This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Although the classical period is a relatively short time (1750 to 1820) in Western music history, the expression "classical music" generally refers to an extended group of styles, composers and written music works (as opposed to traditional music learned by ear). These works developed in Europe starting from the Middle Ages and spread to the rest
of Western culture throughout the last millennium. The study of this music is often divided into periods.
In Middle Ages (400 to 1400s), music and art in general were mainly ruled by the Catholic church. The most important musical treasure from that time that still remains is Gregorian chant.
During the Renaissance (1400s to 1600s), ancient Greek and Roman ideals of beauty flourished. Artists were inspired by human
nature, and no longer solely by God. During this time, polyphonic music, which utilized several independent voices, had a tremendous development. The best examples of this are found in works by Giovanni da Palestrina, Josquin des Prez, Dufay and Orlando di Lassus. Works such as "Gaillardes," "Gigues," "Pavanes" or "Saltarellos" were pieces written for dance.
In this period (1750 to 1820), composers tried to earn independence from the court. Music moved the listener with straight "easy to follow" melodies and clear harmonies and structures, as opposed to the complex counterpoint used previously. Some genres as sonatas, chamber music (duets, trios, string quartets, etc.) symphonies and opera were consolidated. More people began to play and enjoy music at home. Representative composers of the time were Wolfgang A. Mozart, whose pieces include Symphony No. 40, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the operas "Don Giovanni" and
"The Magic Flute," and Joseph Haydn, who composed "The Creation," "London Symphonies" and numerous string quartets.
This period (1820 to 1900) was the time of freedom for artists.
They became independent from the court and found inspiration in the forces of nature, human passion and personal emotions. Mysterious elements were added to classical music. Piano became popular and instrumental music was considered the "ideal romantic art." Important composers of the time include Ludwig Von Beethoven, who wrote "Moonlight Sonata,"
"Fur Elise" and Symphonies No. 9 and No. 5. Frederic Chopin, the "piano poet," composed numerous mazurkas, nocturnes and waltzes. Other noted composers include Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Wagner and Schumann.
Different tendencies are found in this period. Music underwent revolutionary changes during this time. Composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Bartok and Igor Stravinsky kept some traditional harmonic elements and combined them with folk music, new rhythms and fresh compositional techniques.
Others, including Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Pierre Boulez, used a complete new harmonic language called "atonalism." Avant-garde composers such as Stockhausen, Berio, Nono, Ligeti and John Cage experienced with electronic, and aleatory (random) music.