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(Neo) Classical Music
Transition from Baroque to Romanticism
Neo? Classical
Although the following developments
happened during the time period we are
calling “Neoclassical” in class, this period
in music is most often referred to in
modern times as simply “Classical”
 It is important to note that “Classical”
music in today’s culture is regarded as a
genre as well as a time period. Not all
music labeled as “Classical” was
composed during this period.
Remember the Baroque
The Baroque period was known for its
 Polyphony (many melodic lines at once)
was a predominant feature of Baroque
 Opera Seria was the most common form
of opera at the time.
Shifting to the Classical
Like in other art forms during this period an
order and clarity was brought to music.
Polyphony was replaced by Homophony
Homophonic music is characterized by a
singular melody over a subordinate (or
supporting) harmony.
This allowed the tonal structure of works to
become more audible.
This created the need for notating the
melodic line for dynamics and phrasing.
Public taste shifted from Opera Seria to
Comic Opera.
 The music of Comic Opera was usual
much simpler.
 The story usually focused on ordinary
people rather than grand historical
Instrumental Music
The fortepiano (the precursor to the
modern piano) replaced the harpsichord.
 (The fortepiano is the piano like
instrument seen in the film “Amadeus”
with the reversed black and white keys
and the lighter sound of our modern
 Main types of instrumental music were
sonata, trio, string quartet, symphony,
concerto, serenade and divertimento
Sonata Form
The Sonata Form developed during this
 NOT to be confused with a Sonata
 The Sonata Form was a way of
structuring the first movement in a multimovement composition.
 Also called “First movement form” and
“Sonata Allegro Form” since the first
movement is usually in an allegro tempo
Sonata Form continued
The main parts of the Sonata Form are:
◦ Introduction- optional
◦ Exposition- introduction of theme (perhaps a
◦ Development- playing around with themes
form the exposition
◦ Recapitulation- return to the Exposition but
altered slightly (for emphasis)
◦ Coda- tag
Composed for full orchestra
 3-4 movements
 1st and 4th movement always fast.
◦ 1st Movement- sonata or allegro
◦ 2nd Movement- a slow movement or adagio
◦ 3rd Movement- a minuet with trio or
“Beethoven 4 movement solo sonata”
◦ 4th Movement- an allegro, rondo or sonata.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
 Born is Salzburg (what is now Austria)
 Child prodigy, began composing at the age
of 5
 Composed for a variety genres including:
◦ Opera, sonata, piano concertos, symphony,
string quartet, chamber music, dance music,
solo piano.
Most famous works:
 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik *
 Piano Concerto 21*
 Requiem Mass (unfinished)
 Opera
◦ The Marriage of Figaro
◦ Don Giovanni
◦ The Magic Flute
Ludwig Van Beethoven
German composer, born in late 1700’s
 Most famous for continuing to compose
music even after going completely deaf
 Also wrote for a variety of genres
 Very important to the development of
music. He is regarded as the connection
between the (Neo)classical period and
the Romantic Era.
Most famous works
 Fur Elise *
 9th Symphony “Ode to Joy” *
 Moonlight Sonata *
Mozart and Beethoven are two of the
most famous composers of all time.
 Although you may not have recognized
the tunes played by name you probably
recognize the tunes.
 Their tunes are used frequently in movies,
TV etc.
 (Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata actually
appears in “You’re A Good Man Charlie