Thursday, January 21, 2010

All about History of Classical Music


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History of Classical Music


From Wikipedia

Classical music

is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 9th century to present times. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century. Western staff notation is used by composers to prescribe to the performer the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact execution of a piece of music. This leaves less room for practices, such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, that are frequently heard in non-European art music (compare Indian classical music and Japanese traditional music) and popular music.

The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to "canonize" the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1836.
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History of Classical Music
Middle Ages
(400-1400CE)

During the Middle Ages, there were three classes of people. The first class was the nobility: kings, princes, and wealthy landowners. They owned land and from these people came our legends of knights in shining armour. The second class consisted of the clergy: priests who worked in the church and monks who lived in monasteries. The rest of the people, poor farmers and peasants, made up the third class. The average peasant lived to be 30 years of age and ate little more than black bread and turnips. The first great centres of music were in the churches.

During the Middle Ages, until 1100, the vast majority of music was monophonic, meaning a single line without accompaniment. As life became better and more civilized in the Middle Ages people began to focus more on themselves and less on God and religion. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, polyphony began to be used in music. This was the use of more than one melodic line at the same time.

Two of the greatest composers of the new polyphonic music were Leonin and Perotin at the Notre-Dame in Paris. Later important composers included Guillaume de Machaut
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Sacred Music (Middle Ages 1)
In the Middle Ages, the church was very important in the lives of the people. In turn, the music of the church was very important and from approximately 350 to 1100 CE, Medieval music was created mostly in the monasteries. This means that composers were mostly monks and priests associated with the Catholic Church. These monks and priests believed that their talents were gifts from God and any work they composed was meant to glorify God. It is because of this that most music up to 1100 is provided by anonymous sources, meaning sources without specific names attached to them.
Sacred music was called plainsong, and it consisted of a single unaccompanied melody with words in the Latin language. The melody of plainsong was simple so the words would be easily understood by others. The words were usually part of the Roman Catholic mass.
The majority of the music of the time is now known as Gregorian Chant, named after Pope Gregory I (590-604), who organized the plainsong chants into a specific order and had them published and communicated to churches throughout Europe and the Roman Empire.
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Secular Music (Middle Ages 2)
A secular musical tradition, simpler than the organum used by the church, existed outside the church. This was the monophonic music of itinerant musicians, the minstrels. Minstrels were also known as jongleurs and their successors, the troubadours and trouvères in France, and minnesingers in Germany.
The minstrels travelled from castle to castle singing songs, telling stories and performing tricks. Like plainsong, secular songs were simple and only had one melody. They were usually faster than sacred songs and used the common language instead of Latin. Minstrels gradually formed guilds and became more respected members of the growing middle class.
Stringed or percussion instruments often accompanied the minstrels' songs. Both sacred and secular music used a wide variety of instruments, including such string devices as the lyre and psaltery and the medieval fiddle, or vielle. Keyboard instruments included the organ. Percussion instruments included small drums and small bells.

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Polyphony (Middle Ages 3)

Prior to this time, all music consisted of a single, unaccompanied melody (monophony). However, composers tried putting one or more melodies together with none being more important than the other. This is known as polyphony.
Polyphony gave composers a more expanded musical world , and they soon became more creative. Sumer is icumen in, a piece written around 1300, is similar to a round like Row, row your boat.

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Music Printing (Middle Ages 4)

Since the printing press had not yet been invented, if a piece of music was to be retained , it would have to be copied out by monks, diligently writing out music for church services. Sometimes the music was written out in a very ornamented fashion.
Around 1025, Guido d'Arezzo developed a system of pitch notation using lines and spaces. Until this time, only two lines had been used. Guido expanded this system to four lines, and initiated the idea of ledger lines by adding lines above or below these lines as needed. He used square notes called neumes. This system eliminated any uncertainty of pitch, which had existed until this time. Guido also developed a system of clefs, which became the basis for our clef system: bass clef, treble clef, and so on.
Another important contribution was his treatise on polyphonic music. This was important as it led to the development of polyphony by Leonin and Perotin.

