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The Classical Era
Transcript of The Classical Era
Life in the Classical Era
The Classical Era is called "classical" because there was a lot of interest in the classical philosophies and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire wrote a great deal about the value of the common person, an idea which was central in the French Revolution (1789-1799). This led to the first public performances of music, as music was not just for the rich and powerful, it was for everyone.
Mozart and Haydn
The Elements of Music in Classical Music
Michael Meets Mozart
The Piano Guys have taken some Mozart themes and mixed them together to sound very current. Do you hear anything else that sounds familiar?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn were the two most important composers of the Classical Era. Music in this time was very highly structured, almost mathematical. Classical music is less complex than Baroque and more homophonic than polyphonic. It is lighter and more controlled to reflect the emphasis on the common man that dominated popular thought in this period.
Duration refers not only to how long notes are, but how they are grouped. Classical music has well defined metre, meaning you can tap your toes, and has a variety of note lengths.
Pitch refers to how high or low a note is. Classical music contained lots of high and low notes that moved in scale patterns up and down.
Dynamics refers to how loud or soft a note is. In the Classical period, you see the development of the crescendo and the decrescendo, or the first gradual change in dynamics.
Timbre or tone colour refers to the instrumentation of a piece of music. In Classical music, the symphony orchestra makes its' first appearance, and the harpsichord is replaced by the piano.
Form refers to the overall organization of the music. In the Classical era, form was incredibly important. Forms included:
Theme and Variations
Texture refers to the layers within music. What texture was prominent in the Classical era?
Storming the Bastille
The American Revolution
The Plains of Abraham
Franz Joseph Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig van Beethoven
Important Historic Events:
- Wolfe defeated the French at Plains of Abraham
- Boston Tea Party
- American Revolution
- French Revolution
- Napoleon, George Washington
- Emphasis on common man
- First public concerts
Instruments of the Classical Era
Strings: Violin (in orchestras and chamber music, typically there are first violins and second violins), Viola, Cello, Contrabass
Woodwinds: Basset clarinet, Basset horn, Clarinette d'amour, Classical clarinet, Chalumeau, Flute, Oboe, Bassoon
Keyboards: Clavichord, Fortepiano, Harpsichord (fell out of use in the late 18th century)
Brass: Valved trumpet, Ophicleide (serpent replacement, precursor of tuba), French horn
Establishment of symphony orchestra
John Singleton Copley
Etienne Maurice Falconet