Classical Timeline

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    Jean-Philipe Rameau

    Rameau was a French composer and theorist, who tried to establish a rational foundation for harmonic practice. He wrote the "Treatise on Harmony" in 1722, which began the ideas of modern music theory.
  • Enlightenment Begins

    Enlightenment Begins
    The Enlightenment was a time of discovery, new information, and new ideas. Enlightenment thinkers were focused on societal progression, reasoning, and scientific method. It was centered around the idea of overall human happiness and creating a utopic society.
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    Pietro Metastasio

    Was a court poet in Vienna; Primary and incredibly famous librettist for opera seria in the late Baroque and Classical Eras. He set the standard opera style in 1750.
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    Frederick the Great

    Frederick the Great (Frederick II) reigned over Prussia from 1740 to 1786, when he died. In his youth. he was defiant toward his father who didn't like that he was disinterested in war and more occupied by artistic pursuits. He attempted to run away at 13 with his friend Hanns Hermann, who was 8 years older. He was caught at the border and his father forced him to watch his friend be beheaded. He devoted his rule to supporting the arts and music.
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    Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    C.P.E. Bach was the eldest son of J.S. Bach and was the primary composer of Empfindsamkeit. He worked in Berlin for Frederick the Great (Frederick II) of Prussia, as the chamber harpsichordist. He wrote a keyboard treatise, (translated to English) Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard, which stated that music's aims were to touch the heart and move the emotions.
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    Christoph Wilibald Gluck

    Lyric dramatic opera
    Bohemian-Austrian Composer
    He brought upon operatic reform in Italian opera seria
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    Charles Burney

    Burney was an organist, amateur composer, writer, and music scholar. He wrote many books about history of different places, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. He also wrote "A General History of Music" (1776-1789).
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    Classical Music Style

    The Classical era was very different from the Baroque sound. It was more consonant with singable melodies, symmetry in the phrasing, simpler harmonic rhythms and relationships with easy accompaniment. While the Baroque tended to be more complicated with chromaticism and polyphony, the classical era was much more even, melodic, homophonic, and favored tonic to dominant movement. There was much more restraint, emotionally and theoretically, compared to the ornamentation of the Baroque era.
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    The Rococo Style

    Rococo is a dramatic, ornamental style of French decoration, music, and art. It was in contrast to the classical style; where classical was more natural, Rococo was over the top.
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    Changes to Form

    In classical music, the melodic ideas are used as themes and the melodies are consisted of motifs. The themes are expanded upon by changing the melody, rhythm, or harmony, focusing on thematic development. The minuet (later replaced by scherzo) was a popular dance, subgenere, and form. Rondo, rounded binary, scherzo, and cyclical structure were popular in the time.Symphony, string quartet, concerto, and sonata were popular multi-movement pieces in the Enlightenment
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    Changes in Musical Culture

    In this time, more people began gaining access to music in different capacities. Some more amateur musicians would write treatises in order to express their musical beliefs and opinions. Music was centered around the courts and concert life in America focused on European works and composers. Middle and upper-class amateurs composed for the enjoyment of the players. Noble courts had musicians at parties, ceremonies, and dinners, while dance music became available for all societal levels.
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    Solo Concerto

    Solo Concertos were the only ones that remained in the Classical era. They often featured piano, flute, violin, and cello. They typically have three movements. The first movement has a fast tempo, but is the longest and most complex. It combined elements from Baroque ritornello form and newer sonata form:
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    Replaced a minuet in a multi-movement work. It was similar to minuet, but usually faster and more vigorous. Scherzo translates to joke or jest in Italian. It was the same form as a minuet: A B A; A being the scherzo and B being a trio.
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    Cyclical Structure

    A multi-movement work is cyclical when a theme comes from an earlier movement, usually the first, and reappears in later movements. The thematic repetition acts as a unifying thread.
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    Theme and Variations Form

    This form was popular in the 18th century. Sometimes composers would use well known themes, but other times they may compose new pieces. In this form, a theme is presented and then a series of variations on that theme. The instruments take turns with the main themes. The first theme is first violin, then the variations can be second violin, cello, viola, and first violin.
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    Music in Europe