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Composers - Middle Ages

Conon de Bethune
La Comtessa Beatritz de Dia
Hildegard vonBingen(1098-1179)
Adam de la Halle
Leonin (Leoninus) (c.1163-1201)
Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377)
Perotin (Perotinus Magnus) (c.1160-1220)
Wizlau von Rugen
Hans Sachs
Bernart de Ventadorn
Maria de Ventadorn (1165-1221)
Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361)

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The Renaissance (1400-1600CE)

The Renaissance was an exciting time in the world history. World exploration by Columbus and Sir Francis Drake, and scientific advancement by Galileo and Copernicus led the world in new directions. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo flourished while playwrights like Shakespeare wrote plays and poetry.
The Renaissance saw the rise of the middle class. No longer did all of the wealth belong to the nobility. People moved to cities, and spent more time seeing plays and concerts. Music was now part of any good education. With the invention of the printing press around 1450, sheet music was printed and made available to everyone. By 1600, popular music of the day was available across Europe, and the middle class learned to play instruments using method books for recorder, lute, and guitar.
Composers like Josquin des Prez and Giovanni Palestrina led the way into a new way of composing. Man, rather then God, became the new focus in a great deal of music. Composers now turned to another dimension of music that had been neglected up to then. The use of harmony changed music for ever.

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Sacred Music (Renaissance 1)
The sacred music of the Renaissance was a natural outgrowth of plainsong. The simple two-line polyphony of the late Middle Ages was expanded to use up to four different vocal parts of equal importance. This new vocal form was the motet. Contrary to the Middle Ages ideal, the music was more important than the words. Josquin des Prez and Giovanni Palestrina were the most famous Renaissance composers of motets.
Music began to be very ornamented at this time. Mass settings and motets had become more and more ambitious and eleaborate as time wore on. More voices were used and movements became longer and cleverer. Composers were more interested in showing off than with putting forward any significant religious message. Church leaders began to worry that people could not understand the important lyrics and at the Council of Trent, ordered that sacred music be used to underline the text. This marked the beginning of chordally structured music.

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Secular Music (Renaissance 2)
Madrigals, songs for small groups of voices without instuments, were the most popular form of secular music. Usually about love, madrigals became an important part of the special occasions. They were usually sung at feasts and weddings and often had verses with repeated choruses like popular music today.
El Grillo by Josquin des Pres, is a lively tune that used a great deal of revolutionary techniques of the time.

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Reformation (Renaissance 3)
When the Lutheran church split from the Catholic church in the 1500's, more than religion changed. Martin Luther wanted all of his congregation to take part in the music of his services. The new Protestant churches that formed had songs written for singing by the whole congregation, not just the choir. This new chorale style was the basis for many hymns that are still sung today. The chorale was composed for voices, but two hundred years later, Bach would use the form for his organ pieces.
Just as most Catholic church music in the sixteenth century was an outgrowth of plainsong, much of the Lutheran church music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was an outgrowth of the chorale

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Instrumental Music (Renaissance 4)
In the Renaissance, composers also began writing polyphonic pieces just for instruments. These pieces were often written to accompany ballroom dancing and to entertain nobility at their court. Recorders and lutes were two of the most common instruments. Recorders and viols in all different sizes played together in groups called consorts. Other instruments of the Renaissance were lutes, shawms, krummhorns, and small version of trumpets and trombones. Often instruments and voices combined for variety.
Joan Ambrosia Dalza wrote three very popular dances, Tasta la corde, Ricercar, and Calata.
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Composers - Renaissance
Jacob Arcadelt
Gilles Binchois
Jacopo da Bologna
William Byrd (1543-1623)
Francesca Caccini (1587-1640)
William Cornysh
John Dowland
Guillaume Dufay (c.1400-1474)
John Dunstable (c.1390-1453)
Giovanni Gabrieli
Carlo Gesualdo
Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
Heinrich Isaac
Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594)
Cristobal de Morales (c.1500-1553)
Jacob Obrecht (c.1450-1505)
Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410-1497) by Lacey & Mitchell
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525-1594)
Michael Praetorius
Josquin des Prez (c.1440-1521)
Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585) by Cayle & William
John Taverner
Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
Thomas Weelkes
Adrian Willaert

