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Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and .
Western world
, considered to be distinct from Western
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and ti ...

folk music
or
popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk & ...
traditions. It is sometimes distinguished as Western classical music, as the term "classical music" may also refer to non-Western traditions which exhibit similar formal qualities. In addition to formality, classical music is often characterized by complexity in its
musical form In music, form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book, ''Worlds of Music'', Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "th ...
and harmonic organization, particularly with the use of
polyphony Polyphony is a type of musical consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, , or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by , . Within the context of the ...
. Since at least the 9th-century it has been primarily a written tradition, spawning a sophisticated
notational
notational
system, as well as accompanying literature in analytical,
critical Critical or Critically may refer to: *Critical, or critical but stable, medical state Medical state is a term used to describe a hospital A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing s ...
,
historiographical Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the p ...
,
musicological Musicology (from Greek 'μουσική' (mousikē) for 'music' and 'λογος' (logos) for 'domain of study') is the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Musicology departments traditionally belong to the humanities, although som ...
and
philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real o ...
practices. A foundational component of
Western Culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired b ...
, classical music is frequently seen from the perspective of individual or
groups A group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. Groups of people * Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity * Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic identi ...
of
composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in any form, including vocal music (for a Singing, singer or choir), instrumental mus ...

composer
s, whose compositions, personalities and beliefs have fundamentally shaped its history. Rooted in the
patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists suc ...

patronage
of
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical build ...

church
s and
royal court A royal court is an extended royal household in a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. ...
s in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept of ''Europe'' as "the W ...

Western Europe
, early
medieval music Medieval music encompasses the sacred music, sacred and secular music of Western Europe during the Middle Ages, from approximately the 6th to 15th centuries. It is the Dates of classical music eras, first and longest major era of Western class ...
was chiefly
religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...
,
monophonic Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction (often shortened to mono) is sound intended to be heard as if it were emanating from one position. This contrasts with stereophonic sound Stereophonic sound or, more commonly, stereo, is a method of ...
and vocal, with the
music of ancient Greece The music of ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, ant ...
and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
influencing its thought and theory. The earliest extant music manuscripts date from the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
(800–888), around the time which Western
plainchant Plainsong or plainchant (calque In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional are ...
gradually unified into what is termed
Gregorian chant Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainsong, plainchant, a form of monophony, monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song in Latin (and occasionally Greek (language), Greek) of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed m ...

Gregorian chant
. Musical centers existed at the
Abbey of Saint Gall The Abbey of Saint Gall (german: Abtei St. Gallen) is a dissolved abbey (747–1805) in a Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Ch ...
, the
Abbey of Saint MartialThe Abbey of St Martial (french: Abbaye Saint-Martial, Limoges; Limousin: ''Abadiá de Sent Marçau de Limòtges'') was a monastery in Limoges, France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a ...
and
Saint Emmeram's Abbey St. Emmeram's Abbey (Kloster Sankt Emmeram or Reichsabtei Sankt Emmeram), now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, Schloss St. Emmeram, and St. Emmeram's Basilica, was a Benedictine Order, Benedictine monastery founded in about 739 in Regensburg in Ba ...
, while the 11th-century saw the development of
staff notation In Western musical notation, the staff (US) or stave (UK) (plural for either: staves) is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch or in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion ins ...
and increasing output from medieval music theorists. By the mid-12th century France became the major European musical center: the religious
Notre-Dame school The Notre-Dame school or the Notre-Dame school of polyphony refers to the group of composers working at or near the Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris from about 1160 to 1250, along with the music they produced. The only compos ...
first fully explored organized rhythms and polyphony, while secular music flourished with the
troubadour A troubadour (, ; oc, trobador ) was a composer and performer of Old Occitan Old Occitan ( Modern Occitan: ', ca, occità antic), also called Old Provençal, was the earliest form of the Occitano-Romance languages The Occitano-Romance or ...

troubadour
and ''
trouvère ''Trouvère'' (, ), sometimes spelled ''trouveur'' (, ), is the Northern French ('' langue d'oïl'') form of the ''langue d'oc Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no , ), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speaker ...
'' traditions led by poet-musician nobles. This culminated in the court sponsored French ''
ars nova upright=1.2, Page of the French manuscript '' B.N. Fr. 146 (ca. 1318), "the first practical source of music".
ars nova
'' and Italian
Trecento The Trecento (, also , ; short for , "1300") refers to the 14th century in Italian cultural history. Period Art Commonly, the Trecento is considered to be the beginning of the Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanin ...
, which evolved into ''
ars subtilior Image:CordierColor.jpg, upright=1.2, A chanson about love, ''Belle, bonne, sage'', by Baude Cordier, is in a heart shape, with red notes indicating rhythmic #Notational characteristics, alterations. ''Ars subtilior'' (Latin for 'subtler art') is ...
'', a stylistic movement of extreme rhythmic diversity. Beginning in the early 15th-century,
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...
composers of the influential
Franco-Flemish School The designation Franco-Flemish School (; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ), also called Netherlandish School, Burgundian School, Low Countries School, Flemish School, Dutch School, or Northern School, refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic voca ...
built off the harmonic principles in the English '' contenance angloise'', bringing sacred music to new standards, particularly the
mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
and
motet In Western classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both Religious music, liturgical (Religion, religious) and secular music, secular music. Historically, the term 'classica ...
. Northern Italy soon emerged as the central musical region, where the
Roman School Education in ancient Rome progressed from an informal, familial system of education in the early Republic to a tuition-based system during the late Republic and the Empire. The Roman education system was based on the Education in ancient Greece, G ...

