History of Classical Music

The Classical Period

Previous (Baroque) Next (Romantic)
(1750-1820CE)

Subtopics:

  1. Characteristics
  2. Instrumental
  3. Sonata
  4. Classical Symphony
  5. Vocal
  6. Composers

Note about Classical Music

: When we think of "Classical Music," we often are referring to any music played by an orchestra or any opera music. However, when studying music history, the word "Classical" refers to the music written between 1750 and 1820.
The years of the Classical Period saw many changes in the world.  The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars changed the face of Europe.  During the Classical period it became more and more possible for the public to enjoy and participate in leisure activities. Thus, in the music world, the patronage system of the Baroque began to die out and was replaced by the first public concerts where people paid to attend.

Instead of the sudden changes in style and trills of Baroque music, the music of the Classical period tended to be simple, balanced, and non-emotional. Music had straightforward titles like "Symphony No. 1" instead of flowery descriptive titles. Known as absolute music, classical works were written for their own sake, not for dancing or any other special occasion. It was performed in the recital or concert hall.

The most important classical composers were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven.  Vienna was the musical center of Europe, and most serious composers spent part of their lives there.



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