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Classical Music Period

Understanding how music in the Classical Period sounded, why it sounded that way, how it was different from the Baroque and how patronage was on it's way out as the way composers made money. It highlights the lives of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and descr

George Williams

on 5 April 2011

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Transcript of Classical Music Period

1750 – 1820 The Word “Classical” Today, people usually associate the term ‘classical’ music as ‘orchestra’ music or ‘serious’ music as compared to modern or pop music. Although this is true, understand that there was a true period of 70 years in music history called the Classical period. What Classical music sounded like Classical music didn’t use as many decorations, like in the Baroque. Instead, it was made to be easier to listen to, simpler to follow,
but used very strict composing rules (called form). Because the middle class said so…. With the coming of a new, powerful middle-class, due to many government revolts in many countries, the focus of music shifted. In Classical music, it wasn’t just the wealthy or the church that could enjoy music, but everyone. The ears of the middle-class were the new focus for the composer. It was the time of “I’d better make my music liked by everyone or I won’t be a popular composer.” Classical Opera In the baroque, the opera audience was the wealthy and the wealthy liked operas with stories of gods, fantasy, and magic. In the Classical period, opera composers used real situations in their stories. This made opera composers very popular and helped spread the word that opera was a great type of music. Everyone could enjoy and love opera. Opera spread to other countries and languages. The Symphony Symphony means “a sounding together.” Combines the voices of all the instruments of the orchestra. Symphony orchestras started small in the Renaissance (before the Baroque), but by the Classical, because of Mozart and Haydn, it developed into a larger group and the symphony music became a standard four-movement composition. Symphony Orchestras play a type of music called a 'Symphony." The Printing Press The printing press was used to print music and distribute it to many countries using companies called ‘music publishing houses’. It was a money making opportunity and was the main reason that patronage was on the way out. Shifting from Patronage to Freelancing During their lifetimes, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven saw the shift in power from the wealthy and church to the middle class. Because of this shift, they could be more free and not have to rely on patronage to survive. Each of these composers shows a different stage of moving from patronage to freelance composing. Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809) Haydn was a composer that thrived on the patronage system. He was born in a small village in southern Austria. Started his music instruction at age six. He attended choir school, like Bach. He became a teacher and accompanist and was hired
to lead a small orchestra for a nobleman until age 29. For 30 years he was in charge of music for the Esterhazy family,
a royal family in Austria and wrote many musical works. He died very rich and famous. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. He was a child prodigy. He began music lessons at four, was composing at five, and was touring Europe and playing for royalty by the age of six. As an adult, he was successful as an opera composer and produced a huge amount of compositions in his short life. He attempted to break away from the patronage lifestyle, but, was unable to be successful at this.
He died, at age 35, poor and unpopular. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Beethoven was the main reason for the rise of the next style period, the romantic period. He learned from Mozart and Haydn, but he soon establish his own style of composing. Born in Bonn, Germany. He did not have a happy childhood. He became a famous pianinst in the new music center of the world, Vienna, Austria. He was the first successful composer to completely break away from patronage. In his later years, he became deaf, yet, he still wrote beautiful music that was very emotional, stirring and turbulent.
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