Roman School
engaged in highly sophisticated methods of polyphony in genres such as the
madrigal A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition of the Renaissance (15th–16th c.) and early Baroque (1600–1750) eras. The polyphonic madrigal is unaccompanied, and the number of voices varies from two to eight, but usually features three ...
, which inspired the brief
English Madrigal School The English Madrigal School was the brief but intense flowering of the musical madrigal in England, mostly from 1588 to 1627, along with the composers who produced them. The English madrigals were a cappella, predominantly light in style, and gene ...
. The
Baroque period The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashi ...
(1580–1750) saw the relative standardization of common-practice
tonality Tonality is the arrangement of pitches and/or chords Chord may refer to: * Chord (music) A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches/frequencies consisting of multiple Musical note, notes (also called "pitches") that are heard ...
, as well as the increasing importance of
musical instruments A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who play ...

musical instruments
, which grew into ensembles of considerable size. Italy remained dominant, being the birthplace of opera, the soloist centered
concerto A concerto (; plural ''concertos'', or ''concerti'' from the Italian plural) is, from the Late Baroque (music), late Baroque era, mostly understood as an instrumental composition, written for one or more solo (music), soloists accompanied by an or ...

concerto
genre, the organized
sonata form Sonata form (also ''sonata-allegro form'' or ''first movement form'') is a musical form, musical structure generally consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middl ...
as well as the large scale vocal-centered genres of
oratorio An oratorio () is a large musical composition Musical composition can refer to an piece or work of , either or , the of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions ar ...

oratorio
and
cantata A cantata (; ; literally "sung", past participle feminine singular of the Italian verb ''cantare'', "to sing") is a vocal composition with an instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include s ...

cantata
. The
fugue a 6'' from ''The Musical Offering'', in the hand of Johann Sebastian Bach In music, a fugue () is a Counterpoint, contrapuntal Musical composition, compositional technique in two or more voice (music), voices, built on a Subject (music), subject ...
technique championed by
Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque music, Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suites and ''Brandenburg Concertos''; keyboard ...

Johann Sebastian Bach
exemplified the Baroque tendency for complexity, and as a reaction the simpler and song-like
galant music In music, galant refers to the style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * ...
and '' empfindsamkeit'' styles were developed. In the shorter but pivotal
classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
(1730–1820) composers such as
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
,
Joseph Haydn Franz Joseph Haydn (; ; 31 March 173231 May 1809) was an Austrian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in an ...

Joseph Haydn
, and
Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (, ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially class ...

Ludwig van Beethoven
created widely admired representatives of
absolute music Absolute music (sometimes abstract music) is music that is not explicitly "about" anything; in contrast to program music Program music or programme music is a type of instrumental art music Art music (alternatively called classical music, ...
, including
symphonies A symphony is an extended musical composition File:Chord chart.svg, 250px, Jazz and rock genre musicians may memorize the melodies for a new song, which means that they only need to provide a chord chart to guide improvising musicians. Musi ...

symphonies
,
string quartet A string quartet is a musical ensemble consisting of four string instrument, string players: two violin players, a viola player and a cellist. It is also a musical composition written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of t ...
s and concertos. The subsequent
Romantic music Romantic music is a stylistic movement in Western Classical music Classical music generally refers to the art music, formal musical tradition of the Western world, considered to be #Relationship to other music traditions, distinct from W ...
(1800–1910) focused instead on
programmatic music Program music or programme music is a type of instrumental art music that attempts to render an extra-musical narrative musically. The narrative itself might be offered to the audience through the piece's title, or in the form of Concert program, ...
, which the
art song An art song is a vocal music Vocal music is a type of singing Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers perform music (arias, recit ...
,
symphonic poem A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music, usually in a single continuous movement (music), movement, which illustrates or evokes the content of a poem, short story, novel, painting, landscape, or other (non-musical) source. The ...
and various
piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape ...

piano
genres were important vessels for. During this time
virtuosity ''Virtuosity'' is a 1995 American science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 by the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imagination'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci- ...
was celebrated, immensity was encouraged, while philosophy and
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target ...
were embedded—all aspects that converged in the operas of
Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Richard Wagner
. By the 20th-century, stylistic unification gradually dissipated while the prominence of popular music increased exponentially. Many composers actively avoided past techniques and genres in the lens of
modernism Modernism is both a philosophical movement A philosophical movement refers to the phenomenon defined by a group of philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and ...
, with some abandoning tonality in place of
serialism In music, serialism is a method of composition Composition or Compositions may refer to: Arts * Composition (dance), practice and teaching of choreography * Composition (music), an original piece of music and its creation *Composition (visual ...
, while others found new inspiration in folk melodies or
impressionist Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement characterized by relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage o ...
sentiments. After World War II, for the first time audience members valued older music over
contemporary Contemporary history, in English-language historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. ...
works, a preference which has been catered to by the emergence and widespread availability of commercial recordings. Increasingly global, practitioners from the Americas, Africa and Asia have obtained crucial roles, while symphony orchestras and
opera house An opera house is a theatre building used for performances of opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present ...

opera house
s now appear across the world.


Terminology and definition


Ideological origins

Both the English term "classical" and the German equivalent ''
klassik
klassik
'' developed from the French '' classique'', itself derived from the Latin word ''
classicus
classicus
'', which originally referred to the highest
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
of Ancient Roman citizens. In Roman usage, the term later became a means to distinguish revered literary figures; the Roman author
Aulus Gellius Aulus Gellius (c. 125after 180 AD) was a Roman author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
commended writers such as
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a statesman and orator of . His constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight in ...

Demosthenes
and
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
as ''classicus''. By the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, the adjective had acquired a more general meaning: an entry in
Randle Cotgrave Randle Cotgrave was an English lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular s ...
's 1611 ''A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues'' is among the earliest extant definitions, translating ''classique'' as "classical, formall , orderlie, in due or fit ranke; also, approved, authenticall, chiefe, principall". The musicologist
Daniel Heartz Daniel Heartz (1928–2019) was an American Musicology, musicologist and professor emeritus of music at the University of California, Berkeley. Heartz studied at Harvard University. He lived in Berkeley, California. Honors * Recipient of Gugge ...
summarizes this into two definitions: 1) a "formal discipline" and 2) a "model of excellence". Like Gellius, later Renaissance scholars who wrote in Latin used ''classicus'' in reference to writers of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
; however, this meaning only gradually developed, and was for a while subordinate to the broader classical ideals of formality and excellence. Literature and arts—for which substantial Ancient Greek and Roman examples existed—did eventually adopt the term "classical" as relating to classical antiquity, but virtually no music of that time was available to Renaissance musicians, limiting the connection between classical music and the
Greco-Roman world The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were ...
. This is why the
Neoclassicism Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism; from Ancient Greek, Greek νέος ''nèos'', "new" and Ancient Greek, Greek κλασικός ''klasikόs'', "of the highest rank") was a Western cultural movement in the decorative arts, decorative a ...
movement of the mid 18th-century was widespread in fields such as architecture and painting but not music. It was in 18th-century England that the term "'classical' first came to stand for a particular canon of works in performance."
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
had developed a prominent public concert music scene, unprecedented and unmatched by other European cities. The royal court had gradually lost its monopoly on music, in large part from instability that the
Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
's dissolution and the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
enacted on court musicians. In 1672 the former court musician John Banister began giving popular public concerts at a London tavern; his popularity rapidly inaugurated the prominence of public concerts in the London. The conception of "classical"—or more often "ancient music"—emerged, which was still built on the principles of formality and excellence, and according to Heartz "civic ritual, religion and moral activism figured significantly in this novel construction of musical taste". The performance of such music was specialized by the
Academy of Ancient Music The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) is a British period-instrument orchestra based in Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately north of London. ...
and later at the Concerts of Antient Music series, where the work of select 16th and 17th composers was featured, especially
George Frideric Handel George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (; baptised , ; 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740 ...
. In France, the reign of
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the List of longest-reigning mo ...

