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(#11) Unit 3: The Classical and Romantic Eras: The Rise of Classicism

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Lori Roy

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of (#11) Unit 3: The Classical and Romantic Eras: The Rise of Classicism

The Classical Era
Music and the Enlightenment
In the second half of the 18th century, a new musical style emerged in Europe. This style, called the Classical style, had important pioneers in Italy and Germany, but the main place it developed was in
Enlighten me about the Enlightenment
He is the perfect example of a ruler of the Enlightenment, which was an important intellectual movement characterized by a rather liberal view on things.
"The Pursuit of Happiness"
We are familiar with the phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but it was during the enlightenment that people first thought to consider happiness as a right.
Rousseau and Opera
All art forms at this time became less dramatic, grand, and opulent. They were intended more for light amusement (no more grand sad stories of Orpheus).
Yes, but how did the STYLE actually change?
Keep in mind that the goal for classical music was for it to be "pleasing," and "natural."
Vienna, Austria.
Geographically, Austria was at the crossroads of four important nations: Germany, Bohemia (Czech Republic), Hungary, and Italy. It was also flourishing under some very capable rulers: the powerful Empress Maria Theresa, and then the enlightened Emperor Joseph II.
Joseph II's rule was very short (1780-1790) but it was marked by tremendous reform. During his reign, he emancipated the peasantry,
furthered education, reduced the power of the clergy, encouraged
free press, and supported music and literature with his patronage.
Donnerbrunnen Fountain in Neueur Markt Square, Vienna was built 1737 (Baroque era) upon order of the city. Removed in 1770, renovated and reinstituted in 1801.
Emperor Joseph II.

The Enlightenment was originally centered in France and started with a belief in reason that led to the great scientific discoveries of the Baroque period. (Remember Galileo and Newton?)

Reason is the ability to apply facts and evidence to reach a conclusion, rather than using faith or intuition.

During the Baroque era, reason was primarily limited to scientific discoveries. During the enlightenment, people began to apply it to problems of morality, education, and politics.
Enlightenment Thinkers Included
Jean- Jacques Rousseau
John Locke
Denis Diderot
And in America, our Enlightenment thinkers were Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin
We see this reflected in the way the people of this age lived: they were appreciative of intelligence, wit, and sensitivity. It was an age of cultivated conversation, of social arts, of salons and coffee houses.

This is the first time in history that we see
public concerts.
No, not a "saLAWN"...
....a "SAlon." Like Oprah's
book club for Enlightenment
Instead, art really began to focus on everyday people. We started to see sharp, realistic observations of contemporary life, and sensitive depictions of feeling.
This is also the first time we began to see novels, as literature became more publicly accessible. Voltaire wrote "Candide," Jane Austen wrote "Pride and Prejudice," Sense and Sensibility," etc., Henry Fielding wrote "Tom Jones."

Music also became more accessible, simpler, tuneful, easy to listen to and to play by people of any class. Goal is to be pleasing and natural. There is a new trend of study of music theory and technique.
Jean Jacques Rousseau himself launched a great attack on Baroque opera, saying that the complicated plots were impossibly artificial and that the music was too dramatic.
Instead, a new opera style was being developed:
"opera buffa"
"Opera buffa" was light, had simpler music, funnier plots, less complicated sets, and contrasted greatly with Baroque "opera seria."
Examples of "opera buffa:"
Mozart's"Don Giovanni"
"Cosi fan tutte," and "Le Nozze
di Figaro."

Pergolesi's "La serva padrona"

Rousseau's "Le devin du village"
Rhythm: People began to consider the "inspired repetition" of the Baroque to be dreary, obvious, and boring. Rhythms in classical music became highly flexible.
Dynamics: Variety and flexibility were also introduced into the dynamics. This was the first time composers worked extensively with moving dynamics from piano to forte with gradations in the middle. These gradations were called "crescendo" (growing louder) and "decrescendo" or "diminuendo" (getting softer).
Also rising in popularity was
the "pianoforte," aka the "piano."
It displaced the harpsichord in
Tone Color: Sometimes you had woodwinds and brass in Baroque orchestras. In the Classical orchestra, they were given regular roles and
sometimes were even given their own passages.
Melody: Melodies existed. Before, they didn't not really. Here we had stuff that people would remember, that was singable, that would get stuck in your head.
Texture: Homophony ruled. When composers started writing music that featured tunes, they naturally made everything else accompaniment. Polyphony was used far less.
The rise of homophony was not just a
reaction against the Baroque, but also a
positive step toward sensitivity.
Composers started using specific chords
and chord progressions for their color, or
Form in Classical Music
If everything is supposed to be simple and natural however, and we're not going to have a lot of repetition, the surely these pieces are going to be very short, right?
Not exactly. There was some repetition, but it was crafted and existed within larger forms.
Binary: ab. Ternary: aba (common song and aria form)
Sonata form: aa, baba (exposition, development and recapitulation)
Minuet form: aa,bb or aa', bb'
Rondo: abacaba
Theme and variations. a, a', a'', a''' etc.
I do not agree with what you
have to say, but I'll defend to
the death your right to say it!

Le Nozze di Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro as an example of Opera buffa and Classical style.
We start with the overture, where you can hear the new stylings of the Classical era. (Hear how sounds and colors are passed around the orchestra? Hear how there is a melody that is not terribly ornamented, and you can sing it?)
The Marriage of Figaro is an opera in 4 acts composed in 1786. The libretto is by Lorenzo da Ponte and it is based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais.
The first song is between Susanna and Figaro, who are going to be married. What is
being shown is "couples' talk" from 200 years ago.
"Via resti servita"
Overture and
"Cinque, dieci, venti, trenta"
Later, we have a spiteful duet between Susanna and Marcellina, an older character Figaro had once promised to marry if he defaulted on a loan she had given him: "Via restia servita."
Mozart Symphony No. 40
Full transcript