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The Baroque Period (1600-1750CE)
The Baroque period was an important time in the history of the world. Galileo, Kepler and Newton were discovering new ways to explain the universe. In music, art, architecture, and fashion, fancy decoration and ornamentation became the rule. Both men and women wore wigs and coats with lace.
Throughout the Baroque period, composers continued to be employed by the church and wealthy ruling class. This system of employment was called the patronage system. As the patron paid the composer for each work and usually decided what kind of piece the composer should write, this limited their creative freedom.
Important Baroque composers include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, Johann Pachelbel, Georg Phillip Telemann, Henry Purcell and Antonio Vivaldi.


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Baroque Characteristics (Baroque 1)
Form
Dances were popular during this period as well as preludes, fugues, suites, toccatas and theme and variations. Binary and ternary forms were used frequently.
Harmony
Two or more melodies played at the same time created a musical texture called counterpoint. There were frequent harmonic changes. Tonality was based on major and minor keys.
Keyboard Instruments
The clavichord, harpsichord, and organ were used.
Rhythm
Emphasis was on strong beats, upbeats and fast-changing rhythmic motion. Eighths, 16ths and triplets were frequently used.
Style
Phrase and expression marks were not used. Faster notes were normally played legato; slower notes were normally played nonlegato. Ornaments were used frequently.


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Trends in Baroque Music (Baroque 2)
Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach reacted to the Baroque trend of fancy ornamentation by creating complex polyphonic music consisting of elaborate melodies layered top of each other. Often these melodies contained trills and fast moving notes. The idea of using chords to accompany one or more melody lines also became common. In adition, composers began to write dynamics and tempo markings in their music. Improvisation also became common, even in the Church. Finally, composers began to use their music to express emotions such as joy and anger.
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Vocal Music (Baroque 3)
The Baroque period saw the birth of a new form of music called opera. Opera combined music, acting, scenery, costumes, and props. Actors and actresses sing the script, or libretto. Some Operas are serious (opera seria), and some are funny (opera buffa). The first opera was Orfeo, by Claudio Monteverdi.
Similar to the opera is the cantata. The Cantata, like the opera, is a series of arias and recitatives. However, the cantata is not staged or acted.

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Instrumental Music (Baroque 4)
During the Baroque period, instrumental music became as important as vocal music. The Baroque period saw a rise in music for flute, oboe, bassoon, trombone, valveless trumpets and horns, harpsichord, and organ. Recorders became less popular, and viols were gradually replaced by violins, violas, and cellos. Timpani was the only percussion instrument used in serious music.
Much of the music written for instruments contained several contrasting sections or movements. One example is the concerto. Concertos were developed in the second half of the 17th century by Italian composers like Torelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, and Corelli. Within 25 years, almost all major centres had their own concerto composer. One of the most famous concertos is Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Concertos sometimes featured one soloist or a group of soloists. Concertos featuring a group of soloists were known as concerto grossos. Concerto grossos were written for a group of solo instruments and orchestra, and usually contained three movements (fast-slow-fast).

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Composers – Baroque
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Dietrich Buxtehude
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) by Meagan & Stacey
Francois Couperin (1668-1733)
Girolamo Frescobaldi
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1659-1729)
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Jacopo Peri
Georg Phillip Telemann
Henry Purcell (1659-1695) by Jean-Marc & Stephane
Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Alessandro Scarlatti
Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) by Haley & Erin
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) by Ben & Mark
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The Classical Period (1750-1820CE)
The years of the Classical Period saw many changes in the world. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars changed the face of Europe. During the Classical period it became more and more possible for the public to enjoy and participate in leisure activities. Thus, in the music world, the patronage system of the Baroque began to die out and was replaced by the first public concerts where people paid to attend.
Instead of the sudden changes in style and trills of Baroque music, the music of the Classical period tended to be simple, balanced, and non-emotional. Music had straightforward titles like "Symphony No. 1" instead of flowery descriptive titles. Known as absolute music, classical works were written for their own sake, not for dancing or any other special occasion. It was performed in the recital or concert hall.
The most important classical composers were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Vienna was the musical center of Europe, and most serious composers spent part of their lives there.