    In the 18th century, art music became extremely important in Europe. Additionally, church music was functional sacred music. Choral music was produced for masses, vespers, magnificats, requiems motets, and oratorios. These pieces could be performed in the church or the concert hall.
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    Classical Era Changes in Opera

    Comedic opera or drama giocoso became important in the In the early 1700's, many Italian operas were produced in England. Eventually, the English preferred Ballad operas, such as John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera". In Germany, people preferred lighter comic operas called Singspiel. It had spoken German dialogue, instead of recitative dialogue. In France, the people enjoyed both serious and comic operas, such as grand opéra, opéra comique, and opérette.
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    Franz Joseph Haydn

    Haydn was credited with being important to the instrumentation of the new classical style. He was homeless for a few years after being kicked out of St. Stephen's Cathedral, until he was hired by the wealthy Esterhazy family. He composed many pieces, but his music was property of the court, until the 1780s when he became popular abroad. He ended up with a large orchestra and his music was extremely popular in London. He retired to Vienna and had his final public moment in 1808 in Vienna.
  • Symphonic Form Invented

    Symphonic Form Invented
    Invented by Giovanni Battista Sammartini In Milan, Italy. Originally, symphonies contained 3 movements, but a fourth movement was added in Germany in the 1740's. The first movement was a sonata. It was one of the new genres to emerge in the Classic Era.
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    Empfindsamkeit was a new, transitional style that desired to be simple and natural. The eldest son of J.S. Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, was the primary composer of this style. This was a reaction against the strict style of counterpoint.
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    Giovanni Paisiello

    Italian composer, Paisiello spent time in Naples, St. Petersburg, and Paris. He wrote 94 operas. In 1816, he was offended when Rossini set the story, "The Barber of Seville" because Paisiello has set it back in 1776. He sent his groupies to go boo and hiss at Rossini's premiere. He died three months later.
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    William Billings

    One of the first American composers.
    He trained as a tanner to support his family, but taught himself to compose music. His first publication was "The New-England Psalm-Singer" (1770).
  • String Quartet

    String Quartet
    Invented by Franz Xaver Richter, string quartets were one of the most important chamber genres in the golden age of chamber music. It was considered a prestigious chamber music genre and appealed to aristocrats. There were four movements, like in symphonies, but there was no conductor. The group consisted of two violins, a viola, and a cello. In string quartet, all voices are considered equal This style was made popular by Haydn.
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    Antonio Salieri

    One of the most successful court composer in Vienna. Was very popular and talented. He composed many operas in Italian, German, and French.
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    Maria Anna Mozart (Nannerl)

    Mozart's older sister, described as equal to Wolfgang in talent and skill. In her youth she toured with him and when she was twelve, her father/teacher said she was one of the most skillful players in Europe. Her playing was incredibly precise and beautiful. She retired to raise a family.
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    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Mozart was a child prodigy and was taken on tour by his teacher and father, Leopold Mozart. He was a piano virtuoso, also playing violin and dancing. He performed in many different countries and for many different aristocratic families and courts. worked for many years in Salzburg on Colloredo's court and in Vienna as a teacher and musician. He is known for his lyrical, melodic lines, colorful orchestration, and his flair for the dramatic. He died from complications of a strep infection.
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    Maria Theresa von Paradis

    Blind composer, pianist, and organist. Renowned for her remarkable musical memory, as she could remember 60 concertos at a time. She composed two concertos, a piano trio, songs, cantatas, chamber music, and operas, but most of her music was lost. Piano Concerto in B flat, K. 456 (1784) by Mozart and Organ Concerto in C (1773) by Salieri were both written in her honor.
  • Opera Buffa

    Opera Buffa
    Opera Buffa was introduced primarily in Italy in the 1760's when operas began using more realistic characters and serious topics. The liberetto was the written story that the composer would then set to music. Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838) wrote the libretti for the following comic operas. Mozart wrote three famous Opera Buffa: Le nozze di Figaro (1786), Cosi Fan Tutte (1790), and Don Giovanni (1787). It introduced moral issues and conflict into operas.
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    Industrial Revolution

