreCoeur5.jpg Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, as seen from the base of the butte Montmartre. In 1873 the city council of Paris voted a law of public utility to seize land at the summit of Montmartre for the construction of the basilica.
The main characteristics of Romantic Music
A freedom in form and design; a more intense personal expression of emotion in which fantasy, imagination and a quest for adventure play an important part. (R. Strauss)
Emphasis on lyrical, songlike melodies; adventurous modulation; richer harmonies, often chromatic, with striking use of discords. (Mendelssohn)
Denser, weightier textures with bold dramatic contrasts, exploring a wider range of pitch, dynamics and tone-colors. (Liszt, Wagner, Mahler)
Expansion of the orchestra, sometimes to gigantic proportions; the invention of the valve system leads to development of the brass section whose weight and power often dominate the texture. (Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler)
Rich variety of types of piece, ranging from songs and fairly short piano pieces to huge musical canvasses with lengthy time-span structures with spectacular, dramatic, and dynamic climaxes. (Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Brahms)
Closer links with other arts lead to a keener interest in program music (program symphony, symphonic poem, concert overture).
Shape and unity brought to lengthy works by use of recurring themes (sometimes transformed/developed): idée fixe (Berlioz), thematic transformations (Liszt), leading-motive (Wagner), motto theme.
Greater technical virtuosity – especially from pianists and violinists.
Nationalism: reaction against German influences by composers of other countries (especially Russia, Bohemia, and Norway).
How Beethoven Influenced the Growth of the Orchestra
The so-called "standard complement" of double winds and brass in the orchestra from the first half of the 19th century is generally attributed to the forces called for by Beethoven. The exceptions to this are his Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto, and Piano Concerto No. 4, which each specify a single flute. The composer's instrumentation almost always included paired flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets. Beethoven carefully calculated the expansion of this particular timbral “palette” in Symphonies 3, 5, 6, and 9 for an innovative effect. The third horn in the "Eroica" Symphony arrives to provide not only some harmonic flexibility, but also the effect of "choral" brass in the Trio. Piccolo, contrabassoon, and trombones add to the triumphal finale of his Symphony No. 5. A piccolo and a pair of trombones help deliver storm and sunshine in the Sixth. The Ninth asks for a second pair of horns, for reasons similar to the Eroica (four horns has since become standard); Beethoven's use of piccolo, contrabassoon, trombones, and unpitched percussion – plus chorus and vocal soloists – in his finale, are his earliest suggestion that the timbral boundaries of "symphony" might be expanded for good. But for several decades after his departure, symphonic instrumentation was faithful to Beethoven's well-established model, with few exceptions.
Apart from the core orchestral complement, various other instruments are called for occasionally. These include the classical guitar, heckelphone, flugelhorn, cornet, harpsichord, and organ. Saxophones, for example, appear in a limited range of 19th and 20th century scores. While appearing only as featured solo instruments in some works, for example Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, the saxophone is included in other works, such as Ravel's Bolero and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, as a member of the orchestral ensemble. The euphonium is featured in a few late Romantic and 20th century works, usually playing parts marked "tenor tuba", including Holst's The Planets , and Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben . Cornets appear in Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake , Debussy's La Mer , and several orchestral works by Hector Berlioz. Unless these instruments are played by members doubling on another instrument, (for example, a trombone player changing to euphonium for a certain passage) orchestras will use freelance musicians to augment their regular rosters.
With this history in mind, the orchestra can be seen to have a general evolution as outlined below. The first is a classical orchestra (i.e. Beethoven/Haydn), the second an early romantic (i.e. Brahms/Tchaikovsky), late romantic (i.e. Wagner/Mahler/Strauss), modern (i.e. Stravinsky to present day).
Ophicleide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ophicleide_001.jpg http://www.wcwband.co.uk/Robb_Stewart_Monstre_E-flats.jpg The Ophicleide And The Serpent (background) Were often found In orchestras Of the Romantic Era.
