A Tribute to the Most Celebrated Classical Composers

  Epochs of Classical Music



   Epochs of
Classical Music


    Percussion Instruments
    String Instruments      


     While it is difficult to identify the many epochs of classical music that have existed in the tradition, four main epochs are imporant to discuss: the Renaissance Period, the Baroque Era, the Classical Period, and the Romantic Age. Each period did not develop on its own, but reflected the society and culture to which it belonged.

    Much like the ideals that gripped Europe in the late 16th century, the Renaissance Period in music sought to celebrate individual human potential and develop an audible depth that had not been present. Before the Renaissance, composers gave each instrument a particular role, either melody, bass line, or accompaniment, without being overly concerned that the sounds worked fluedly with each other. Renaissance composers harmonized and united the different sections of the orchestra by writing more supple music for individual instruments. Different pitches and timbers were also accomplished by making different sized instruments with wider ranges.

    The Baroque Era ('barroco is Portuges for 'misshapen pearl') from about 1600-1750 was characterized by a search for irregular and a break from the balance and unity of the Renaissance. During the age, artists across Europe emphasized ornate and more sophisticated forms of expressions that highlighted the senses and emotions. To achieve this end, composers focused on constrasting different musical plains, volume, tempo, individual voices and instruments for instance. In order to move the senses, composers presented grandiose works that aimed to sustain the audience in highly aroused states. The opera, which was created during this period, tried to emulate the high theatrics of the Greek plays of ancient times.

    The Classical Period, from about 1750- 1830, gets its name from the the Enlightenment's focus of philosophy and science, which got its inspiration from classical Greece and Rome. The musical prevalent during this era was most concerned with style and form and the plots were often about mythological figures and history. This all meant a break from the grandeur of the Baroque Era and a focus on a straight-forward, flowing melodic style that provided the listener with simple sensous pleasures. The pursuit of excellence that was attributed to the Greeks and Romans was a priority during these times. This was also the period when the symphonic orchestra began to take shape.
    Romanticism was a reaction against Classicism. Romantics proclaimed that emotion was to be more esteemed than reason. Nature and emotions became central themes in music, often with the purpose of escaping the harsh realities of life (this was the age of Industrilization). Intense emotional engagement was accomplished by colorful harmonies or dramatic moments in each movement enveloped by sweet melodies. Most of the composers in this site belong to this period in the 19th century.


Orchestra   Chopin   Tchaikovsky   Beethoven   Liszt   Strauss Jr.   Brahms

©Jorge Aguilar 2003
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