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Music History. The Romantic Era (1820 - 1900)  The term Romantic refers to the music being expressive and emotional (rather than referring specifically.

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Presentation on theme: "Music History. The Romantic Era (1820 - 1900)  The term Romantic refers to the music being expressive and emotional (rather than referring specifically."— Presentation transcript:

1 Music History

2 The Romantic Era ( )  The term Romantic refers to the music being expressive and emotional (rather than referring specifically to love).  Patronage declined and successful composers became famous – the equivalent of pop stars in their day.  Most of the musical developments were creative rather than technical.

3 Musical Characteristics  Ensembles increased in scale. – The orchestra increased in size adding more instruments and numbers of players. – Chamber music was less popular. There are few string quartets, etc.  Programme music rose in importance.  Harmonies became more dissonant and chromatic.  Composers increasingly ignored the formal structures phrasing typical of the classical era.

4 The Virtuoso Performer  The performer (rather than the composer) became the star of many pieces.  The virtuoso performer would amaze their audience with their technical ability on their instrument (most often piano or violin).  Many composers wrote virtuosic pieces often for particular performers.

5 Instrumental Music  The piano developed technically and became much more like the powerful and expressive instrument we know today.  Solo Piano Music: – Etudes – studies showing off a performer’s technical ability – Character Pieces – short programmatic works – Variations – virtuoso pieces based on a theme a variation form – Stylised Dances – based on popular dances forms such as the waltz, mazurka, polka and gallop

6 Instrumental Music (continued)  Orchestral Music: – Symphony – less formal and less restrictive than the Classical symphony. – Concerto – similar to the Classical concerto. The violin and piano were the preferred solo instruments. – Symphonic Poem – Single movement programmatic work. – Concert Overture – Similar to the Symphonic Poem but more formal and less programmatic. – Symphonic Suite – Programmatic works in several movements. – Dances – similar to the stylised dances for solo piano.

7 The Romantic Orchestra  The percussion section increased in size and number of instruments.  The woodwind and brass sections increased in numbers and several new instruments were added.  The number of string players was increased to balance the larger woodwind and brass sections.  The harp was added to the string section.  Instruments were often directed to use more unusual techniques (such as pizzicato and flutter tonguing

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9 Programme Music  Unlike the absolute music of the classical era Romantic music often reflected a narrative or extra-musical idea. This meant that composers would often abandon the formal structures that were popular in the classical era.  The Symphonic Poem (or Tone Poem) is a single movement orchestral work that incorporates an extra-musical element. Composers would often put several of these pieces together for a larger scale work.

10 Vocal Music  Art Song (Lieder) – Song Cycles  Opera  Voices (either as soloists or choruses) were often incorporated into orchestral pieces.

11 Song Cycles  Song cycles were collections of songs, arranged for solo voice and piano, that had a common theme or narrative.  They were intended, on the whole, to be performed in sequence.  The term lieder is sometimes used to refer to the songs in a song cycle.

12 Opera  Opera took on board many of the trends of the Romantic Era: – The distinctive structures of songs, recitative, aria and chorus, gradually broke down and merged together. – The harmony became more chromatic. – The number and variety of instruments in the orchestra increased.

13 Nationalism  Many romantic composers began to incorporate features from their home country into their music.  These may have been: – Folk Stories (as the narrative in opera or programme music) – Rhythms and Themes from folk music

14 Romantic Composers  Franz Peter Schubert (1797 – 1828)  Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886)  Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

15 Summary  Music became more expressive.  Harmony became more dissonant and chromatic.  The orchestra increased the number and variety of instruments.  Absolute Music gives way to Programme Music.  Very little chamber music – mostly orchestral or solo music.  Music led by lyrical (song like)


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