Louis XIV
() saw a cultural renaissance, by the end of which writers such as
Molière Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (; 15 January 1622 (baptised) – 17 February 1673), known by his stage name Molière (, , ), was a French playwright, actor, and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language Fre ...

Molière
,
Jean de La Fontaine Jean de La Fontaine (, , ; 8 July 162113 April 1695) was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his '' Fables'', which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Euro ...

Jean de La Fontaine
and
Jean Racine Jean Racine ( , ), baptized Baptism (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Jean Racine
were considered to have surpassed the achievements of classical antiquity. They were thus characterized as "classical", as was the music of
Jean-Baptiste Lully Jean-Baptiste Lully (, ; ; born Giovanni Battista Lulli, ; – 22 March 1687) was an Italian-born French composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, ...

Jean-Baptiste Lully
(and later
Christoph Willibald Gluck Christoph Willibald ( Ritter von) Gluck (; 2 July 1714 – 15 November 1787) was a composer of Italian and French opera in the early classical period. Born in the Upper Palatinate The Upper Palatinate (german: Oberpfalz, , ) is one of the seven ...

Christoph Willibald Gluck
), being designated as "l’opéra française classique". In the rest of
continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

continental Europe
, the abandonment of defining "classical" as analogous to the Greco-Roman World was slower, primarily because the formation of canonical repertoires was either minimal or exclusive to the upper classes. Many European commentators of the early 19th-century found new unification in their definition of classical music: to juxtapose the older composers
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
,
Joseph Haydn Franz Joseph Haydn (; ; 31 March 173231 May 1809) was an Austrian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in an ...

Joseph Haydn
, and (excluding some of his later works)
Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (, ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially class ...

Ludwig van Beethoven
as "classical" against the emerging style of
Romantic music Romantic music is a stylistic movement in Western Classical music Classical music generally refers to the art music, formal musical tradition of the Western world, considered to be #Relationship to other music traditions, distinct from W ...
. These three composers in particular were grouped into the First Viennese School, sometimes called the "Viennese classics", a coupling that remains problematic by reason of the none of the three being born in Vienna and the minimal time Haydn and Mozart spent in the city. While this was an often expressed characterization, it was not a strict one. In 1879 the composer Charles Kensington Salaman defined the following composers as classical: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, Weber, Spohr and Mendelssohn, while the musicologist Friedrich Blume "denied the possibility of stylistic unity within the period between the deaths of Bach and Beethoven". More broadly, some writers used the term "classical" to generally praise well-regarded outputs from various composers, particularly those who produced many works in an established genre.


Contemporary understanding

The contemporary understanding of the term "classical music" remains vague and multifaceted. Other terms such as "art music", "canonic music", "cultivated music" and "serious music" are largely synonymous. The term "classical music" is often indicated or implied to concern solely the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and .
Western world
, and conversely, in many academic histories the term "Western music" excludes non-classical Western music. Another complication lies in that "classical music" is sometimes used to describe non-Western art music exhibiting similar long-lasting and complex characteristics; examples include Indian classical music (Carnatic music, Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, Hindustani music), Gamelan music, and various styles of the court of Imperial China (see ''yayue'' for instance). Thus in the later 20th-century terms such as "Western classical music" and "Western art music" came in use to address this. The musicologist Ralph P. Locke notes that neither term is ideal, as they create an "intriguing complication" when considering "certain practitioners of Western-art music genres who come from non-Western cultures". Complexity in
musical form In music, form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book, ''Worlds of Music'', Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "th ...
and harmonic organization are typical traits of classical music. The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') offers three definitions for the word "classical" in relation to music: # "of acknowledged excellence" # "of, relating to, or characteristic of a formal musical tradition, as distinguished from popular or folk music" # and more specifically, "of or relating to formal European music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, characterized by harmony, balance, and adherence to established compositional forms". The last definition concerns what is now termed the Classical period (music), Classical period, a specific stylistic era of European music from the second half of the 18th-century to the beginning of the 19th century.


History

The major time divisions of classical music up to 1900 are the Early music period, which includes Medieval music, Medieval (500–1400) and
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...
(1400–1600) eras, and the Common practice period, which includes the Baroque music, Baroque (1600–1750), Classical period (music), Classical (1750–1820), and Romantic music, Romantic (1810–1910) eras. The current period encompasses the 20th-century classical music, 20th and the 21st century to date and includes the modernism (music), Modernist musical era and the Contemporary classical music, Contemporary or postmodern music, Postmodern musical era, the dates of which are often disputed. The dates are Dates of classical music eras, generalizations, since the periods and eras overlap and the categories are somewhat arbitrary, to the point that some authorities reverse terminologies and refer to a common-practice "era" comprising baroque, classical, and romantic "periods".


