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Flashcards in Classical Period Deck (38)
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What years encompass the classical period?

1750- 1820


“Age of enlightenment”-

philosophers and writers saw this as their time as a turning point in history. They believed in progress, and that reason (not custom or tradition), was the best guide for human conduct. It began to usurp the authority of the social and religious establishment


Rococo style

a style with light colors, curved lines, and graceful ornaments; was superseded by the neoclassical style


Neoclassical style

attempted to recapture the “noble simplicity and calm grandeur” of ancient Greek and Roman art; emphasised clear structure and firm lines


Characteristics of classical style: rhythms, mood changes, melodies, polyphonic/homophonic?

Rhythm adds variety and is filled with unexpected pauses, syncopations, and frequent changes of note length. Classical music contains a great variety and contrast of mood; the mood will change suddenly or gradually, and may even shift the theme itself. Classical melodies are tuneful and easy to remember; sounds are balanced and symmetrical because it’s made up of two parts of the same length; second phrase ends more conclusively. It is basically homophonic, but the texture is flexible and can shift from homophonic to polyphonic.


Classical Dynamics

Classical composers use a gradual change in dynamics to bring on emotional change; crescendo and decrescendo


Typical classical orchestra contains?

strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion


Political and economic power of classical period?

more people earned higher wages, people could afford better things, middle class had huge influence on music, power moved to middle class and not the nobility


Middle class wanted aristocratic luxuries such as…?

theatre, literature, and music


What was Haydn’s social standing?

a “highly skilled servant”


What is the name of a fragment of a theme?



The character of a minuet can be described as?

it’s dance-like; stately and dignified


Beethoven prefered ___________ instead of the minuet.



How does the scherzo differ from the minuet?

the scherzo is a lot faster


What is the definition of Symphony?

an extended composition, lasting between 20 and 45 minutes, exploiting the expanded range of tone color and dynamics of the classical orchestra


What is the usual order of movements in a classical symphony?

dramatic fast movement, lyrical slow movement, dance-like movement, heroic fast movement


What is a concerto?

a three- movement work for for an instrumental soloist and orchestra, lasts between 20 and 45 minutes, combines soloist’s musicality with orchestra’s wide range of tone colors, first and last movements may contain a cadenza


Define a cadenza

a unaccompanied showpiece for the soloist


What is chamber music and what is considered to be the most important form of it?

it is written for the intimate setting of a room in a home or a palace; every voice is important and they share the same theme; the chamber music group is a team without a conductor; it normally has four movements. The most important form of it is the string quartet.


What is a string quartet?

two violins, a viola, and a cello


What is the biggest difference between a symphony/concerto and chamber music?

A symphony has many players on a part; chamber music has only one player on a part


What family did Haydn work for?

the Esterhazys, the richest and most powerful of the Hungarian nobles


What were Haydn’s duties?

he composed all music requested by his patron, conducted the orchestra, coached singers, and oversaw the instruments and music library


Where did Haydn travel to twice and perform his music?



What is considered to be the most important works which Haydn wrote?

his 104 symphonies and his 68 string quartets


How old was Mozart when he was on tour?

between the ages of 6 and 15


Why did Mozart compose a requiem?

a stranger carrying an anonymous letter commissioned one, and as Mozart grew more sick, he came to believe the requiem was for himself and finished it on his deathbed


Who is Don Giovanni (Don Juan) in Mozart’s opera?

a legendary Spanish lover who is a seductive and ruthless nobleman who will stop at nothing to appease his sexual appetite


What is unique of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 for its time?

it contained music emotional intensity


Who did Beethoven compose his Third Symphony for?

Napoleon Bonaparte