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National 5 Music
Musical Periods: a summary
Musical Periods
 In this course, we study music written from around 1600 up
to the present day.
 This covers four main periods of music: Baroque, Classical,
Romantic and Modern (also known as 20th Century).
 You will learn how to tell which period a piece of music
comes from by listening to it.
Vivaldi: “Domini Fili” from Gloria.
Baroque
 1600-1750
 Baroque music, art and architecture had a strong emphasis on

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ornamentation and decoration.
Harpsichord: a keyboard instrument which preceded the
piano. Strings were plucked rather than struck with hammers.
Composers include Bach, Handel, Monteverdi, Vivaldi and
Purcell.
Small orchestra – mostly strings and some woodwind. No
percussion. Brass instruments existed: horns without valves.
Lots of vocal music.
Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Classical
• Although the term “classical” is often used to describe all
music that is not recent, “Classical” refers specifically to the
period around 1750-1810.
• Composers included Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
• Lots of new instruments: piano, clarinet, more brass,
timpani.
• Harpsichord no longer used.
• Melodies created from scales and broken chords.
Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique
Romantic
 1810-1910
 Romanticism occurred in art, literature, music and theatre.
 Classical styles continued into the Romantic period but the
composers began to break some of the rules and become more free in
their writing, exploring new harmonies, rhythms and styles.
 Music is very expressive and can evoke lots of emotions.
 Rubato – pushing and pulling the tempo to add expression.
 New instruments were at the high and low ends of pitch range –
piccolo, contrabassoon, tuba etc. This wider range of notes allowed
more moods to be explored. The piano’s range also increased to the
current size.
Debussy: Cathedral Englouti
Modern
Penderecki: Threnody to the
victims of Hiroshima
 Modern music is also called 20th Century music, even though
it continues to be written today!
 Composers in the 20th Century pushed the boundaries of
what was musically acceptable.
 Music became much stranger sounding; new ways of writing
and performing were introduced.
 Music could be atonal – in no key.