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Classical Music 1750-1815.

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Presentation on theme: "Classical Music 1750-1815."— Presentation transcript:

1 Classical Music

2 Background information
approx. Followed on from the Baroque era. Famous composers include Mozart ( ), Haydn ( ), and Beethoven’s ( ) early works.

3 Key musical features: Music has simple, ‘singable’ melodies
Music is usually made up of 4-8 bar phrases Clear, homophonic texture (usually) Dynamics extended to include crescendo and diminuendo Timpani are often the only percussion used

4 Trill: rapid and repeated movement between two adjacent notes.
Ornaments: an ornament decorates a melody by adding extra notes. Ornaments are often short and add melodic and rhythmic interest. Trill: rapid and repeated movement between two adjacent notes. Grace note: A type of ornament played as a quick note before the main note of a melody.

5 Concepts commonly found in the Classical Era
Imitation Repetition Major/minor Chromatic Sequence Stepwise / leaping Phrase Question/Answer Modulation Cadences Click on each concept to learn its definition.

6 IMITATION Where the melody is immediately copied higher or lower in another part.

7 REPETITION A musical idea is heard more than once, or repeated several times.


9 CHROMATIC A stepwise series of notes built up entirely of semitones.
This is a chromatic scale beginning on C.

10 SEQUENCE A melodic phrase which is immediately repeated at a higher or lower pitch.

11 STEPWISE OR LEAPING Stepwise: moving to notes that are ‘next door’ to each other Leaping: moving to notes that are far away from each other

12 PHRASE A short musical idea, part of a melody.

13 QUESTION AND ANSWER An opening phrase. Usually followed by an answer.
A reply to a musical question.

14 MODULATION Changing key Sound example:

15 CADENCES PERFECT: A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase. A perfect cadence is the dominant to tonic chords (V-I). In the key of C major, chords G-C. IMPERFECT: A cadence consists of two chords at the end of a phrase. In an imperfect cadence the second chord is the dominant V creating an unfinished effect. In the key of C the second chord of an imperfect cadence would be the chord of G.

16 Features 1. There was a lighter texture than baroque with melody often above chordal accompaniment. This means: Instead of composing very complicated contrapuntal pieces, composers began to write tunes with simpler accompaniments.

17 The composers began to compose in strict forms e.g. Binary form (AB)
2. Emphasis on grace and beauty of Melody and Form This means: Composers wrote beautiful tunes that weren’t interrupted by the accompaniment. The composers began to compose in strict forms e.g. Binary form (AB) Ternary Form (ABA) Rondo Form

18 3. Variety and contrast within pieces of music e. g
3. Variety and contrast within pieces of music e.g. Key, Mood, Dynamics This means: The composers experimented with the different keys available to them. They wrote music in particular moods e.g. happy and sad. The composers used a wider range of dynamics than the Baroque composers. They didn’t just use forte and piano; they used all the others in between too.

19 4. Baroque harpsichord continuo is replaced by the piano
The composers didn’t write a bass line with chords for the continuo anymore. Most accompanying was done on the piano. Bass instruments were given their own lines in orchestral music rather than having to improvise over the chords.

20 5. Alberti Bass accompaniment is often used
This is: a left hand broken chord accompaniment

21 6. Importance is given to instrumental music
Composers focused more on the sounds instruments could make and the music they could make for them rather than vocal music. BUT! They did still compose for voice!

22 Instruments The Baroque orchestra developed into the Classical symphony orchestra with the introduction of more instruments such as: Clarinet Trombone Timpani French Horn Remember… the baroque basso continuo was no longer used after the introduction of the pianoforte or piano.



25 Instrumental Forms of the Classical Era

26 THEME AND VARIATIONS The theme is a melody, a tune which is the main idea for a composition. In theme and variations, the theme may form a whole section of the composition. The variations occur when the main theme or tune is altered perhaps by adding extra notes, changing from major to minor or vice versa, changing harmony, rhythm, time signature, or when the theme is played in the bass, etc.

27 RONDO A B A C A. A form where the first section (A) comes back between contrasting sections. A B A C A D A

28 ROUND/CANON Each part sings or plays the same melody, entering one after the other. When they reach the end they start again, e.g. 'Three blind mice'.

29 Classical Symphony The classical symphony was derived from different forms from the Baroque era. It normally has 4 movements. It is a work for the whole orchestra. 1st movement- usually fairly fast and in sonata form 2nd movement – at a slower speed – usually in ternary or variation form 3rd movement – either a minuet and trio or scherzo 4th movement – the finale, usually fast and often in rondo or sonata form Coda - A passage at the end of a piece of music which rounds it off effectively.

30 Concerto Featuring a solo instrument and orchestra.
It has three movements (fairly fast, slow, fast). Concludes with a cadenza where the player demonstrates their virtuosic playing ability. Mozart – Oboe Concerto in C Major I: Allegro II: Adagio non troppo III: Rondo: Allegretto

31 CADENZA A passage of music which allows soloists to display their technical ability in singing or playing an instrument. Performers used to improvise cadenzas themselves but eventually composers began to write them into the score.


33 Piano Music The newly invented piano had more powers of expression than the harpsichord which offered exciting possibilities. As well as the dynamic possibilities, the piano was able to able to shape a melody in the right hand and accompany the melody quietly in the left. A favourite accompaniment style was alberti bass which consisted of broken chords repeated in the left hand keeping the music moving and outlining the harmonies.


35 Christoph Willibald Gluck
Opera During the classical period opera was a form of entertainment. There were lots of composers of opera in the classical period but the main ones were: W.A. Mozart Joseph Haydn Giovanni Paisiello Domenico Cimarosa Antonio Salieri Christoph Willibald Gluck

36 What is an Opera? An opera is a play (or drama) set to music, and then acted and sung by singers accompanied by an orchestra An opera is performed on stage, with scenery and costumes, lighting and stage effects. The story might be funny or serious or sometimes a mixture of both. Operas written in the classical period are normally written in French, Italian or German. The word of an opera are called a libretto. In some operas every word is sung while in others the musical items are linked together by spoken conversations between the characters.

37 How are the voices used in Opera?
Before starting to write the music of an opera the composer gets to know the libretto (story) well. The composer then decides what type of voice would be best for each part. The composer then begins to write the music – which must match the story, and fit the words.

38 Syllabic and Melismatic
SYLLABIC: Vocal music where each syllable is given one note only. MELISMATIC: Several notes sung to one syllable.

39 Aria A song in an opera, oratorio or cantata with orchestral accompaniment.

40 Chorus Group of singers performing together.

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