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Romantic Music History
Transcript of Romantic Music History
Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven
Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Strauss
Unit 1: Classical
Symmetrical melodies, balanced phrases, tuneful
Clear rhythms, regular accents, dance rhythms
Diatonic harmony favored, tonic/dominant relationships expanded to become basis for large-scale forms
Continuously changing dynamics (cresc. & decresc.)
Changing tone colors between sections
Expansive, singing melodies, wide ranges, chromatic variations
Rhythmic diversity, use of rubato
Increased chromaticism, expanded concept of tonality
Increased range of dynamics
Continual change of blend and tone colors
Experimentation with new instruments and unusual ranges
Symphony, Concerto, Sonata, String Quartet
Opera, Mass, Solo song
Ternary form (ABA), Sonata-allegro form developed
Absolute music perferred
Symphony, Concerto, Sonata + Symphonic Poems, Solo piano works
Opera, mass, solo songs + solo voice/orchestra
Expansion of forms (longer, larger!)
Interest in continuous forms & programmatic forms
Secular music dominant
Aristocracy funded the arts through patronage system
Secular music still dominant
Gradual change to democracy allowed middle-class to experience the arts in a way that had never taken place before.
Piano becomes popular
String orchestra woodwinds and some brass (30-40 people)
Brass instruments acquire valves and therefore more complex ranges
Piano still popular
New instruments introduced - Tuba, English Horn, Saxophone
Orchestras increase in size
Farm laborers and artisans flocked to the
manufacturing centers and became industrial workers.
Cities grew rapidly, and the percentage of farmers in the total population declined.
The population of England as a whole began to increase rapidly after the middle of the 18th century.
Because of progress in medical knowledge and sanitation, fewer people died in infancy or childhood and the average length of life increased.
Industrial Revolution & Music
There were major improvements in the mechanical valves and
keys that most woodwinds and brass instruments depend on.
The new, improved instruments could be played more easily and reliably, and often had a bigger, fuller, better-tuned sound.
As wind instruments improved, more and more winds were added to the orchestra, and their musical parts became more and more difficult, interesting, and important.
Improvements in the mechanics of the piano also helped it usurp the position of the harpsichord to become the instrument that symbolized Romantic music.
Gradual democratization of the society brought more educational opportunities.
Conservatories were established in the major cities of Europe and more and better trained musicians became available.
Composers could now count on higher
skilled musicians, so they began to
experiment with more technically
Middle Class & Music
Classical composers lived on the patronage of the
aristocracy; their audience was generally small, upper-class,
and knowledgeable about music.
The Romantic composer, on the other hand, was often writing for public concerts and festivals, with large audiences of paying customers who had not necessarily had any music lessons.
In fact, the nineteenth century saw the first "pop star"-type stage personalities. Performers like Paganini and Liszt were the Elvis Presleys of their day.
Romantics push it to the limit
Romantic-era composers kept the forms of Classical music,
but the Romantic composer did not feel constrained by form. Breaking through boundaries was now an honorable goal.
If the Classical Period is the parent, then the Romantic Period is its unruly teenager. Known for breaking the rules of Classical Period composition and structure, the Romantic Period explores the use of large ensembles, extreme emotion, and wild orchestration.
The personal sufferings and triumphs of the composer could be reflected in stormy music that might even place a higher value on emotion than on beauty.
Music was not just happy or sad; it could be wildly joyous, terrified, despairing, or filled with deep longings.
Unit 2: Development of Romantic
Many nineteenth-century composers
(including Weber, Wagner, Verdi, Mussorgsky,
Rimsky-Korsakov, Grieg, Dvorak, Sibelius, and Albeniz) used folk tunes and other aspects of the musical traditions of their own countries to appeal to their public.
Songs in which all verses or stanzas of the text are sung to the same music. This is like verses in a pop song where the tune is the same but lyrics are different.
Music composed from beginning to end without
repetitions of whole sections.
The music follows the story line, changing with each stanza according to the text.
This makes it possible for the composer to change the music to fit the meaning of the words - sad sounds to fit sad words or joyous melodies to fit ecstatic moments.
German for “song.”
A Lied is a solo vocal song with piano accompaniment
Composers wrote groups of “Lieder” (songs) that had a story or narrative attached to it - this is known as a song cycle.
Themes of the Lied
Favorite themes for the Lied were love and longing, the beauty of nature, and the transcience of human happiness.
In a very short period of time the Lied became very popular and was a huge contributor to the music of the day.
