History of Classical Music

The Romantic Period

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Brahms at the piano


  1. Characteristics
  2. Romantic Symphony
  3. Tone Poem
  4. Concert Overture
  5. Opera
  6. Lieder
  7. Nationalism
  8. Piano Music
  9. Composers
Music saw many changes during the Romantic period. Composers expanded existing musical forms and developed new forms as a way of expressing themselves. Thus, a huge variety of instrumental and vocal music appeared on the scene.  There were no restrictions on the length of a piece, the number of  movements, or the number of instruments or voices used. The operas of Richard Wagner sometimes last 6 hours.  Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony requires an oversize orchestra, a full choir, and vocal soloists. 

It was during the Romantic period that most of the band instruments came into being as they are today.  The invention and widespread use of valves on brass instruments and new key systems on woodwind instruments made them much easier to play, encouraging composers to write more music for them.

There were many influential composers during the Romantic period. They included Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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