Chapter 12 classical style
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Chapter 12: Classical Style. The Classical Era (1750-1820). Musical proportion, balance, and formal correctness Emulation of the art of ancient Greece and Rome Classical architecture: geometric shapes, balance, symmetrical design, lack of clutter. The Enlightenment.

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Chapter 12: Classical Style

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Chapter 12 classical style

Chapter 12: Classical Style


The classical era 1750 1820

The Classical Era (1750-1820)

  • Musical proportion, balance, and formal correctness

  • Emulation of the art of ancient Greece and Rome

  • Classical architecture: geometric shapes, balance, symmetrical design, lack of clutter


The enlightenment

The Enlightenment

  • Also called the Age of Reason

  • Pursuit of truth and discovery of natural laws

  • Encyclopedia Britannica and the French Encyclopédie

  • Scientific advances

  • Growth of the middle class

  • Age of Revolution

    • American Revolution – Declaration of Independence, 1776

    • French Revolution – storming of the Bastille, 1789


The democratization of classical music public concerts

The Democratization of Classical Music:Public Concerts

  • Performances gradually moved from the palace to the concert hall

  • Supported by the middle class

  • Concert spirituel: Successful Parisian concert series

    • First noncourt orchestra played on a regular schedule of performances

    • Two-tiered price scheme for a subscription series made performance accessible to several strata of society

    • Commercialization of a shared musical experience

  • London – Vauxhall Gardens

  • Vienna – Burgtheater (City Theatre) opened in 1759


The rise of popular opera

The Rise of Popular Opera

  • Comic Opera: Expressed middle class values; satire of pompous and incompetent aristocrats

    • Also called Opera buffa

    • Use of everyday characters and situations

    • Use of da capo arias (ABA)

    • Sight gags, bawdy humor, and social satire

    • Reflected social change as well as inspired it


The advent of the piano

The Advent of the Piano

  • Invented in Italy around 1700

  • Replaced the harpsichord

  • Could play more than one dynamic level

    • Originally named the pianoforte

  • Amateur music making in the home

    • Many amateur pianists were women

    • Simpler, more homophonic style of keyboard music


Elements of classical style

Elements of Classical Style

  • Melody: Tuneful, catchy, singable melodies

    • Simple and short with balanced phrases

      • Antecedent and Consequent phrases

  • Example from Mozart’s Piano Concert in C major (1785)


Elements of classical style1

Elements of Classical Style

  • Harmony: Harmonic rhythm much more fluid and flexible than in the Baroque music

    • Alberti Bass: Spreads out pitches of a chord to provide a steady steam of sound

  • Rhythm: More flexible rhythm

    • Greater variety within a single movement


Elements of classical style2

Elements of Classical Style

  • Texture: Mostly homophonic

    • Light and transparent

    • Thin bass and middle range

    • Counterpoint used sparingly and mainly for contrast


The dynamic mood of classical music

The Dynamic Mood of Classical Music

  • Use of rapid changes in mood, texture, color, and dynamics adds a new sense of urgency and drama

  • Use of crescendo and diminuendo

  • An Example of Classical Style: Mozart, Le nozzi di Figaro (1786)


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