Unit 1: Introduction to 19th-Century Art and Music Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Unit 1: Introduction to 19th-Century Art and Music Deck (23)
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Fascination with the distant and foreign. Evoked in music through melody, rhythm inspired by local dances, modal inflections, chromatic harmony, and colourful orchestration. Especially prominent in operas such as Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, Jules Massenet's Thias, Delibes' Lakme.


Caspar David Friedrich

A 19th-century painter who embodied the spirit of Romanticism in his landscapes, including Wanderer Above the Mist, The Abbey in the Oakwood.



19th-century political and social climate marked by patriotic fervour, desire for independence, and escape from oppression. Piano music influenced by folk song and dance, such as Chopin's Polonaises and Mazurkas, Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies. Sometimes characterized by references to local myths and legends and historical events. Inspired by specific landscapes, like Smetana's Vltava (The Moldau).


Romantic Dynamic Range

Expanded to extreme levels, compared to earlier eras, the margins in scores are more specific.


Art as Religion

Art became a replacement for traditional religion. The pursuit of the divine spark, the search for sublime beauty. Wagner referred to his opera Parsifal as "a festival-drama of consecration."


Romantic Rhythm

Increasingly complex and varied. Use of cross-rhythms, hemiola, irregular groupings. Tempo rubato applied by the performer.


Romantic Formal Structure

Expansion and development of large forms: symphony, opera, and song cycle. Cyclical structure, linking of movements. Development of miniature forms, such as Lieder, Character pieces for piano.


Romantic Piano

Technological improvements such as a cast iron frame that supported thicker strings resulted in richer, fuller tone; invention of "double excitement" action allowed for rapid repetition of individual keys. Pieces requiring greater virtuosity -- like the concert etude -- were composed for the updated instrument.


Fascination with the Supernatural

Writers and painters were drawn to mystical, magical, spectral phenomena. Fairytales as published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. Exhibited in the paintings of Fuseli. Expressed in Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischutz, Adophe Adam;s music for the ballet Giselle and the fifth movement of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.


Napoleon Bonaparte

Among the most brilliant military strategists and political leaders in history. Led France to become a dominant force in 19th-century Europe. His "Napoleonic Code" established the foundation for European law.


Morbid Fascination with Death

Attraction to the finality of death, to the macabre, the sinister. Epitomized by Liszt's Totentanz and the final "love-death" aria in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.


Romantic Programmatic Elements

Significant trend in 19th-century music. Instrumental music with extra-musical associations (literary, poetic, visual). Descriptive titles that evoke specific images in the listener's imagination. Orchestral genres included concert overture, symphonic poem, program symphony, and incidental music.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Prolific German poet, writer, and philosopher provided inspiration for generations of artists and musicians. Works include The Sorrows of Young Werther, Egmont, and Faust.



German for "longing," yearning for the unattainable, which found expression in works such as Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and Schubert's Gretchen am Spinnrade.


Romantic Harmony

Increased chromaticism, exploration of new tonal centres (for example, mediant and submediant), and exploration of modal harmony.


Adoration of Nature

Nature viewed allegorically. A mirror of the artist's soul. Celebration of the awesome forces of nature, including the violence of ocean stories, untamed wilderness. Seen in the large paintings of J.M.W. Turner and Caspar David Friedrich. Expressed by Ludwig van Beethoven in his groundbreaking Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral).


Heightened Emotionalism

Classical restraint gave way to unbridled expressions of human emotions and passions. Represented in Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Dumas' La Dame aux camelias. Evident in Schumann's Fantasy and Chopin's Nocturnes, and Tchaikovsky's Pathetique.


Romantic Orchestral Instruments

Expansion of orchestra to include harp, piccolo, English horns trombone, tuba, contrabassoon. Improvements to instruments (for example, seven pedals were aded to the harp enabling it to play in all keys). Composers were inspired to exploit the expanded capabilities of instruments in increasingly demanding and virtuosic works.



German for "world-weariness," growing pessimism began to permeate the works of writers, artists, musicians. Exemplified in Schubert's Winterreise.



Artists express their own uniquely personal view of the world. Classical objectivity supplanted by a more subjective approach. Described by Rousseau in The Confessions.


Charles Dickens

Popular English writer, his novels reflect both the idealism and the harsh realities of 19th-century life in England. Among his classic works are Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations.



Seeking distraction and relief from the pressures of everyday reality. Flights of fantasy, reverie, imagination. In literature, expressed by Thomas de Quincey in his very personal journal, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. In music, the first movement of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.


Romantic Melody

Lyrical and expansive. Influenced by folk song and dance.