Music During The Classical Period Essay

1833 Words 8 Pages
The term classical generally refers to something that has a wide and long lasting appeal. In music, it indicates the music written from about 1750 to 1825. Balance and order were two of the most important qualities of the music of this period. Simplicity, diversity and elegance prevailed in contrast to what was seen as the excessive, complex characteristics of Baroque music.

The seeds of the Classical age were sown by a number of composers whose names are now, for the most part, forgotten. They were representative of a period which is variously described as rococo, a gradual move away from the Baroque style, or galante, a style characterized by symmetry and balance. It was this style that came to dominate the music of the latter half of
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Large choral works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, and many of Mozart's operas made lasting contributions to the body of vocal literature. The major composers of the time focused, however, on new instrumental styles and forms. Vocal music wasn't nearly as important as it had been in the past. For the most part, the Lieder (songs) written by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven are not considered to be as important as their instrumental work. The operas composed by Haydn to entertain the guests at Esterházy have vanished into history. Beethoven wrote only one opera, Fidelio.

In response to increasing complaints about the baroque style of opera where the stories were always mythical rather than about real people, and the music complex and difficult to comprehend, composers during the classical period developed a new concept called comic opera. Comic opera soon became very popular among the general audience due to its ordinary, unpretentious quality, which featured stories with amusing plots. The audience could easily understand and identify with the characters, and the music was much more approachable. Comic opera was known as opera buffa in Italy, opéra comique in France, and singspiel in Germany.

Christoph Willibald Gluck

The composer who was first able to bridge the cosmopolitan gap between French and Italian styles of opera was Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787). He was born in Germany, studied in Italy, and became famous in France. In the 1750s, a
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