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Classical Characteristics (Classical 1)
Form
Forms used include the minuet and trio, rondo, sonata-allegro, sonatina and theme and variations. Composers also often wrote concertos and dances.
Harmony
Often there was a single-line melody with accompaniment. Cadences and slower chord changes were frequently used.
Keyboard Instruments
The pianoforte and harpsichord were used.
Rhythm
Rests, 16th notes, and triplets were used frequently. In theme and variations, the same tempo was usually used throughout the variations.
Style
There were varied dynamic contrasts (softs & louds). Two- and three- note slurs, regular phrasing and articulations were used.
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Instrumental Music (Classical 2)
Instrumental music was more important than vocal music during the Classical period. More and more instruments were added to the orchestra, including the flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon.
Three instrumental forms were developed: the concerto, the symphony, and the sonata. The concerto of the Baroque period evolved into the popular Classical concerto. The soloist was featured as the rest of the orchestra provided accompaniment. Concertos were written for all the instruments in the classical orchestra.
An outgrowth of the Baroque concerto grosso was the Classical symphony. The word symphony means "sounding together" and it applies to the full orchestra all playing at the same time. Symphonies had three movements (fast-slow-fast), but some added an extra, dance-like movement before the last movement. Franz Joseph Haydn wrote 104 symphonies during his lifetime!

Sonatas were written for one or two instruments. Most sonatas were written for the favorite instrument of the time, the piano.
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Sonata Form (Classical 3)
During the Classical period, symphonies, concertos and sonatas were all based on a compositional formula known as sonata form. Composers used sonata form as a means of providing structure to their compositions. It became the most popular compositional form to be used throughout the Classical era.
The word "sonata" was first used as the title of any piece to be "sounded" (played on a musical instrument). A short sonata was called a sonatina. By the late 1700s, the sonata had become a more formal composition, usually containing three or four contrasting movements, of which the form of the first movement was the most strict.
The first movement of a sonata is in strictly "sonata form." This means that it consists of three sections. In the first section, the exposition, the melodies are "exposed" or introduced. Secondary themes are often in a key a fifth higher than the tonic (original key). The second section is called the development and in this section themes are altered and used however the composer wishes. The third section, named the recapitulation, restates all the themes, but this time all are in the tonic key. Sometimes sonata form includes an introduction and a coda.

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Classical Symphony (Classical 4)
For the first time, instrumental music was more important than vocal music. The modern symphony orchestra is born, with fuller sounding strings, plus clarinets, bassoons, oboes, and flutes. Although trumpets and horns were still valveless, they acquired the harmony role which made the harpsichord obsolete in the orchestra. Trombones, tubas, and the extensive percussion we use today were not yet introduced to the orchestra setting.
A symphony is a long composition for orchestra, usually with three to four movements. To achieve a variety of sounds, composers strive to make each movement different by changing the mood, tempo, or style.
Franz Joseph Haydn is considered to be the father of the symphony and he composed 104 symphonies during his life. Beethoven composed nine symphonies with his fifth and ninth being the most famous.

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Vocal Music (Classical 5)
Vocal music in the Classical period was centered in opera. Many operas in the Classical period were written and enjoyed mostly by the wealthier part of society, as they were expensive to produce. Two styles of opera continued to be developed during this period: opera seria and opera buffa. Opera buffa became much more popular during this period due to Mozart's contribution to this style. Some of Mozart's most popular comic operas include The Marriage of Figaro, and The Magic Flute.
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Composers – Classical
Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782) by Kristin & Kaley
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