Roots

The Western classical tradition formally begins with music created by and for the early Christian Church. It is probable that the early Church wished to disassociate itself from the predominant
music of ancient Greece The music of ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, ant ...
and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
, as it was a reminder of the pagan religion it had Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire, persecuted and Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, been persecuted by. As such, it remains unclear as to what extent the music of the Christian Church, and thus Western classical music as a whole, was influenced by preceding ancient music. The general attitude towards music was adopted from the Ancient Greek and Ancient Rome, Roman music theorists and commentators; like in Greco-Roman society, music was seen as a central to education, and included in the ''quadrivium'' which, in combination with the ''trivium'', made up the standard liberal arts education of the Middle Ages. This high regard for music was first promoted by the scholars Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville, and particularly Boethius, whose transmission and expansion on the perspectives of music from Pythagoras, Aristotle and Plato were crucial in the development of medieval musical thought. However, scholars, List of medieval music theorists, medieval music theorists and List of medieval composers, composers regularly misinterpreted or misunderstood the writings of their Greek and Roman predecessors. This was due to the complete absence of surviving Greco-Roman musical works available to medieval musicians, to the extent that Isidore of Seville () stated "unless sounds are remembered by man, they perish, for they cannot be written down", unaware of the Musical system of ancient Greece, systematic notational practices of Ancient Greece centuries before. Musicologist Gustave Reese notes, however, that many Greco-Roman texts can still be credited as influential to Western classical music, since medieval musicians regularly read their works—regardless of whether they were doing so correctly. However, there are some indisputable musical continuations from the ancient world. Basic aspects such as monophony, improvisation and the dominance of text in musical settings are prominent in both early medieval in music of nearly all ancient civilizations. Greek influences in particular include the church modes (which were descendants of developments by Aristoxenus and Pythagoras), basic Acoustic theory, acoustical theory from pythagorean tuning, as well as the central function of tetrachords. Ancient Greek instruments such as the aulos (a reed instrument) and the lyre (a stringed instrument similar to a small harp) eventually led to several modern-day instruments of a symphonic orchestra. However, Donald Jay Grout notes that attempting to create a direct evolutionary connection from the ancient music to early medieval is baseless, as it was almost solely influenced by Greco-Roman music theory, not performance or practice.


Early music


Medieval

Medieval music includes Western European music from after the fall of the Western Roman Empire by 476 to about 1400. Monophony, Monophonic chant, also called plainsong or
Gregorian chant Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainsong, plainchant, a form of monophony, monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song in Latin (and occasionally Greek (language), Greek) of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed m ...

Gregorian chant
, was the dominant form until about 1100. Christian monks developed the first forms of European musical notation in order to standardize liturgy throughout the Church. Polyphony, Polyphonic (multi-voiced) music developed from monophonic chant throughout the late Middle Ages and into the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, including the more complex voicings of
motet In Western classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both Religious music, liturgical (Religion, religious) and secular music, secular music. Historically, the term 'classica ...
s. During the Early Middle Ages, earlier medieval period, the vocal music from the liturgy, liturgical genre, predominantly
Gregorian chant Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainsong, plainchant, a form of monophony, monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song in Latin (and occasionally Greek (language), Greek) of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregorian chant developed m ...

Gregorian chant
, was Monophony, monophonic, using a single, unaccompanied vocal melody line. Polyphony, Polyphonic vocal genres, which used multiple independent vocal melodies, began to develop during the High Middle Ages, high medieval era, becoming prevalent by the later 13th and early 14th century. Notable Medieval composers include Hildegard of Bingen, Léonin, Pérotin, Philippe de Vitry, Guillaume de Machaut, Francesco Landini, and Johannes Ciconia. Many List of medieval musical instruments, medieval musical instruments still exist, but in different forms. Medieval instruments included the flute, the Recorder (musical instrument), recorder and plucked string instruments like the lute. As well, early versions of the Organ (music), organ and fiddle (or vielle) existed. Medieval instruments in Europe had most commonly been used singly, often self accompanied with a drone (music), drone note, or occasionally in parts. From at least as early as the 13th century through the 15th century there was a division of instruments into ''haut'' (loud, shrill, outdoor instruments) and ''bas'' (quieter, more intimate instruments). A number of instrument have roots in Eastern predecessors that were Islamic world contributions to Medieval Europe, adopted from the medieval Islamic world. For example, the Arabic rebab is the ancestor of all European bowed string instruments, including the Byzantine lyra, lira, rebec and violin.


Renaissance

The Renaissance era was from 1400 to 1600. It was characterized by greater use of instrumentation (music), instrumentation, multiple interweaving melodic lines, and the use of the first Bass (sound), bass instruments. Social dancing became more widespread, so musical forms appropriate to accompanying dance began to standardize. It is in this time that the notation of music on a staff (music), staff and other elements of musical notation began to take shape. This invention made possible the separation of the Musical composition, composition of a piece of music from its ''transmission''; without written music, transmission was oral, and subject to change every time it was transmitted. With a Sheet music, musical score, a work of music could be performed without the composer's presence. The invention of the movable-type printing press in the 15th century had far-reaching consequences on the preservation and transmission of music. Many instruments originated during the Renaissance; others were variations of, or improvements upon, instruments that had existed previously. Some have survived to the present day; others have disappeared, only to be re-created in order to perform music on period instruments. As in the modern day, instruments may be classified as brass, strings, percussion, and woodwind. Brass instruments in the Renaissance were traditionally played by professionals who were members of Guilds and they included the slide trumpet, the wooden cornet, the valveless trumpet and the sackbut. Stringed instruments included the viol, the rebec, the harp-like lyre, the hurdy-gurdy, the lute, the guitar, the cittern, the Bandora (instrument), bandora, and the orpharion. Keyboard (music), Keyboard instruments with strings included the harpsichord and the clavichord. Percussion instruments include the Triangle (musical instrument), triangle, the Jew's harp, the tambourine, the bells, the rumble-pot, and various kinds of drums. Woodwind instruments included the double-reed shawm (an early member of the oboe family), the reed pipe, the bagpipe, the transverse flute, the Recorder (instrument), recorder, the dulcian, and the crumhorn. Simple pipe organs existed, but were largely confined to churches, although there were portable varieties. Printing enabled the standardization of descriptions and specifications of instruments, as well as instruction in their use. Vocal music in the Renaissance is noted for the flourishing of an increasingly elaborate polyphony, polyphonic style. The principal liturgical forms which endured throughout the entire Renaissance period were masses and motets, with some other developments towards the end, especially as composers of sacred music began to adopt secular forms (such as the
madrigal A madrigal is a secular vocal music composition of the Renaissance (15th–16th c.) and early Baroque (1600–1750) eras. The polyphonic madrigal is unaccompanied, and the number of voices varies from two to eight, but usually features three ...
) for their own designs. Towards the end of the period, the early dramatic precursors of opera such as monody, the madrigal comedy, and the intermedio are seen. Around 1597, Italian composer Jacopo Peri wrote ''Dafne'', the first work to be called an opera today. He also composed ''Euridice (Peri), Euridice'', the first opera to have survived to the present day. Notable Renaissance composers include Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, John Dunstaple, Johannes Ockeghem, Orlande de Lassus, Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Giovanni Gabrieli, Carlo Gesualdo, John Dowland, Jacob Obrecht, Adrian Willaert, Jacques Arcadelt, and Cipriano de Rore.


