Classical Era (Late 1730's - 1800/10's)

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    Antonio Vivaldi

    Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian composer and violinist of the Baroque period. He wrote music for operas, solo instruments, and small ensembles, but he is often celebrated for his concerti, in which virtuoso solo passages alternate with passages for the whole orchestra.
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    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period. His contemporaries admired him for his talent as a musician but thought his compositions were old-fashioned.
  • Melody

    Melodies became more grand and gallant in the classical eras. Composers used symmetrical phrases in fanfare, brilliance, singing style, and hunting calls to emote the feel of the music. For the first time listeners were able to figure out the mood of the music just by what the instruments were playing. This ushered in using music as a language.
  • Rhythm

    When it came to rhythm in the Classical era, it was used mostly to support the melodic line and was usually not very complex.
  • Harmony

    Harmonies in the Classical era were very foreseeable and uncomplicated. They were usually pretty slow but became faster in development sections in sonatas.
  • Texture

    If you were a composer who wanted to avoid any trouble or controversy, the textures of your pieces were homophonic. However, if you wanted make a statement regarding serious topics, you would use a polyphonic texture to emote what you were trying to say. This was usually the case for religious and ceremonial topics.
  • Form

    Sonatas, Rondos, and Da Capo arias were very popular forms in the classical era. Ternary forms of arias were for a more modern taste while da capo was usually used to be more serious.
  • Dynamics

    Music in the classical era had slower, more controlled dynamics, such as the use of crescendo, diminuendo, and sforzando, to provide a restrained emotional expression and more graceful transitions.
  • Instruments

    Clarinets were invented during the 18th century, and they were soon added to the orchestra. The most popular solo instrument of the Classical Period was the piano, and the violin was also common.
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    Joseph Haydn

    The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was one of the most important figures in the development of the Classical style of music during the 18th century. He helped establish the forms and styles for the string quartet and symphony.
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    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    An Austrian composer of the Classical period, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is widely recognized as one of the greatest composers of Western music. He is the only composer to write and excel in all of the musical genres of his time. Rumored to have had the ability to play music at age three and to write music at age five, Mozart began his career as a child prodigy.
  • Industrial Revolution

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    Ludwig van Beethoven

    The German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived. He expanded the Classical traditions of Joseph Haydn, one of his teachers, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and experimented with personal expression, a characteristic that influenced the Romantic composers who succeeded him. His life and career were marked by progressive deafness, but that did not prevent him from composing some of his most important works.
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    American Revolution

  • Great Revival In America

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    Frédéric Chopin

    Frédéric Chopin was a Polish French composer and pianist of the Romantic period. He was one of few composers to devote himself to a single instrument, and his sensitive approach to the keyboard allowed him to exploit all the resources of the piano, including innovations in fingering and pedaling.
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    Johannes Brahms

    Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic period, but he was more prominent to the Classical tradition. He wrote in many genres, including symphonies, concerti, chamber music, piano works, and choral compositions, many of which reveal the influence of folk music.