Romanticism in Music Essay

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Romanticism in Music

Romantic: of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealised, sentimental, or fantastic view of reality… concerned more with feeling and emotion than with form and aesthetic qualities. The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Eighth edition, 1991.

The term romantic first appeared at sometime during the latter half of the 18th Century, meaning in quite literal English, "romance-like", usually referring to the character of mythical medieval romances. The first significant jump was in literature, where writing became far more reliant on imagination and the freedom of thought and expression, in around 1750. Subsequent movements then began to follow in Music and Art, where the same kind of imagination and expression
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The Classical Period had lasted from around 1750 -- 1820, and was itself a revolt against the previous Baroque era. The arts moved away from the heavily ornamented styles of the Baroque to a cleaner, uncluttered style, thought to be reminiscent of Ancient Greece, and many people interested in music were now the aristocracy rather than the church or monarchy. The social upheavals of the latter part of this period challenged these ideas, and the Age of Reason became the age of the individual, and the beginnings of Romanticism, with its non-rational and disordered reasoning, became predominant.

Early Romanticism and the Influence of Beethoven

The Romantic age, although having been in the background in literature in particular since 1750, really began to evolve into mainstream music with the shockwaves caused by the French Revolution. Opera was immediately modernised in France -- in particular a style later known as 'Rescue Opera', which typically depicted the capture of a heroine by an evil tyrant and then rescued gallantly by her lover. This genre showed the new way of thinking, that the evil was undone by human effort and not by the intervention of an almighty, superior being.

Ludwig van Beethoven, seen by many as a Classical composer, used the new romantic ideas in his own music. In 1805

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