Common-practice period

The common practice period is typically defined as the era between the formation and the dissolution of common-practice
tonality Tonality is the arrangement of pitches and/or chords Chord may refer to: * Chord (music) A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches/frequencies consisting of multiple Musical note, notes (also called "pitches") that are heard ...
. The term usually spans roughly two-and-a-half centuries, encompassing the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods.


Baroque

Baroque music is characterized by the use of complex tonal counterpoint and the use of a basso continuo, a continuous bass line. Music became more complex in comparison with the simple songs of all previous periods. The beginnings of the
sonata form Sonata form (also ''sonata-allegro form'' or ''first movement form'') is a musical form, musical structure generally consisting of three main sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation. It has been used widely since the middl ...
took shape in the canzona, as did a more formalized notion of theme and variations. The tonalities of major and minor as means for managing dissonance and chromaticism in music took full shape. During the Baroque era, keyboard music played on the harpsichord and pipe organ became increasingly popular, and the violin family of stringed instruments took the form generally seen today. Opera as a staged musical drama began to differentiate itself from earlier musical and dramatic forms, and vocal forms like the
cantata A cantata (; ; literally "sung", past participle feminine singular of the Italian verb ''cantare'', "to sing") is a vocal composition with an instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include s ...

cantata
and
oratorio An oratorio () is a large musical composition Musical composition can refer to an piece or work of , either or , the of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions ar ...

oratorio
became more common. Vocalists for the first time began adding extra notes to the music. The theories surrounding equal temperament began to be put in wider practice, especially as it enabled a wider range of chromatic possibilities in hard-to-tune keyboard instruments. Although J.S. Bach did not use equal temperament, as a modern piano is generally tuned, changes in the temperaments from the meantone, meantone system, common at the time, to various temperaments that made modulation between all keys musically acceptable, made possible his ''Well-Tempered Clavier''. Baroque instruments included some instruments from the earlier periods (e.g., the hurdy-gurdy and recorder) and a number of new instruments (e.g., the oboe, bassoon, cello, contrabass and fortepiano). Some instruments from previous eras fell into disuse, such as the shawm, cittern, rackett, and the wooden cornet. The key Baroque instruments for strings included the Baroque violin, violin, viol, viola, viola d'amore, cello, contrabass, lute, theorbo (which often played the basso continuo parts), mandolin, Baroque guitar, harp and hurdy-gurdy. Woodwinds included the Baroque flute, Baroque oboe, Recorder (musical instrument), recorder and the bassoon. Brass instruments included the cornett, natural horn, natural trumpet, Serpent (instrument), serpent and the trombone. Keyboard instruments included the clavichord, the tangent piano, the harpsichord, the Organ (music), pipe organ, and, later in the period, the fortepiano (an early version of the piano). Percussion instruments included the timpani, snare drum, tambourine and the castanets. One major difference between Baroque music and the classical era that followed it is that the types of instruments used in Baroque ensembles were much less standardized. A Baroque ensemble could include one of several different types of keyboard instruments (e.g., pipe organ or harpsichord), additional stringed chordal instruments (e.g., a lute), bowed strings, woodwinds, and brass instruments, and an unspecified number of bass instruments performing the basso continuo,(e.g., a cello, contrabass, viola, bassoon, serpent, etc.). Vocal developments in the Baroque era included the development of opera types such as opera seria and opéra comique, and related forms such as
oratorio An oratorio () is a large musical composition Musical composition can refer to an piece or work of , either or , the of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions ar ...

oratorio
s and
cantata A cantata (; ; literally "sung", past participle feminine singular of the Italian verb ''cantare'', "to sing") is a vocal composition with an instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include s ...

cantata
s. Important composers of this era include
Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque music, Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suites and ''Brandenburg Concertos''; keyboard ...

Johann Sebastian Bach
, Antonio Vivaldi,
George Frideric Handel George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (; baptised , ; 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740 ...
, Henry Purcell, Claudio Monteverdi, Barbara Strozzi, Domenico Scarlatti, Georg Philipp Telemann, Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Jean-Philippe Rameau,
Jean-Baptiste Lully Jean-Baptiste Lully (, ; ; born Giovanni Battista Lulli, ; – 22 March 1687) was an Italian-born French composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, ...

Jean-Baptiste Lully
, and Heinrich Schütz.


Classical

Though the term "classical music" includes all Western art music from the Medieval era to the 2000s, the Classical Era was the period of Western art music from the 1750s to the early 1820s—the era of
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
,
Joseph Haydn Franz Joseph Haydn (; ; 31 March 173231 May 1809) was an Austrian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in an ...

Joseph Haydn
, and
Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (, ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially class ...

Ludwig van Beethoven
. The Classical era established many of the norms of composition, presentation, and style, and was also when the piano became the predominant keyboard instrument. The ''basic'' forces required for an orchestra became somewhat standardized (although they would grow as the potential of a wider array of instruments was developed in the following centuries). Chamber music grew to include ensembles with as many as 8 to 10 performers for serenade#Classical and Romantic eras, serenades. Opera continued to develop, with regional styles in Italy, France, and German-speaking lands. The ''opera buffa'', a form of comic opera, rose in popularity. The symphony came into its own as a musical form, and the concerto was developed as a vehicle for displays of virtuoso playing skill. Orchestras no longer required a harpsichord (which had been part of the traditional ''continuo'' in the Baroque style), and were often led by the lead violinist (now called the concertmaster). Classical era musicians continued to use many of instruments from the Baroque era, such as the cello, contrabass, recorder, trombone, timpani, fortepiano (the precursor to the modern
piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape ...

piano
) and organ. While some Baroque instruments fell into disuse (e.g., the theorbo and rackett), many Baroque instruments were changed into the versions that are still in use today, such as the Baroque violin (which became the violin), the Baroque oboe (which became the oboe) and the Baroque trumpet, which transitioned to the regular valved trumpet. During the Classical era, the stringed instruments used in orchestra and chamber music such as
string quartet A string quartet is a musical ensemble consisting of four string instrument, string players: two violin players, a viola player and a cellist. It is also a musical composition written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of t ...
s were standardized as the four instruments which form the string section of the orchestra: the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Baroque-era stringed instruments such as fretted, bowed viols were phased out. Woodwinds included the basset clarinet, basset horn, clarinette d'amour, the Classical clarinet, the chalumeau, the flute, oboe and bassoon. Keyboard instruments included the clavichord and the fortepiano. While the harpsichord was still used in basso continuo accompaniment in the 1750s and 1760s, it fell out of use at the end of the century. Brass instruments included the buccin, the ophicleide (a replacement for the bass serpent (instrument), serpent, which was the precursor of the tuba) and the natural horn. Wind instruments became more refined in the Classical era. While double reed, double-reed instruments like the oboe and bassoon became somewhat standardized in the Baroque, the clarinet family of single reeds was not widely used until Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mozart expanded its role in orchestral, chamber, and concerto settings. Major composers of this period include
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
,
Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (, ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially class ...

