History of Classical Music

Instrumental Music

(Classical 2)
Instrumental music was more important than vocal music during the Classical period. More and more instruments were added to the orchestra, including the flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon.

Three instrumental forms were developed: the concerto, the symphony, and the sonata. The concerto of the Baroque period evolved into the popular Classical concerto. The soloist was featured as the rest of the orchestra provided accompaniment. Concertos were written for all the instruments in the classical orchestra.

An outgrowth of the Baroque concerto grosso was the Classical symphony. The word symphony means "sounding together" and it applies to the full orchestra all playing at the same time. Symphonies had three movements (fast-slow-fast), but some added an extra, dance-like movement before the last movement. Franz Joseph Haydn wrote 104 symphonies during his lifetime!

Sonatas were written for one or two instruments. Most sonatas were written for the favorite instrument of the time, the piano.

Previous (Characteristics) Overview of Classical Period Next (Sonata Form)

Sample Works:

MIDI Example Mvmt 1 Allegro con brio from Symphony No. 44 in E minor ("Mourning") by F. J. Haydn
MIDI Example Mvmt 1 "Allegro" from Concerto for Bb Clarinet in Bb major, K.622 by W.A. Mozart


Allegro con brio, MIDI sequence by Paul C. Dickie
    from Classical MIDI Connection
1st mov't "Allegro", MIDI sequence by Bob Fisher
    from Classical MIDI Connection

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