Classical vs Romantic Essay

Published: 2019-12-29 21:11:26
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Category: Music

Type of paper: Essay

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The classical period in music spans from 1750 to 1820, a period of musical change after the Baroque and Rococo periods and its eventual transition to the Romantic period. This era in music produced most of the well known composers, prominent of which were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn, among others.

            The shift from the Baroque and Rococo musical styles also coincided with the formation of classicism, an artistic movement that also involved painting, literature, and architecture. The Baroque era of music mainly utilized polyphonic harmony in composition a style which involves two main themes or melodies, which creates an elaborate hearing experience because of many different instruments playing unique themes. An example of which is Johann Sebastian Bachs The Well-Tempered Clavier which is a collection of piano pieces specifically arranged for the piano, utilizing every major and minor chords. The contrapuntal polyphony of these pieces have two different melodies for the left and right hands, creating harmony at the same time.

On one hand, the classical movement utilizes a homophonic a style that is above chord accompaniment and emphasizes on melody, tone, form, and balance. Melodies are more refined, elegant, and expressive, utilizing dynamics (pianissimo, mezzo forte, etc.) along with a balanced formal structure. The classical period also developed the sonata, symphony, concertos, serenades, among other instrumental music during that time.

The Romantic period on the other hand, is a movement that expands the form of classical composition that enhances expressiveness and appeals to the emotive aspect of the listener. Although identified as a Romantic period, the era does not emphasize on romantic love per se, but it is used as a prevalent theme in composition. There is little difference between the classical and romantic periods because both utilize the same structure in composition, but only vary with the use of themes. In terms of expression, the romantic period is much more expressive compared to classical pieces.

            Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, prominent classical masters, produced music for both eras, with their works employing a smooth transition of change regarding themes and melodies into the Romantic period. Schuberts violin compositions are generally associated with the Romantic era while Beethoven mastered the use of chromatic and homophonic harmonies to stress fiery and elegant themes in most of his works.

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