Ludwig van Beethoven
,
Joseph Haydn Franz Joseph Haydn (; ; 31 March 173231 May 1809) was an Austrian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in an ...

Joseph Haydn
,
Christoph Willibald Gluck Christoph Willibald ( Ritter von) Gluck (; 2 July 1714 – 15 November 1787) was a composer of Italian and French opera in the early classical period. Born in the Upper Palatinate The Upper Palatinate (german: Oberpfalz, , ) is one of the seven ...

Christoph Willibald Gluck
, Johann Christian Bach, Luigi Boccherini, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Muzio Clementi, Antonio Salieri, and Johann Nepomuk Hummel.


Romantic

The music of the Romantic era, from roughly the first decade of the 19th century to the early 20th century, was characterized by increased attention to an extended melodic line, as well as expressive and emotional elements, paralleling romanticism in other art forms. Musical forms began to break from the Classical era forms (even as those were being codified), with free-form pieces like nocturnes, Fantasia (music), fantasias, and Prelude (music), preludes being written where accepted ideas about the exposition and development of themes were ignored or minimized.#Swafford, Swafford, p. 200 The music became more chromatic, dissonant, and tonally colorful, with tensions (with respect to accepted norms of the older forms) about key signatures increasing.#Swafford, Swafford, p. 201 The
art song An art song is a vocal music Vocal music is a type of singing Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers perform music (arias, recit ...
(or ''Lied'') came to maturity in this era, as did the epic scales of grand opera, ultimately transcended by
Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Richard Wagner
's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Ring cycle. In the 19th century, musical institutions emerged from the control of wealthy patrons, as composers and musicians could construct lives independent of the nobility. Increasing interest in music by the growing middle classes throughout western Europe spurred the creation of organizations for the teaching, performance, and preservation of music. The piano, which achieved its modern construction in this era (in part due to industrial advances in metallurgy) became widely popular with the middle class, whose demands for the instrument spurred many piano builders. Many symphony orchestras date their founding to this era. Some musicians and composers were the stars of the day; some, like Franz Liszt and Niccolò Paganini, fulfilled both roles. European cultural ideas and institutions began to follow colonial expansion into other parts of the world. There was also a rise, especially toward the end of the era, of nationalism in music (echoing, in some cases, political sentiments of the time), as composers such as Edvard Grieg, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Antonín Dvořák echoed traditional music of their homelands in their compositions. In the Romantic era, the modern
piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape ...

piano
, with a more powerful, sustained tone and a wider range took over from the more delicate-sounding fortepiano. In the orchestra, the existing Classical instruments and sections were retained (string section, woodwinds, brass, and percussion), but these sections were typically expanded to make a fuller, bigger sound. For example, while a Baroque orchestra may have had two double bass players, a Romantic orchestra could have as many as ten. "As music grew more expressive, the standard orchestral palette just wasn't rich enough for many Romantic composers." The families of instruments used, especially in orchestras, grew larger; a process that climaxed in the early 20th century with very large orchestras used by late romantic and modernist composers. A wider array of percussion instruments began to appear. Brass instruments took on larger roles, as the introduction of rotary valves made it possible for them to play a wider range of notes. The size of the orchestra (typically around 40 in the Classical era) grew to be over 100. Gustav Mahler's 1906 Symphony No. 8 (Mahler), Symphony No. 8, for example, has been performed with over 150 instrumentalists and choirs of over 400. New woodwind instruments were added, such as the contrabassoon, bass clarinet and piccolo and new percussion instruments were added, including xylophones, snare drums, celestas (a bell-like keyboard instrument), bells, and Triangle (musical instrument), triangles, large orchestral harps, and even wind machines for sound effects. Saxophones appear in some scores from the late 19th century onwards, usually featured as a solo instrument rather than as in integral part of the orchestra. The Wagner tuba, a modified member of the horn family, appears in
Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Richard Wagner
's cycle ''Der Ring des Nibelungen''. It also has a prominent role in Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 (Bruckner), Symphony No. 7 in E Major and is also used in several late romantic and modernist works by Richard Strauss, Béla Bartók, and others Cornets appear regularly in 19th century scores, alongside trumpets which were regarded as less agile, at least until the end of the century. Prominent composers of this era include Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Frédéric Chopin, Hector Berlioz, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi,
Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner ( ; ; 22 May 181313 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...

Richard Wagner
, Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg, and Johann Strauss II. Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss are commonly regarded as transitional composers whose music combines both late romantic and early modernist elements.


20th and 21st centuries


Modernist

Encompassing a wide variety of Post-romanticism, post-Romantic styles, modernist classical music includes late romantic, impressionist, expressionist, and neoclassical styles of composition. Modernism marked an era when many composers rejected certain values of the common practice period, such as traditional tonality, melody, instrumentation, and structure. Some music historians regard musical modernism as an era extending from about 1890 to 1930. Others consider that modernism ended with one or the other of the two world wars. Still other authorities claim that modernism is not associated with any historical era, but rather is "an ''attitude'' of the composer; a living construct that can evolve with the times". Despite its decline in the last third of the 20th century, there remained at the end of the century an active core of composers who continued to advance the ideas and forms of modernism, such as Pierre Boulez, Pauline Oliveros, Toru Takemitsu, George Benjamin (composer), George Benjamin, Jacob Druckman, Brian Ferneyhough, George Perle, Wolfgang Rihm, Richard Wernick, Richard Edward Wilson, Richard Wilson, and Ralph Shapey. Two musical movements that were dominant during this time were the Impressionist music, impressionist beginning around 1890 and the Expressionist music, expressionist that started around 1908. It was a period of diverse reactions in challenging and reinterpreting older categories of music, innovations that lead to new ways of organizing and approaching harmonic, melodic, sonic, and rhythmic aspects of music, and changes in aesthetic worldviews in close relation to the larger identifiable period of modernism in the arts of the time. The operative word most associated with it is "innovation". Its leading feature is a "linguistic plurality", which is to say that no single music genre ever assumed a dominant position. The orchestra continued to grow in size during the early years modernist era, peaking in the first two decades of the 20th century. Saxophones that appeared only rarely during the 19th century became more commonly used as supplementary instruments, but never became core members of the orchestra. While appearing only as featured solo instruments in some works, for example Maurice Ravel's orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's ''Pictures at an Exhibition'' and Sergei Rachmaninoff's ''Symphonic Dances (Rachmaninoff), Symphonic Dances'', the saxophone is included in other works such as Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev)#Orchestral suites extracted from Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet Suites 1 and 2 and many other works as a member of the orchestral ensemble. In some compositions such as Ravel's ''Boléro'', two or more saxophones of different sizes are used to create an entire section like the other sections of the orchestra. The euphonium is featured in a few late Romantic music, Romantic and 20th-century classical music, 20th century works, usually playing parts marked "tenor tuba", including Gustav Holst's ''The Planets'', and Richard Strauss's ''Ein Heldenleben''. Prominent composers of the early 20th century include Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Arnold Schoenberg, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Anton Webern, Alban Berg, Cécile Chaminade, Paul Hindemith, Aram Khachaturian, George Gershwin, Amy Beach, Béla Bartók, and Dmitri Shostakovich, along with the aforementioned Mahler and Strauss as transitional figures who carried over from the 19th century.