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The Romantic Period (1820-1910CE)
Music saw many changes during the Romantic period. Composers expanded existing musical forms and developed new forms as a way of expressing themselves. Thus, a huge variety of instrumental and vocal music appeared on the scene. There were no restrictions on the length of a piece, the number of movements, or the number of instruments or voices used. The operas of Richard Wagner sometimes last 6 hours. Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony requires an oversize orchestra, a full choir, and vocal soloists.
It was during the Romantic period that most of the band instruments came into being as they are today. The invention and widespread use of valves on brass instruments and new key systems on woodwind instruments made them much easier to play, encouraging composers to write more music for them.
There were many influential composers during the Romantic period. They included Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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Romantic Characteristics (Romantic 1)
Form
Types of pieces popular during this period were character pieces, concertos, dances, etudes and variations.
Harmony
There was a wide use of chromatic harmony, accidentals, diminished, and dominant sevenths and modulation to distant keys. Thick textures with full chords were popular.
Keyboard Instruments
The pianoforte (piano) was the instrument of this period.
Rhythm
Complex rhythms with two notes against three were used. There was also much syncopation.
Style
Expressive personal feeling, singing (cantabile) lines, varied accompaniment figures, varied phrase lengths and varied dynamics and tempos were popular.

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Romantic Symphony
The Romantic Symphony is an expanded version of the Classical symphony. It is much larger in size and in length with the addition of many more instruments and sometimes more than four movements.

Many Romantic symphonies were examples of program music, a new instrumental form. Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastiqueis an example of a Romantic symphony. Throughout the symphony, the story of a young man's love for a woman is told. Berlioz uses one main musical idea to describe the woman. This theme is known as the idee fixe.

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Tone Poem
The tone poem (also known as the symphonic poem) is similar to the program symphony because it, too, tells a story. The difference between a tone poem and the romantic symphony is that the tone poem only consists of one long movement.

The most Famous composer of tone poems was Richard Strauss. His tone poems include Don Juan and Der Rosenkavalier.

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Concert Overture
Overtures appeared throughout the Baroque and Classical periods as instrumental introductions to operas in order to set a particular mood or atmosphere. During the Romantic period composers wrote only overtures without writing operas attached to them. These came to be known as Concert overtures.
Concert overtures are also considered to be program music, as they to tell a story. Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave Overture is an example.

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Romantic Opera
For fifty years, Giuseppe Verdi was the epitome of Italian music. The vast majority of his music was written for the stage, and he wrote twenty-six operas. Verdi's operas tended to concentrate more on human drama, than on romanticized nature or mythological symbolism as many of his predecessors had done.
Perhaps the largest name in Romantic opera is that of Richard Wagner. Wagner believed in opera as Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork). One aspect of Wagner's music was that he often used a leitmotif to musically describe a character or theme in his music.

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Lieder
The term lieder is the plural Form of the German word lied which means "song." The function of lieder is to set fine poetry to beautiful music. Lieder is accompanied by the piano, but the piano is like a partner to the singer in that it helps to create a particular artistic effect which the composer wished to represent.
There are two types of lieder in the Romantic period. First, the strophic song is similar to a hymn, as each stanza of poetry receives the same melody. Second, the through-composed song provides different music for every stanza of a poem. Schubert's Erlkonig (Elf King) is an example of through-composed Romantic Lieder.

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Nationalist Music
Until the Romantic period, most composers regardless of their nationality, borrowed musical styles from Germany, France, and Italy. A new trend called nationalism inspired composers to incorporate native folk songs and styles into their music. Russia was the leader of the Nationalist movement, with composers such as Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Alexander Borodin, Modeste Mussorgsky, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
A Czechoslovakian composer, Antonin Dvorak relied heavily on folk tunes and popular dance rhythms, such as the furiant and dumka, in his symphonies and chamber music.

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Piano Music
Music for piano flourished throughout the Romantic period. Many forms of piano pieces evolved, including the miniature. Romantic miniatures such as the nocturne, impromptu, etude, and ballade become extremly popular, as they were short , easy to listen to, and they concentrated on one single musical idea.
Frederic Chopin is perhaps the most famous of all Romantic composers for the piano. An example of his work is the Ballade in G minor.

