The classical era is known for the advent of classical music, also known as art music, which can include a combination of religious and secular music.
The definition given by the Oxford dictionary for classical music is that its music is written in the style of western music tradition, that generally uses an established form such as a symphony. Classical music is typically serious in its tone and tends to be longer than other types of music.
The meaning of classical music relates to the literal period style, which was from around the middle of the 18th century to the early 19th century. Composers such as Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven are examples of strictly classical composers compared to the previous era of the Baroque with Bach, Handel, Telamon, and after Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, the symphonic composer Tchaikovsky and Mahler the romantic composers. So, it's a period style of not just music but of the art of architecture and all the other elements that make up this period.
One of the fundamental characteristics of the classical music period is texture. Classical music’s pure texture was mainly homophonic. Homophonic simply means that we have a melody line that is being accompanied by chords. The second music characteristic of the classical music period was about dynamics whereby the musical composers could use their crescendos and innuendos in their performances. The third characteristic comes the tonality. The tonality was mainly in major and minor keys and modulations were mainly to the dominant, the subdominant, or the relative minor. When we talk about rhythms, classical music period composers used simple rhythms, rhythmic patterns, regular and also irregular rhythmic patterns, and emphasis was put on balance.
Balance and symmetry were one of the major emphases that the composers of the classical music period tried to achieve. Melodies of the classical music period were mainly short, four bars to eight bars long, and these bars had clearly defined cadences at the end of the melodies. Alberti bass was one of the characteristics of the classical music period that was developed by a person named Domenico Alberti. The Alberti bass was simply playing a broken chord using the left hand. The classical music period was mainly instrumental, they put the focus more on instruments than vocals. In the classical period, the sonata form became the most important design in music. These are some of the main characteristics of the classical music period.
Some of the most notable musicians that performed at the beginning of the classical era include Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Johann Sebastian Bach, Don Giovanni, and Ludwig Van Beethoven. It's amazing how popular their music still is today, so many years after they first created their music, which was tailored to suit the audiences of the era.
If you like listening to classic musicians, then read on for more information related to the history of this secular music form.
The Origins Of Classical Music
The classical period was an era of music that spanned from 1730 to 1820. Europe began to move towards a new style in architecture, literature, and the arts generally known as classicism, in the middle of the 18th century.
This style sought to mirror the ideals of classical antiquity, the period of cultural history between the eighth century BC and the fifth or sixth century AD. It was centered around ancient Greece and ancient Rome and the area is known as the Greco-Roman world. The classical period also coincided with the Age of Enlightenment, a time of radical change in social values focused on human rights and freedom of religion.
Classical Music Musical Instruments
Here are some classical music facts related to popular classical music instruments:
- The leading keyboard instruments of the Baroque period were slowly being replaced by a new revolutionary instrument called the pianoforte invented as early as 1698 by Christopher II. The piano struck strings with leather-covered hammers when its keys were pressed.
- This was vastly different from the harpsichord, which made music by its strings being plucked. This innovation allowed the performers to play louder and softer whenever they wanted. As a result, they could play with more expression. They introduced a few other instruments to the concert scene, including the horn, trumpet, clarinet, flute, and oboe.
- The orchestra increased in size, range, and power as woodwind instruments got better and more versatile; they established their own section in the orchestra. Bassoons and kettledrums also began to be used by more composers and clarinets were popularized by Mozart.
- A new kind of instrumental period in the classical period was the Sonata, which works in several movements for one to five instruments. The number of people in the ensemble dictated the name of the group: trio, quartet, or quintet. Other kinds of instrumental music included the string quartet, concerto, and most importantly the symphony, a sonata for orchestra in four movements.
- Vocal music, choral works, and opera were very important during this period. Folk songs or songs for a singer and piano became popular, but opera still reigned supreme. Mozart himself wrote several operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute.
- Classism inspired classical music and those cool-looking columns on big houses. The general public wanted music that they could hum along with content that made them laugh.
- Vienna was the center of the classical period. Mozart was a child and had a weird sense of humor. Beethoven was moody and couldn't hear. Harpsichord was then removed from the board and the grand piano replaced it. New instruments flooded the orchestra which grew to the size of a flash mob.
The Popularity Of Classical Music
According to recent research conducted by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, streaming provider Deezer, and the British Phonographic Industry, classical music is becoming more popular among young people (BPI). Let's take a look at some more facts regarding classic music popularity:
- Approximately one-third (34%) of individuals who streamed classical music in the previous year were between the ages of 18 and 25. Classical streaming by listeners under 35 increased by 17% during the same time period.
- According to BPI data from a decade ago, only a tenth of classical music listeners were under the age of 30, with the vast majority (70%) being above the age of 50.
- When Covid-19 lockdowns hit in March last year, both current classical performers and more traditional composers were unexpectedly popular among younger listeners, giving classical music a second spike.
- According to the survey, global plays of classical music among 18 to 25-year-olds increased by 11% over three months, based on official streaming statistics from Deezer, a competitor of Spotify.
Classical Music Famous Artists
Here are some classical music facts related to some of the famous music artists of the era:
- The big names of the classical period included Schubert, CPE Bach, Luke, Mendelssohn Hiden, and Salieri, but the two real rock star composers were Mozart and Beethoven.
- Mozart was a child prodigy. At the age of three, he used to pick out chords on the harpsichord, at the age of four he used to play short pieces, and at the age of five, he started composing songs. Just before he turned six, his father took him and his sister to Germany to play at the court, and a few months later they went to Vienna and were heard at the Imperial Court.
- He embarked on a world tour with his family and became famous for his skill in improvisation, making up music on the spot with no prior practice or rehearsal. Though he was and still is considered a genius, he was also tactless, arrogant, and had a very bizarre sense of humor. There is even a movie based on his life.
- Beethoven’s music dealt with deep emotions and political affairs. It was heavier and composed on a much larger scale. He increased the size of the orchestra and his pieces grew to mammoth proportions. Unfortunately, Beethoven began going deaf towards the end of his life. He continued to compose but found it increasingly difficult to conduct his own pieces.
- When he died in 1820, he not only left a legacy on the classical period, he basically began the next period, the music he composed towards the end of his life was so new and revolutionary that it had to be called something different, something a little more romantic.
- During a performance of Handel's Messiah in London, King George II was in the audience. He stood up when the 'Hallelujah Chorus' started!
- Did you know about Haydn's head? There are two skulls in Haydn's tomb. After the skull was stolen, a replacement skull was placed there. After the real skull was placed back in 1954, they also kept the replacement in the tomb.
- The Japanese word 'karaoke' comes from a phrase meaning 'empty orchestra'!
- The word piano concerto is used to represent a concert where a pianist is featured! The word violin concerto is used where a violinist is playing.
- When did the London Symphony Orchestra change boats? The London Symphony Orchestra was booked to play aboard the Titanic's maiden voyage. But they changed boats at the last minute and performed somewhere else.
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