The Classical Period

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All about the Classical period of music

All about the Classical period of music

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  • 1. The Classical Period 1750-1820
  • 2. Vocal- Opera
    • The Italian opera (serious opera) declined
    • Evolved into a showy and artificial art form
    • Solo singers started to lose their dominance over the opera
    • Choral ensembles were used more
    • The orchestra expanded in size and nature
    • The comedic opera began to develop
  • 3. Religious Music
    • It resembled operatic music
    • Almost all composers of church music also did operas
    • Masses became operatic style pieces of literature
    • Duets and arias even resembled opera
    • The only difference was the text
    • Fugal choruses and continuo basso remained from the Baroque Period
  • 4. Instrumental Music
    • Sonata form is how composers wrote instrumental music
    • Sonata form was written in three or four movements
    • Sonata form was applied to solo sonatas, chamber music, symphonies, and concertos
  • 5. Instrumental- Sonata Form
    • First movement called sonata-allegro
      • Exposition
      • Development
      • Recapitulation
    • Second movement
      • Written in slow tempo
      • In a contrasting key from the rest of the piece
      • More lyrical
  • 6. Instrumental- Sonata Form
    • Third movement- menuetto (could be omitted)
      • Moderately fast tempo
      • In tonic key
      • In ¾ time
      • 3 sections- minuet, trio, and repeat of minuet
    • Fourth movement- finale
      • Lively tempo
      • In tonic key
      • In sonata-allegro form
  • 7. Instrumental- Symphony
    • Developed in the 18 th century
    • Basic form was Italian overture called sinfonia
    • In 3 movements- fast-slow-fast
    • 4 woodwinds in pairs
    • Trumpets, horns, and timpani in pairs
    • String choir
  • 8. Instrumental- Symphony
    • Strings most important sound
    • Themes played by first violins
    • Harmonies played by second violins and violas
    • Cellos and basses doubled
    • Brass instruments played only in tutti passages
  • 9. Instrumental- Concerto
    • Similar to Baroque concerto
    • Followed fast-slow-fast formula
    • Omitted the minuet movement
    • First movement
      • 2 different expositions
      • Development section- musical ideas were developed and expanded
      • Recapitulation- restate theme
      • Cadenza- at end of recapitualtion
  • 10. Instrumental- Concerto
    • Second movement
      • Written in contrasting key
      • Slow tempo
      • More lyrical
    • Third movement
      • Written in rondo form
      • Lively tempo
      • Sometimes a cadenza was added
  • 11. Instrumental- Chamber Music
    • Divertimento
      • Composed for small ensembles and small orchestras
      • 3-10 movements
      • For outdoor and informal performances
    • String Quartet
      • Most popular
      • 4 movements
      • Classical sonata form
  • 12. Instrumental- Chamber Music
    • Other Chamber Music
      • Mixed quartets
      • String and mixed trios
      • String and mixed quintets
    • Keyboard Music
      • Piano and harpsichord sonatas were very important
  • 13. Composers
    • Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)- helped bridge the gap between Classical and Romantic Period
    • Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)- applied classic Greek principles to Italian operatic form
  • 14. Composers
    • Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)- considered the father of the string quartet
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)- regarded as the greatest child prodigy the world has ever known