Composers of the Lied
Among the many masters of this new art song were Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf.
Schubert's "Die Forelle"
"Im wunderschönen Monat Mai"
by Robert Schumann
Sibelius' tone poem "Finlandia"
Brahms Symphony No. 3
Unit 4: Program Music
Program music is music that, without words, tells a story or describes a scene.
Unlike the abstract music of the Classical period, Romantic-era program music tried to use music to describe or evoke specific places, people, and ideas.
A piece of program music for orchestra that has only
one movement, but has contrasting sections.
It develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene, or creates a mood.
It is different than the concert overtures in that unlike concert overtures that retain one of the traditional Classical forms, the symphonic form has the freedom to explore beyond those Classical restrictions.
The Symphonic Poem is also known as the “Tone Poem.”
The Tone Poem is the Romantic Period’s one original contribution
to the large forms. It is attributed to Franz Liszt who first
coined the term in 1848.Liszt’s “Les Preludes” is one
of the best known examples of Tone Poem.
Strauss' tone poem "Don Juan"
Usually consists of an overture and a collection of several pieces that are performed between the acts and during important scenes.
Romantic composers wrote several works that were used for tone painting (instrumental pictorialization), introducing and defining characters on stage, and creating a general theatre atmosphere.
Still used today in:
movie film music, playing a very important role in what Aaron Copland says, “warning the screen.” (identifying characters that are about to be shown on the screen).
Television background music for dramas
Mendelssohn's Incidental Music from
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The initial drive toward program music comes from the opera
house, where the overture was a rousing orchestral piece, in one movement, that was designed to introduce the opera or playSeveral operatic overtures became popular as independent concert pieces.
Because of the popularity of the operatic overture, a new type of overture was conceived.The new overtures were not associated with a larger work or opera. These overtures were intended to stand alone as a concert piece.
They can be sased on a striking literary idea, like Tchaikovsky’s, “Romeo and Juliet”
or descriptive, like Mendelssohn’s, “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave)" a patriotic idea, as in Tchaikovsky’s, “1812 Overture.”
Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet"
Choral Music & Opera
During this time choral music grew in popularity
as a wonderful group activity that involved an increasing number of music lovers. Singing in a chorus attracted music lovers who had never learned to play an instrument, or were unable to afford to buy.
The most prominent composer of German Romantic Opera was Richard Wagner. Unlike most composers, he wrote the libretto as well as the music for his operas.
Vincenzo Bellini was the primary romantic opera composer at the beginning of the romantic period. He was known for his long-flowing melodic lines. This gave birth to the genre of Belcanto. This is the italian word for "Beautiful voice" and refers to the style of singing that dominated Italian Opera in the Romantic period.
Smaller, less pretentious, simpler style
Featured spoken dialogue instead of recitative
Included wit and satire
Jacques Offenbach’s “Orphee aux enfers” (Orpheus in the Underworld) was one of the most popular with Parisian audiences.
Not always light-hearted in nature (Carmen is an opera comique but is a tragedy).
Paris Grand Opera
Serious, historical themes.
Big and spectacular.
Huge choruses, large crowd scenes, ornate costumes and scenery.
Grand Opera was as much a spectacle as a musical event.
Giacomo Meyerbeer is credited with bringing Grand Opera to Paris with his Robert le diable (Robert the Devil) and Les Huguenots.
This served to alleviate the drabness of life in the factory towns, and it had the support of the authorities, who felt it would keep the people from “political” thoughts and meetings if they were involved in the choruses.
There are three main forms
of choral music during this period:
Mass, Requiem, and Oratorio.
All three were intended for performance in the
church in past music periods, but now they found a home in the concert halls.
The main genre of secular choral music at the time are called as “partsongs” - or songs in three or four voice parts.
Partsongs are short, melodious compositions that were not too difficult for amateurs.
Very popular with singers and listeners, they played
an important part in connecting the population
with the music of the time.
No. 29 "He Watching Over Israel"
"L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Bizet's
Wagner's operas can be characterized by his use of complex textures, rich harmonies, thick orchestration, and his use of
is a musical phrase associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. His operas put equal importance on the orchestra and singer.
He pushed for a type of opera that fused the musical, visual, poetic and dramatic elements together to create what he termed
. This means "total work of art."
Wagner's Tristan & Isolde
After Bellini, Verdi dominated the Italian opera scene. He is the direct opposite of Wagner and continues much more in the traditional style of Opera established in the classical period.
Triumphal March from Verdi's