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Composers - Romantic
Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) by Sasha & Rachel
Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) by Richard & Dustin
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) by Sara & Cecily
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
Cesar Franck (1822-1890)
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) by Krista
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847)
Modeste Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Carl Nielsen (1865-1931)
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) by Ashley & Marissa
Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) by Erin & Jill
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)
Dame Ethyl Mary Smyth (1858-1944)
Johann Strauss II
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) by Jennifer & Tiffany
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)

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The 20th Century (1900-2000CE)
Music written since 1900 is called 20th century music. There have been more types and styles of music written in the 20th century then ever before. In the 20th century, the only limit is the composer's imagination. Peter Schikele has fun with his pieces by having players play on mouthpieces, or by gargling with water during the piece.
The melodies are also very different from those of past periods. Anton Webern's melodies have leaps, and are often made up of only two or three notes. Other melodies, like those written by Bela Bartok and Alan Hovhaness, are based on scales taken from the Middle Ages.
Technological developments have also had an influence on the 20th Century music, especially electronic music. Composers like Philip Glass use electronics to create totally new sounds, styles, and effects.

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20th Century Characteristics (20th Century 1)
Form
Composers experiment with "aleatoric" music, in which form and structure are determined by chance.
Harmony
Intricate harmonies paint beautiful pictures of sound. Modal, pentatonic, and twelve-tone scale are often used. Chords often have dissonant intervals, such as 2nds, 7ths, 9ths, and 11ths.
Keyboard Instruments
Electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and pianos are used.
Rhythm
Changing meters, polyrhythms (more than one rhythm used at the same time) are popular.
Style
Vague outlines of melody and rhythm, soft and colourful tones and shimmering effects are used. Dissonance, prepared instruments, new notation types and precise dynamic, phrasing and tempo indications are used. There is a variety of harmonies, moods, rhythms, and styles found in this period.

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Impressionist Music (20th Century 2)
A 20th century offshoot of Romantic music is a type of program music called impressionist music. However, where Romantic music is like a sharp, clear picture of a friend, impressionist music is like a blurry, vague painting of the same friend.
The most famous composers of impressionist music were Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Due to his theoretical innovations, Debussy was regarded as a radical in his composition classes at the the famous Paris Conservatory of Music. One of his best known works is Prelude to "the Afternoon of a Faun."

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Neo-Classicism (20th Century 3)
An important type of 20th century music is neoclassical. "Neo" means new, so neoclassical music is new music that is similar to music of the Classical period. While neoclassical music sounds modern in many ways, it is written following the basic forms and ideals of the Classical period.
A famous neoclassical composer is Igor Stravinsky. His music uses many different key signatures and time signatures, and sometimes more than one at a time. One example is the Rite of Spring.

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Chance Music (20th Century 4)
In chance music, the composer leaves a lot up to the performer. For example a composer might give each player in the band four different sheets of music. On the director's signal each player in the band could play any one of the four sheets of music, starting and stopping whenever he or she wished. Chance music is interesting because each performance is different.
One important composer of chance music was John Cage. His Imaginary Landscape No.4, consists of 12 radios all playing at the same time, but all tuned to different stations.

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Atonal Music (20th Century 5)
One composer, Arnold Schoenberg, devised a completely new system of composing by using the 12 tone scale. The resulting music is called atonal. The scale uses all 12 chromatic notes equally. Rhythms are irregular and unpredictable.
Joined by Alban Berg and Anton Webern, the three formed the Second Viennese School. Both Berg and Webern followed Schoenberg in abandoning traditional tonality and melody, and in writing concentrated short pieces.

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Composers - 20th Century
John Adams
Samuel Barber
Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
Amy (H.H.A) Beach (1867-1944)
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
Pierre Boulez (b. 1925)
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) by Graham & Logan
John Cage (1912-1992) by Zane & Mike
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Edward Elgar (1856-1934)
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Philip Glass (b. 1937) by Kelsey & Raynita
Henryk Gorecki
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
Charles Ives (1874-1954)
Leos Janacek (1854-1928)
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) by Kyiel & Jim
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (b.1928)
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) by Leo & Curtis
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
Edgard Varese (1883-1965)
William Walton (1902-1983)
Anton Webern (1883-1945)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

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