An Essential Era Of Music Essay

942 words - 4 pages

From the string quartet, to the modernization of the symphony, there are many different innovations that we owe to the Classical Period of music, which started in 1775 and ended in 1825. Although it was based on the humanistic principles of the Age of Enlightenment, it would still ultimately produce such amazing innovations as adding the choir to symphony pieces, and other advancements. Finally, it produced such amazing artists such as Joseph Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music is today revered and enjoyed all over the world. The Classical era in the history of classical music lasted from approximately 1775-1825. This title was given because during this era, many people were reading the classical works from Greco-Roman culture, such as books by Plato or Aristotle (Kansas University). Historically, much upheaval was occurring in the world: the Age of Enlightenment was in full force, resulting in philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire, whose literature focused on the common man. As a result, public concerts became more common, as people began to feel that music was for every man (Kansas University). Going back into history, the major influences of the Classical period’s style were Johann Sebastian Bach’s two sons Carl Bach and Johann Christian Bach (1714-1788 & 1735-1782 respectively) (Sherrane). Both of these men had the more reserved style of the Classical era before it even began, and they influenced three of the biggest names of this era: Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. Johann personally met Mozart in London, and greatly influenced his concertos for piano. Meanwhile, Haydn and Beethoven were both influenced by the sonatas of Carl Bach. All three of these musicians, at some point in their life, studied in the city of Vienna, which became known as the heart of musical knowledge during the Classical era. Because of this fact, this era has also sometimes been called the “Viennese Classical Period” (Sherrane). Overall, the style of the Classical Period can be seen as a reaction to the incredible emotion of the Baroque era. In the Classical Period, music became much more emotionally reserved, or as Pogue and Speck note in Classical Music for Dummies, “music with a corset on (Pogue & Speck, 27).” In symphonies, new innovative musical mediums, such as choirs, were added to symphonic compositions, giving symphonies a fresh, original sound (Kansas University). Adding further to the variety in symphonies, contrasts in dynamics and tempo were implemented in the numerous movements of symphonies (Sherrane). As we have noted before, Joseph Haydn was a major musician in the Classical Period, and he created the innovation of modernizing the string quartet, so that all members of the group had equal importance in a way we would recognize (Sherrane). In a certain way, it seems that the Classical period added more innovations that would prepare the world for the modern...

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