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Global Periods

This are the periods you have to know, including the centuries:

Acient Medieval Renaissance Baroque Classical Romantic Modern

< 0 476 478 1400 1400-1600 1600-1750 1750-1820 1820-1910 1900 - <

Remember that Modern includes the nationalistic and 20th century/early 20th century as well.

Style characteristics
Here I well tell you some characteristics about the most important periods.

A baroque piece is famous for its doctrine of mood. What is happy will be happy throughout and what is sad continues to the end. Baroque music creates a feeling of continuity. An opening melody will be heard over and over again in the course of the piece. Even if the character of the piece is constant, the passage is varied. Many baroque melodies re complex and elaborate. They are not easy to sing or play. The dynamics of the piece also stay constant for some period of time before it shifts to another level. When the dynamics shift, it is sudden like physically stepping of a step. Therefore, terraced dynamics are a distinctive quality of baroque music. Late baroque music are often and predominantly polyphonic in texture : two more melodic lines compete for the listeners attention.

A Classical composition will fluctuate in mood. Not only there are contrasting themes within a movement, but there also may be striking contrasts even within a single theme. Mood in classical music may change gradually or suddenly, expressing conflicting surges of elation and depression. In Classical music, there is a flexibility of rhythm. A classical composition has a wealth of rhythmic patterns. Classical music is basically homophonic. However, texture is treated as flexibly as rhythm. Pieces shift smoothly or suddenly from one texture to another. A work may begin homophonically with a melody and simple accompaniment but then change to a more complex polyphonic texture that features two simultaneous melodies or melodic fragments imitated among the various instruments. Classical melodies are among the most tuneful and easy to remember. The themes of even highly sophisticated compositions may have a folk or popular flavor. The Classical composers' interest in expressing shades of emotion led to the widespread use of gradual dynamic change crescendo (gradually getting louder) and diminuendo ( gradually getting softer).

Some general characteristics of Romantic Music are:

MELODY: Long, lyrical melodies with irregular phrases; Wide, somewhat angular skips; extensive use of chromatics; vivid contrasts; a variety of melodic ideas within one movement.

RHYTHM: Frequent changes in both tempo and time signatures.

TEXTURE: Almost entirely homophonic.

TIMBRE: A great variety of tone color; woodwind and brass sections of the orchestra increased; many special orchestral effects introduced; rich and colorful orchestration.

In modern music, contemporary compositions vary widely, so this is not a complete list; and not only these characteristics are present in every composition. Some may differ. This is only a general overview:

1. Fewer lyrical melodies than the music of former periods.

2. Dissonant harmonies.

3. Complex rhythms.

4. Percussiveness.

5. Greater use of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments than in music of earlier periods.

6. The use of synthetic and electronic sounds.

This is all for now. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Email: sjoerdvandongen @ gmail . com

Your professor: Sjoerd van Dongen