The Classical Era (1730s-1810s)

By kmb180!
  • Period: to


    Jean-Philippe Rameau was a French composer and theorist, that tried to establish a rational foundation for harmonic practice.
  • Period: to


    Anna Maria della Pieta was a Violinist at the Pieta where Vivaldi taught, and she became a teacher.
  • Period: to


    Johann Adolf Hasse was a German Composer of Italian opera. From the 1730s to the 1760s he was the most admired composer of opera seria in Italy and Germany.
  • The Invention of the Piano

  • Period: to


    Baldassare Galuppi was a Galant Italian composer and instrumentalist. He was key in the development of 18th century comic opera.
  • Period: to


    Franz Xaver Richter was a German composer, teacher, singer, and the innovator of the string quartet. He is one of the foremost Mannheim composers.
  • Period: to

    Frederick the Great

    Some of Frederick the Great's accomplishments were military victories, reorganization of Prussian armies, patronage of Prussian Arts. he was a gifted musician and played flute, composed at least 100 sonatas and 4 symphonies, and spoke German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Latin, ancient and modern Greek, and Hebrew.
  • Period: to

    C.P.E. Bach

    C.P.E. Bach worked in Berlin for Frederick the Great who reigned over the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. He is the eldest son of J.S. Bach and he wrote in both Baroque and classical styles.
  • Period: to


    Christoph Willibald Gluck made lyric dramatic opera and brought about operatic reform in Italian opera seria.
  • Period: to


    Dr. Charles Burney was a music historian, author, and organist who traveled Europe and wrote about his observations.
  • Period: to


    Anton Cajetan Adlgasser is a German composer and organist. He is a transitional figure in German music from the Baroque style to the classical style.
  • Musical Traits

    During the Classical Era, the musical traits included; singable melodies, symmetrical phrasing, easier harmonies, simple relationships of V to I, slower harmonic rhythms. and easy accompanimental figures as opposed to the difficult figured bass of the Baroque.
  • Empfindsamkeit

    The style of Empfindsamkeit was simple and expressive of “natural” feeling. Empfindsamkeit is a reaction against the strict and learned style of counterpoint.
  • Form

    Melodic ideas or themes are used as compositional building blocks. Sonata form continued to rule the world of instrumental music. Rondos were extremely popular as well. Ternary forms indicated a modern style while the older da capo aria forms were associated with more serious style. Melodies consist of short melodic or rhythmic fragments: motifs, and themes expanded by varying the melody, rhythm, or harmony through thematic development.
  • Form (cont.)

    Minuet and Trio's overall structure is A B A. A variety of rondo forms existed in the 18th century: all based on the notion of a main refrain (A) that is repeated. Rounded Binary Form: The second section usually ends with a partial return of the first section: ABA’. Scherzo, replaced a minuet in a multi-movement work.
  • Solo Concerto

    Solo concertos were the only ones that remained in the Classical period. The featured instruments were often: piano, flute, violin, and cello.
  • Melody

    Melodies were singable and were created with symmetrical phrasing. Musical gestures of fanfare, brilliance, singing style, hunting calls, etc. emerged and dominated the musical syntax of the era. Music became a language in the 18th century, capable of expressing emotion and characterizations without text.
  • Rhythm

    Rhythms were used as gestures, including those of the dance and fanfare. Rhythms were not complex and seemed to exist to serve the melodic content.
  • Harmony

    Harmonies remained predictable and uncomplicated, compared to harmonies that appear later. The harmonic rhythm was slaw as in Galant music. Development sections in sonata form often used faster harmonic rhythms.
  • Texture

    Homophony was the texture of choice unless a composer wanted to evoke religious, ceremonial, or serious topics. Then counterpoint or some form of polyphony was used for communication and effect.
  • Dynamics

    Dynamics were an integral part of musical expression and compositions in the Classical Era. Often forte and piano contrasts appeared serval times within one measure. Expressive markings were used sparingly, increasing in occurrence as the 19th century approached.
  • Timbre

    The clarinet was added to the orchestral ensemble as a regulars member, changing the sound of the orchestral wind section. Timpani were used conservatively for effects in forte passages. The pianoforte added a new timbre to chamber and orchestral music.
  • Instruments

    A patented version of the piano emerged in England in 1777. From this point on, the piano experienced changes that strengthened and expanded its versatility. By the 1770s and 80s the clarinet was commonly used in orchestral and chamber music giving the composer a new tone color to manipulate.
  • Genres

    Concerto: By the classical period only the solo concerto type remained popular.
    March: in the 18th and 19th centuries, marches were commonly found in operas and ballads.
    String Quartet: A multi-movement chamber work composed for four solo strings.
    Opera Seria: Serious operas continued to flourish alongside with comic operas in the Classical Era.
    Serenade: A sernade was an instrumental work that could either be a large-scale work in orchestra or a smaller chamber work for a smaller group.
  • Period: to

    The Rococo Style

    The Rococo Style derives from the French word, “rocaille” meaning “scroll."
  • Period: to


    Christian Cannabich is a conductor, composer, and violinist in Mannheim.
  • Period: to


    Franz Joseph Haydn was credited as the primary mover within the new classic style concerning instrumental music but he did not invent the style.
  • Period: to


    Johann Schobert simulated orchestra effects in harpsichord writing.
  • Period: to

    J. C. Bach

    J. C. Bach's style used beautiful melodies and bits of chromaticism; he wrote Italian operas, church music, and orchestral works. Bach used contrasting themes in concertos and sonata-form movements.
  • Period: to


    Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf is an Austrian composer and violinist that is a part of the Viennese school.
  • Period: to


    Giovanni Paisiello was a very good Italian composer. He spent time in Naples, St. Petersburg, and Paris, ending his career back in Naples, and he wrote 94 operas!
  • Period: to


    Maddalena Lombardini traveled and performed as a violinist.
    Lombardini was a student of the great violinist Giuseppe Tartini, and
    composed several violin concertos
  • Period: to


    Antonio Salieri composed his only organ concerto in Paradis' honor (Organ Concerto in C, 1773).
  • Period: to

    Maria Anna Mozart

    Maria Anna Mozart is Mozart’s older sister, and she was often described as equal in talent and skill. She also toured with Mozart during her childhood.
  • Period: to


    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy, and he was taken on tours of Europe by his musician/teacher/ violinist /author/father, Leopold Mozart. He was always tested by older musicians who wanted to see the extent of his talent and skill.
  • Period: to


    Maria Theresa von Paradis was an excellent pianist and organist. She was renowned for her remarkable musical memory (60 concertos at a time). She was blind and composed two concertos, a piano trio, songs, cantatas, operas, and other chamber music.
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

    The Industrial Revolution made mass production possible.
  • Period: to

    The American Revolution

    The American Revolution was the struggle of thirteen American colonies against Great Britain. The term American Revolution also includes the American War of Independence, and resulted in the formation of the United States of America.
  • The Invention of the Piano (Patented Version)

  • Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453

    K. 453 was written by Mozart for a student of his named Babette (Barbara von Ployer), and he wrote 2 concertos for her. Mozart’s critics complained that he used too many themes and that his music was too complex and “busy." Compared to other music of the day, it is “thick” with ideas.
  • Period: to

    The French Revolution

    The French Revolution was a watershed event in modern European history. During this period, French citizens razed and redesigned their country’s political landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy and the feudal system.
  • Symphony No. 100 in G Major (Military)

    One of the London (Salomon) Symphonies, that used trumpet fanfares.
  • The Invention of the Metronome