    The Industrial Revolution made mass production possible beginning in the 1760's. This meant there were significant advances in sciences, architecture, and art in this time.
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    Sonata Form

    Very widely used for chamber and symphonic pieces. Popular with Mozart; Referred to as "First Movement Form" in the 1800's because of it's use in the first movement of symphonies. The form contained the first theme, transitional material, the second theme, and the closing theme. It could modulate to any key, but must lead back to the tonic key. The piece can use any themes, new or old.
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    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He wrote symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, and many other works. He's known for his deafness, which allegedly developed as a result of lead poisoning. It Is understood that he had fluctuating, progressive hearing loss, which made it harder to hear higher pitched tones. He had many famous works such as the Moonlight Sonata, Christ on the Mount of Olives, and was famous for his symphonies.
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    The American Revolution

    The American Revolution was a war fought between America and Great Britain in order to gain independence from British rule. It profoundly affected political systems and social order at the time.
  • First Patented Version of the Piano

    First Patented Version of the Piano
    Many consider the pianoforte by Bartolomeo Cristofori, but the first patented version of the piano was in London in 1777. It was difficult for them to create a hammer that would return rapidly to allow for quickly repeated notes. The key coloring was swapped and the piano has less octaves than a modern piano.
  • Italian Opera Company Revived

    Italian Opera Company Revived
    The Italian opera company was revived in 1783 after their financial collapse in 1777.
  • Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453

    Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453
    Composed by Mozart, this piano concerto had three movements: Allegro, Adante-Allegretto, and Presto. It is a clear indication of sonata principles within the ritornello structure. There was complaints that his music was too busy with too many themes, but we would perceive it to be melodically complex and thick, today.
  • Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)

    Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)
    Composed by Mozart and libretti written by Da Ponte; considered Mozart's first mature opera.
    Dramma giocoso in four acts, based on a play that had been banned in France because the it made the aristocracy look stupid and immoral. It was successful, but only received nine performances in the Burgtheater in Vienna.
  • Don Giovanni

    Don Giovanni
    Composed by Mozart; Was considered the best opera ever composed by composers Wagner, Rossini, and Gounod.
    Mozart gives the characters more depth with no slapstick comedy, and intensified social tensions between the classes. The music is characterized for each character and moral issues are introduced into these operas.
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    The French Revolution

    The French Revolution was a time of political and civil unrest in France. King Louis XVI wanted more money, but had failed to raise more taxes when he had called a meeting of the Estates General. This instead turned into a protest about conditions in France. It sought to change the relationship between the rulers and those they governed by redefining the nature of political power.
  • Mozart's Requiem

    Mozart's Requiem
    A requiem is a Latin text used for a mass service for someone who has died. Mozart was paid 100 ducats to write a Requiem Mass for the wife of Count Franz Walsegg-Stuppach, who died on February 14, 1791, before she was 21. On the day Mozart died, he had several singers sing portions of it as he sang the alto part. Ay "Lacrimosa" the incomplete section, he put the music aside and wept. He died later that night. It was completed after his death by Franz Xaver Süssmayr (1766-1803)
  • Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military)

    Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military)
    Composed by Haydn while he was in Vienna in 1794. It was one of the London (Salomon) Symphonies. The piece used trumpet fanfares and various Turkish military percussion instruments, such as triangle, cymbals, bass drum, bell tree, and riq. In the 1780's and 90's, Turkish/Janissary style became extremely popular in Europe, including art, fashion, food, and culture.
  • Anton Weidinger's Trumpet

    Anton Weidinger's Trumpet
    In the 1780's and 90's, the trumpet still had no valves, but Weirdinger developed an experimental trumpet with keys. It had similar keys to woodwind instruments with a full range of notes with chromatic and diatonic pitches. It was shortly replaced by the valved trumpet in 1801. Weidinger performed Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major (1796).
  • World's First Vaccine

    World's First Vaccine
    Edward Jenner, British scientist and physician, invented the smallpox vaccine. It was the first vaccine ever developed.