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Classical Music And The Romantic Era

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Beginning circa 1820, and ending around 1910 (Paterson, 2017), the Romantic period followed the Classical era, marking the introduction of many changes to the overall sound and composition of music. The increased use of large orchestras, combined with the use of chromaticism and modulations, expressional devices such as dynamics, and sweeping melodies, led to a large amount of emotion being conveyed in pieces of music. An example featuring many of these techniques and features is Chopin’s “Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9”, No. 2, which was published in 1832 (AllMusic, 2017). 20th Century music, commonly referred to as “contemporary” music, followed the end of the Romantic period. The rise of popular music forms such as jazz, blues, and rock led to a large change in approach for the neoclassical composers, leading many into an avant-garde approach, such as John Cage. The introduction of electric amplification changed the overall sound of music, with new instruments being invented, as well as possibilities for foreign objects to be amplified. “Classical Gas”, by Mason Williams (1968), was written for classical guitar, as Williams felt there was a limited classical guitar repertoire, particularly amongst the popular music of the 1960s. Thus, he wrote Classical Gas, a piece inspired by the Classical era, but involving more modern instrumentation and a contemporary flavour (Williams, 2013).

“Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2” (for solo piano) is written in the form AABABAC, with B
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