The Classical Period

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1 The Classical Period

2 How to use this presentation Read through all the information on each page. When you see the loudspeaker icon click on it to hear a musical example of the concept described in the slide. Make sure you listen to the entire example. Move between pages by clicking the arrows on the bottom left of each page. Do not click the RETURN TO CHART links until you have gone through the whole presentation. Towards the end of the presentation you will find a chart with shortcuts to each of the topics covered. Once revised follow the link at the bottom of the last page of the section to return to the chart. If you have Internet access you will be able to use the page at the end of the presentation which has hyperlinks to various useful websites that will help with your study of this and other topics..use them!

3 The Classical Period We usually think of Classical music as music which is not pop ; but to musicians, Classical with a capital C means something much more precise. It refers to music written approximately between 1750 and Example of the Classical style RETURN TO CHART

4 The Classical Period contd. Around 1750 composers began to react against the contrapuntal, ornamented style associated with the Baroque period (approximately ) They started to develop a style which was lighter and more homophonic in texture. This became known as the Classical Style and lasted until roughly Example of the Classical style

5 Characteristics of the Classical Style Usually homophonic in texture, often with a melody and chordal accompaniment. Polished and elegant character with a perfect balance between expressiveness and structure. Shorter melodies than the Baroque period with clear cut phrases and definite cadences. The use of a number of themes and emotions within a piece. Baroque music tends to have one mood throughout. Example of the Classical style

6 Characteristics of the Classical Style contd. Changes of harmony became slower. e.g. Baroque composers often change chord every beat, whereas Classical composers like Mozart and Haydn often leave the same chord for up to 4 bars. The harpsichord is replaced by the piano with not as much use of continuo in orchestral music. Classical piano music was often light and thin in texture; and a prominent accompanying feature was often the Alberti Bass. Example of Classical Piano music X HARPSICHORD IN PIANO RETURN TO CHART

7 The Classical Orchestra The Classical orchestra, which had started to take shape during the Baroque period now began to grow. The harpsichord continuo is not used as much; and the woodwind section expands.

8 The Classical Orchestra contd. Strings violins, violas, cellos, double basses Woodwind 1-2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons Brass 2 trumpets, 2 horns Percussion 2 kettle drums Example of the Classical Orchestra RETURN TO CHART

9 Form in the Classical period Form in the Classical Period took shape in various ways including: Binary Form Ternary Form Minuet and Trio Sonata Form Theme and Variations Rondo Form

10 Binary Form Music in Binary Form consists of music with two different sections (AB). (Like a piece of cheese on toast) Example of Binary Form RETURN TO CHART

11 Ternary Form Music in Ternary Form consists of three sections (ABA) where the first and third sections are the same. (Like a sandwich with only one filling) Example of Ternary Form RETURN TO CHART

12 Minuet and Trio The Minuet is a graceful French dance with 3 beats in a bar. The Minuet originated in the Baroque period. In the Classical period a second minuet called a Trio was added to lengthen the composition. The Minuet and Trio is in ternary form. A MINUET B TRIO A MINUET Example of a Minuet and Trio RETURN TO CHART

13 Sonata Form As we have already discovered, the Classical composers loved precision and order, and writing pieces to particular plans or patterns. The Classical composers already had binary and ternary form to work on, and they developed these into a larger form called Sonata Form which consisted of 3 sections. Exposition The main tune or subjects are played for the 1st time. There are usually two subjects. Development The composer develops or changes the subjects in different ways with frequent modulations. Example of Sonata Form Recapitulation The subjects are played again with the 2nd subject in the tonic key. RETURN TO CHART

14 Theme and Variation Theme and Variation Form is one of the oldest musical forms and has remained a favourite form up to the present day. Composers such as Haydn and Mozart used this form during the Classical period. The composer first presents a tune, called a Theme in a simple way. Then he/she builds up the music by repeating the Theme as many times as he/she likes, but each time varying it altering or disguising it in different ways.

15 Theme and Variation contd. Theme and Variation: Theme Variation 1 Variation 2 Variation 3 There are countless ways in which a theme may be varied: Decorating the theme with ornaments Changing the harmony Changing the rhythm, time signature or tempo Using inversion, augmentation and diminution Using modulation (major or minor) Changing the instrumentation Using imitation or canon Example of Theme and Variation Form RETURN TO CHART

16 Rondo Form A Rondo is a piece in which the same tune (theme) keeps coming back again and again and again and again! In between the main theme, there are contrasting sections. A simple way of remembering Rondo Form is to think of it as A B A C A etc. A Theme B Contrasting Section A Theme C Contrasting Section A Theme etc. Example of Rondo Form RETURN TO CHART

17 The Symphony Having developed new forms for their compositions, the Classical composers decided to move on to greater things and began to put these new forms together to make bigger pieces. The result was the Symphony. Example of the Classical Symphony

18 The Symphony contd. A Symphony is a large work for orchestra, usually in 4 movements (sections) with a break in between each. The movements contrast with each other in Form, Tempo and Character. In the Classical Period, the movements were normally Fast, Slow, Minuet and Trio, Fast.

19 The Symphony contd. MOVEMENT 1 Fast MOVEMENT 2 Slow MOVEMENT 3 Minuet & Trio MOVEMENT 4 Fast RETURN TO CHART

20 The Classical Concerto The Classical Concerto used a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra, and was written in 3 movements: Fast Slow Fast. Example of the Classical Concerto MOVEMENT 1 Fast MOVEMENT 2 Slow MOVEMENT 3 Fast

21 The Classical Concerto contd. Towards the end of the first movement of the Concerto, there would be a Cadenza. This is where the Soloist gets the opportunity to show off their ability or skill on the instrument. The Cadenza is unaccompanied, and sometimes improvised. Example of a Cadenza RETURN TO CHART

22 Opera and Oratorio As we know, the Baroque composers had already established Opera and Oratorio. The Classical composers stamped their own style on these forms. Still using Arias, Recitatives and Choruses, the Classical composers Operas had lively characters and complicated plots.

23 Opera and Oratorio contd. Both their Operas and Oratorios used a bigger classical orchestra and had all of the characteristics of the Classical style. Mozart and Haydn wrote many famous Operas and Oratorios. Famous operas by Mozart include: The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and the Cosi Fan Tutti. Example of Classical Opera MOZART

24 Opera and Oratorio contd. In addition to the Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass voices that were used in opera during the Classical period Coloratura Soprano became popular with some composers. A Coloratura Soprano sang in a high and florid style that often featured lots of scales, runs and ornaments. These passages were sometimes written down by the composer but a gifted performer would often extemporise the passage. Example of Coloratura Soprano RETURN TO CHART

25 Chamber Music Chamber Music is music written for a small group of solo musicians, and intended to be played in a room (chamber), rather than a large hall. The most popular type of chamber music is the String Quartet, and was especially popular during the Classical Period. The Classical composer Haydn enjoyed composing for String Quartet: he wrote 68 of them. Example of Classical Chamber Music RETURN TO CHART

26 Classical Music Chart Click on the links below to go to that topic Classical Period Classical style Classical Orchestra Binary Form Ternary Form Minuet and Trio Sonata Form Theme and Variations Rondo Form Symphony Concerto Opera & Oratorio Coloratura Passion Chamber Music

27 Can t get enough? Click on the links below to visit these useful Websites Liberton High School Music Department - Revision Essentials of Music - Medieval - 20th Century Classical Music Education Sites

28 The Classical Period

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