The Ophicleide is reported to have been invented in 1817 and patented in 1821 by French instrument maker Jean Hilaire Asté (also known as Halary or Haleri). It was the structural cornerstone of the brass section of the Romantic orchestra, replacing the serpent, a Renaissance instrument which was thought to be outdated. It is played with a cupped mouthpiece similar to brass instruments and originally had nine keys, later expanded to as many as twelve keys, covering the large tone holes.
It was first scored for in the opera Olimpie by Gaspare Spontini in 1819. Other famous works which use the ophicleide are Felix Mendelssohn's Elias and Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique , though originally scored to include both an ophicleide and a serpent. Verdi and Wagner also composed for the ophicleide.
The Development of the Heckelphone
In the absence of alternative records we are dependent on the descriptive accounts left by Wilhelm Heckel (1856-1909) who recalls a meeting with Richard Wagner (1813-1883) in 1879: "In 1879 I was called to Bayreuth to settle this question [ ... I and with improvements to the double bassoon now completed - [ ... I - he told me that this issue had now been solved but that a tonal factor was still absent in the family of double reed instruments, sounding an octave lower than the oboe; such an instrument would have to combine the character of the oboe with the mellow yet powerful tone of the Alpine horn [ ... .] - The barytone oboe now known to exist for quite some time and occasionally referred to as the bass or basset oboe, has never succeeded in really becoming accepted although pitched one octave lower than the oboe. This is because it represents nothing more than the timbre of an English horn [cor anglais] extended downwards in pitch and as such produces only a thin, imperceptible tone incapable of standing out much at all in the orchestra. Naturally it would probably not serve as a basis for a new design; instead a completely new type of instrument was needed. Together with my two sons, Wilhelm and August, I set about working out most suitable calculations for the construction of such an instrument and built the prototype. This instrument which has already encountered enthusiasm on the part of maestro Richard Wagner has now emerged in the form of the 'Heckelphone'."
What do you get when you cross a bassoon with an oboe? the Heckelphone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckelphone
Symphony or Philharmonic?
A full size orchestra (about 100 players) may sometimes be called a " symphony orchestra " or " philharmonic orchestra "; these prefixes do not necessarily indicate any strict difference in either the instrumental constitution or role of the orchestra, but can be useful to distinguish different ensembles based in the same city (for instance, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra ).
Instrumentation of the Classical Orchestra
2 Clarinets in B-flat, A
2 or 4 Horns (in any key)
2 Trumpets (in any key)
8 Violins I
8 Violins II
3 Double basses
Instrumentation of the Early Romantic Orchestra
2 Clarinets in B-flat, A
4 Horns in F
2 Trumpets in F
(2 Cornets in B-flat)
14 Violins I
12 Violins II
6 Double Basses
Instrumentation of the Late Romantic Orchestra
Clarinet in E-flat
4 Clarinets in B-flat, A
8 Horns in F
5 Trumpets in C, B-flat, F
4 Trombones (3 Tenor, Bass)
16 Violins I
16 Violins II
10 Double Basses
THE GLOCKENSPIEL or BELL LYRE
The brilliant, vibrant singing bell-tone of the glockenspiel has become a prominent feature of countless bands in recent years, accenting their melodies and adding a totally new tone quality to the traditional brass and wood wind instruments.
It does not require very much knowledge of music to play the glockenspiel. What you do need is accurate coordination of hand and eye, so you will be sure to hit the right notes, for the tone of the instrument carries far and wide.
The glockenspiel has twenty-five tone bars. These are shown in Fig. 114 (See next page), together with the corresponding written notes.
Glockenspiel Also called orchestra bells, the glockenspiel resembles a small xylophone, but it is made of steel bars. The glockenspiel is typically played with wooden or plastic mallets, producing a high tuned sound that is bright and penetrating. The name glockenspiel comes from the German language and means "to play the bells."