Post-modern/contemporary

Postmodern music is a period of music that began as early as 1930 according to some authorities. It shares characteristics with postmodern art, postmodernist art – that is, art that comes after and reacts against modernism. Some other authorities have more or less equated postmodern music with the "contemporary music" composed well after 1930, from the late 20th century through to the early 21st century. Some of the diverse movements of the postmodern/contemporary era include the neoromantic, neomedieval, minimalist, and post minimalist. Contemporary classical music at the beginning of the 21st century was often considered to include all post-1945 musical forms. A generation later, this term now properly refers to the music of today written by composers who are still alive; music that came into prominence in the mid-1970s. It includes different variations of Modernism (music), modernist, Postmodern music, postmodern, Neoromanticism (music), neoromantic, and Eclecticism in music, pluralist music.


Performance

Performers who have studied classical music extensively are said to be "classically trained". This training may come from private lessons from instrument or voice teachers or from completion of a formal program offered by a Conservatory, college or university, such as a Bachelor of Music or Master of Music degree (which includes individual lessons from professors). In classical music, "...extensive formal music education and training, often to postgraduate [Master's degree] level" is required. Performance of classical music repertoire requires a proficiency in sight-reading and Musical ensemble, ensemble playing, Harmony, harmonic principles, strong ear training (to correct and adjust pitches by ear), knowledge of performance practice (e.g., Baroque ornamentation), and a familiarity with the style/musical idiom expected for a given composer or musical work (e.g., a Brahms symphony or a Mozart concerto). The key characteristic of European classical music that distinguishes it from
popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.Popular Music. (2015). ''Funk & ...
,
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and ti ...

folk music
, and some other classical music traditions such as Indian classical music, is that the repertoire tends to be written down in musical notation, creating a musical part or Sheet music, score. This score typically determines details of rhythm, pitch, and, where two or more musicians (whether singers or instrumentalists) are involved, how the various parts are coordinated. The written quality of the music has enabled a high level of complexity within them:
fugue a 6'' from ''The Musical Offering'', in the hand of Johann Sebastian Bach In music, a fugue () is a Counterpoint, contrapuntal Musical composition, compositional technique in two or more voice (music), voices, built on a Subject (music), subject ...
s, for instance, achieve a remarkable marriage of boldly distinctive melodic lines weaving in counterpoint yet creating a coherent Diatonic function, harmonic logic. The use of written notation also preserves a record of the works and enables Classical musicians to perform music from many centuries ago. Although Classical music in the 2000s has lost most of its tradition for musical improvisation, from the Baroque era to the Romantic era, there are examples of performers who could improvise in the style of their era. In the Baroque era, organ performers would improvise prelude (music), preludes, keyboard performers playing harpsichord would improvise chord (music), chords from the figured bass symbols beneath the bass notes of the basso continuo part and both vocal and instrumental performers would improvise musical ornaments.
Johann Sebastian Bach Johann Sebastian Bach (28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque music, Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suites and ''Brandenburg Concertos''; keyboard ...

Johann Sebastian Bach
was particularly noted for his complex improvisations. During the Classical era, the composer-performer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
was noted for his ability to improvise melodies in different styles. During the Classical era, some virtuoso soloists would improvise the cadenza sections of a concerto. During the Romantic era,
Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (, ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially class ...

Ludwig van Beethoven
would improvise at the piano.


Women in classical music

Almost all of the composers who are described in music textbooks on classical music and whose works are widely performed as part of the Western canon, standard concert repertoire are male composers, even though there has been a List of female composers, large number of women composers throughout the classical music period. Musicologist Marcia Citron has asked "[w]hy is Women in music, music composed by women so marginal to the standard 'classical' repertoire?". Citron "examines the practices and attitudes that have led to the exclusion of women composers from the received 'Western canon, canon' of performed musical works". She argues that in the 1800s, women composers typically wrote
art song An art song is a vocal music Vocal music is a type of singing Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers perform music (arias, recit ...
s for performance in small recitals rather than
symphonies A symphony is an extended musical composition File:Chord chart.svg, 250px, Jazz and rock genre musicians may memorize the melodies for a new song, which means that they only need to provide a chord chart to guide improvising musicians. Musi ...

