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History Of Music

The Classicism

Course Outline
About your Teacher
Musical Links
Introduction to the Class
What is Classical Music?
Elements of Music
The Middle Ages
The Renaissance
The Baroque
Take home Work
The Classicism
The Romanticism
Contact Me

History, Music and Arts

       The Classical Period

Classicism implies the ideals of the Apollonian cult of ancient Greece: objectivity, ethos, emotional restraint, and balance and clarity of form.

In music was reflected on the development of the musical forms and the homophonic texture.


       -Principles of sectional structure, particularly in sonata form, were firmly established in the late eighteenth century.


       -Classical textures were typically homophonic, with a single melodic line accompanied by nonmelodic or less melodic materials.

         -A much favored accompanied pattern was the so-called Alberti-bass (a broken chord figure)

         -Predominance of thin, light sonorities as opposed to the predominantly massive sonority of Baroque music.


Major composers:

   Gluck (1714-1787)

       -The least versatile of the four, was a master of opera and opera reform.

   Haydn (1732-1809)

       -Was the most prolific of the major composers.

       -He established the form and instrumentation of the Classical symphony and developed the string quartet.

       -His principal fields were: symphony, chamber music, concerto, piano sonata, oratorio, church music, and opera.

   Mozart (1756-1791)

       -One of the most fertile musical minds of all times.

       -Rebelled against the system of patronage and attempted to fashion a living from commissions for and royalties from his music.

       -His principal fields were symphony, concerto, chamber music, sonata, and mass.

       -His operas represent the pinnacle of the genre.

Beethoven (1770-1827)

       -One of the most im portent composers of Western art music.

       -He guided the transition from late Classical to a Romantic style

       -He expanded the concept of sonata form and made it a vehicle of powerful expression.

       -He was unsurpassed in the techniques of thematic development and variation.

       -His main areas of composition were symphony, concerto, string quartet, and piano sonata. He wrote an oratorio, an opera and one festival mass.


Instrumental Music: The most significant changes in form and genre during the classical era took place in instrumental music:

   Sonata Form: Means a basic plan in 3 or 4 movements.

       -It applies virtually to all instrumental genres:

                                                                                                -solo sonata



                                                                                                -string quartets

                                                                                                -and others.


   First movement:

       -fast tempo- (Allegro )

       -called sonata form


         -An optional introduction in slow tempo.

         -The Exposition: here the two first themes are introduced

         -Development: here themes are developed and new ideas will be introduced.

         -Recapitulation or Re-exposition: General restatement of the exposition.

         -Coda: a closing section.


   Second movement:

       -Usually in slow tempo

       -More melodic than the other movements.


   Third movement:-Minuet-


   Fourth Movement: -Finale-

       -Sonata form, rondo or a combination.




            The development of the Classical symphony was on of the najor musical achievements of the eighteenth century.

   Form: It took on the shape of the sonata cycle.


The Orchestra:


       -By the end of the 18th century the symphony orchestra consisted of four woodwind instruments in pairs (flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons)

       -Trumpets, horns, and timpani, also in pairs

       -String choir consisting of the first and second violins, violas, cellos, and string basses.


         -Strings were the dominant color:

            -1st violins carried the thematic material.

            -2nd violins and violas most often have harmonic materials.

            -Cellos and basses consistently doubled, written as one part on the same staff, but with the basses sounding an octave lower than the cellos.

            -Woodwinds became more important. Generally scored in harmonic passages.

            -Brass instruments, combined to tutti passages, and to harmonic rather than melodic material.


   Composers: The enormous output of orchestral literature by Preclassical composers provided the foundation on which the classical symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven were created.

Haydn: (1732-1809)

       -Wrote than 100 symphonies (The earliest represent the Preclassical form and orchestration.

       -He wrote slow introductions to his first movements.


Mozart: (1756-1791)

       -41 symphonies ex: Prague Symphony no. 38 in D Major

              -Jupiter Symphony no. 41 in C Major


Beethoven (1770-1827)

       -His nine symphonies transcend Classical form and style. (Only the first and the eighth follow the conventions of form and structure.

       -He expanded the sonata cycle and infused it with his dynamic personality.

      -In symphonies 3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th, he added new instruments to classical instrumentation.

      -Symphony no. 6, Pastoral, in five movements, was one of the first programmatic symphonies.

      -The 9th symphony, have a number of additional instruments (piccolo, contrabassoon, four horns, three trombones, triangle, cymbals and bass drum), and solo voices and chorus in the finale.



   -Carried over from the Baroque concerto but it differed in style and in structure of movements:

   -Form: A sonata cycle


 Composers: the principal literature was composed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

       -Haydn: wrote -20 concertos for piano,

                             -9 for violin

                             -6 for cello

                             -also for -flute






       -Mozart wrote -25 piano concerti

                             -8 violin concerti

                             -Others for -violin and viola



                             -flute and harp




       -Beethoven wrote  -5 piano concerti

                                    -1 violin concerto in D major

                                    -Triple concerto for violin, cello and piano.


   Chamber Music

       It was an especially significant category of music literature in the Classical period.

         -Divertimento:  (divertimento, serenade, feldpartita, notturno and cassation)

               -Intended for informal entertainment and outdoor performances.

              -Lighter and less sophisticated than symphonies

              -Written for small chamber ensembles to small orchestra

              -3 to 10 movements, including minuets, dances, marches, and standard sonata-form movements.

              -Haydn wrote over 60 and Mozart over 30 compositions in this category.


         String Quartet:

              -A most favored during the classical period

              -Consisted of 2 violins, viola, and cello

              -4 movement sonata cycle form


                   Luigi Boccherini






                   mixed string quartet (3 string instruments and one other instrument, usually piano, flute, clarinet, or oboe.

                   -String trio

                   -Mixed trio

                   -String quintet

                   -Mixed quintet


    Sonata for violin and piano:

       -became important during the classical period

       -the piano more often assumed the dominant role


           -Haydn: 12 violin sonatas

           -Mozart: 35 violin sonatas

           -Beethoven: 10 violin sonatas