Saturday, February 26, 2011

Introduction about Classical Music

The term classical music originates from the Latin term classicus, meaning taxpayer of the higher class. Slowly, after making its way through the French, German, and English languages, one of the earliest definitions of the word meant "classical, formal, in due or fit rank; also approved, authentical, principal". Today, classical music is defined as "of, relating to, or being music in the educated European tradition that includes such forms as art song, chamber music, opera, and symphony as distinguished from folk or popular music or jazz."

In classical music, there is 6 periods which is divided by stylistic differences:
  1. Before 1400 - Medieval - characterized by Gregorian chant, mostly religious
  2. 1400-1600 - Renaissance - increase of secular music, madrigals, and art song
  3. 1600-1760 - Baroque - known for its intricate
  4. 1750-1830 - Classical - balance and structure
  5. 1815-1910 - Romantic - emotional, large, programmatic
  6. Beyond 1900 - 20th Century - limitless
The dates are generalizations, since the periods overlapped and the categories are somewhat arbitrary. For example, the use of counterpoint and fugue, which is considered characteristics of the Baroque era, was continued by Hadyn, who is classified as typical of the Classical period. Beethoven, who is often described as a founder of the Romantic period, and Brahms, who is classifies as Romantic, also used counterpoint and fugue, but other characteristics of their music define their period.
The prefix neo is used to describe a 20th century or contemporary composition written in the style of an earlier period, such as Classical or Romantic. Stravinsky's Pulcinella, for example, is a neoclassical composition because it is stylistically similar to works of the Classical period.