symphonies
intended for performance with an orchestra in a large hall, with the latter works being seen as the most important genre for composers; since women composers did not write many symphonies, they were deemed not to be notable as composers. In the "...''Concise Oxford History of Music'', Clara Schumann, Clara S[c]humann is one of the only female composers mentioned." Abbey Philips states that "[d]uring the 20th century the women who were composing/playing gained far less attention than their male counterparts." Historically, major professional orchestras have been mostly or entirely composed of musicians who are men. Some of the earliest cases of women in music, women being hired in professional orchestras was in the position of harpist. The Vienna Philharmonic, for example, did not accept women to permanent membership until 1997, far later than the other orchestras ranked among the world's top five by ''Gramophone (magazine), Gramophone'' in 2008. The last major orchestra to appoint a woman to a permanent position was the Berlin Philharmonic. As late as February 1996, the Vienna Philharmonic's principal flute, Dieter Flury, told ''Westdeutscher Rundfunk'' that accepting women would be "gambling with the emotional unity () that this organism currently has". In April 1996, the orchestra's press secretary wrote that "compensating for the expected leaves of absence" of maternity leave would be a problem. In 1997, the Vienna Philharmonic was "facing protests during a [US] tour" by the National Organization for Women and the International Alliance for Women in Music. Finally, "after being held up to increasing ridicule even in socially conservative Austria, members of the orchestra gathered [on 28 February 1997] in an extraordinary meeting on the eve of their departure and agreed to admit a woman, Anna Lelkes, as harpist."Jane Perlez
"Vienna Philharmonic Lets Women Join in Harmony"
''The New York Times'', 28 February 1997
As of 2013, the orchestra has six female members; one of them, violinist Albena Danailova became one of the orchestra's concertmasters in 2008, the first woman to hold that position. In 2012, women still made up just 6% of the orchestra's membership. VPO president Clemens Hellsberg said the VPO now uses completely screened blind auditions.James R. Oestreich
"Even Legends Adjust To Time and Trend, Even the Vienna Philharmonic"
''The New York Times'', 28 February 1998
In 2013, an article in ''Mother Jones'' stated that while "[m]any prestigious orchestras have significant female membership—women outnumber men in the New York Philharmonic's violin section—and several renowned ensembles, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and the Minnesota Symphony, are led by women violinists," the double bass, brass, and percussion sections of major orchestras "...are still predominantly male". A 2014 BBC article stated that the "...introduction of Blind audition, 'blind' auditions, where a prospective instrumentalist performs behind a screen so that the judging panel can exercise no gender or racial prejudice, has seen the gender balance of traditionally male-dominated symphony orchestras gradually shift."


Relationship to other music traditions


Popular music

Classical music has often incorporated elements or material from popular music of the composer's time. Examples include occasional music such as Brahms' use of student drinking songs in his ''Academic Festival Overture'', genres exemplified by Kurt Weill's ''The Threepenny Opera'', and the influence of jazz on early and mid-20th-century composers including Maurice Ravel, exemplified by the movement entitled "Blues" in his sonata for violin and piano. Some Postmodern music, postmodern, Minimalist music, minimalist and Postminimalism, postminimalist classical composers acknowledge a debt to popular music. Numerous examples show influence in the opposite direction, including popular songs based on classical music, the use to which ''Pachelbel's Canon#Pachelbel's canon in popular culture, Pachelbel's Canon'' has been put since the 1970s, and the musical Crossover (music), crossover phenomenon, where classical musicians have achieved success in the popular music arena. In heavy metal music, heavy metal, a number of lead guitarists (playing electric guitar), including Ritchie Blackmore and Randy Rhoads, modeled their playing styles on Baroque or Classical-era instrumental music.


Folk music

Composers of classical music have often made use of
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and ti ...

folk music
(music created by musicians who are commonly not classically trained, often from a purely oral tradition). Some composers, like Antonín Dvořák, Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, Smetana, have used folk themes to impart a nationalist flavor to their work, while others like Béla Bartók, Bartók have used specific themes lifted whole from their folk-music origins. Aram Khachaturian, Khachaturian widely incorporated into his work the folk music of his native Armenia, but also other ethnic groups of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.


Commercialization

Certain staples of classical music are often used commercially (either in advertising or in movie soundtracks). In television commercials, several passages have become clichéd, particularly the opening of Richard Strauss' ''Also sprach Zarathustra'' (made famous in the film ''2001: A Space Odyssey (film), 2001: A Space Odyssey'') and the opening section "O Fortuna" of Carl Orff's ''Carmina Burana (Orff), Carmina Burana''; other examples include the "Dies irae" from the Giuseppe Verdi, Verdi Requiem (Verdi), Requiem, Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from ''Peer Gynt (Grieg), Peer Gynt'', the opening bars of Ludwig van Beethoven, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven), Symphony No. 5, Richard Wagner, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" from ''Die Walküre'', Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee", and excerpts of Aaron Copland's ''Rodeo (ballet), Rodeo''. Several works from the Golden age of American animation, Golden Age of Animation matched the action to classical music. Notable examples are Walt Disney's ''Fantasia (1940 film), Fantasia'', Tom and Jerry's ''Johann Mouse'', and Warner Bros.' ''Rabbit of Seville'' and ''What's Opera, Doc?'' Similarly, movies and television often revert to standard, clichéd excerpts of classical music to convey refinement or opulence: some of the most-often heard pieces in this category include Johann Sebastian Bach, Bach´s Cello Suites (Bach), Cello Suite No. 1, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mozart's ''Eine kleine Nachtmusik'', Antonio Vivaldi, Vivaldi's ''The Four Seasons (Vivaldi), Four Seasons'', Modest Mussorgsky, Mussorgsky's ''Night on Bald Mountain'' (as orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov), and Gioachino Rossini, Rossini's "William Tell Overture, ''William Tell'' Overture". Shawn Vancour argues that the commercialization of classical music in the early 20th century may have harmed the music industry through inadequate representation.


Education

During the 1990s, several research papers and popular books wrote on what came to be called the "Mozart effect": an observed temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart's works. The approach has been popularized in a book by Don Campbell, and is based on an experiment published in ''Nature (journal), Nature'' suggesting that listening to Mozart temporarily boosted students' IQ by 8 to 9 points. This popularized version of the theory was expressed succinctly by the ''The New York Times, New York Times'' music columnist Alex Ross (music critic), Alex Ross: "researchers... have determined that listening to Mozart actually makes you smarter." Promoters marketed CDs claimed to induce the effect. Florida passed a law requiring toddlers in state-run schools to listen to classical music every day, and in 1998 the governor of Georgia budgeted $105,000 per year to provide every child born in Georgia with a tape or CD of classical music. One of the co-authors of the original studies of the Mozart effect commented "I don't think it can hurt. I'm all for exposing children to wonderful cultural experiences. But I do think the money could be better spent on music education programs."Goode, Erica
"Mozart for Baby? Some Say, Maybe Not"
''The New York Times'', 3 August 1999. Retrieved on 16 May 2008.


References


Notes


Citations


Sources

;Books * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ;Journal and encyclopedia articles * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * *


External links


Grove Music Online
– online version of ''The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians''.
MGG Online
– online version of ''Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart''
Historical classical recordings
from the British Library Sound Archive {{Authority control Classical music, Music history