Classical Era takes place roughly between 1730 AD and 1820 AD.
Classicism is a specific genre of philosophy, expressing itself in
literature, architecture, art, and music, which has Ancient Greek and
Roman sources and an emphasis on society. Composers, philosophers,
artists, and others were obsessed with classical antiquity,
especially that of classical Greece. Both artists and composers
focused on order, clear divisions of parts, contrasts and color, and
the more simple rather than complex.
size of the orchestra also increased in the Classical Era of music,
although it was still smaller than what you will see later on. The
woodwinds became their own section, and the harpsichord was replaced
with the piano. The music is much lighter and cleaner than Baroque
music. The texture is clearer and less complex and is mostly
homophonic, meaning there is a melody over a chordal accompaniment.
Variety increased in the music in terms of keys, melodies, rhythms,
dynamics, mood and timbre changes, and cadenzas. Instrumental music
became more prominent and important. There were many kinds of
instrumental music like string quartets, sonatas, symphonies, and
developed. To learn more about the classical period, check out the
information from Wikipedia.
Some notable composers of the classical period include Scarlatti,
Gluck, Haydn, Boccherini, Schubert, Beethoven, and Mozart.
Amadeus Mozart is
one of the most well known and prolific composers of all time. He
started writing music when he was four years old. Here is his
earliest work, and I cannot believe he was four years old when he
contrast, the last piece he wrote was a Requiem, which is a mass for
the dead. He actually never finished it; but, based on notes, one of
his students finished it for him. I think it is a beautiful work, and
I picked out my three favorite parts for you to listen to: Dies
famous composer of the classical era was Ludwig
He bridged the gap between classical music and romantic music, which
is the next period for music. You may know that he starting losing
his hearing at age 26 and was almost completely deaf by the time he
was 46. That is the worst thing that could happen to a musician or
composer, but he didn’t let it stop him from composing. He was such
a brilliant man he was able to hear the music in his head and write
it down. His most well known piece would be his 5th symphony.
Mozart wrote many operas, one of my favorites being The
I recommend finding the bookThe
Kyra Teis and reading it to your kids. Then, let them listen to some
of the music which can be easily found on YouTube. My daughter’s
favorite song is the Queen
of the Night’s aria.
After reading the story and listening to some of the music, grab some
butcher paper and let the kids create a scene from the opera. You can
talk about stage performances as well. If you have a classroom or a
co-op, you can even reenact a scene or two from the opera, assign
parts, and have a short play for the parents.
you have a 2nd or 3rd grade reader (or you want to do a read aloud
with younger kids), you can check out Magic Tree House #41: Moonlight
on the Magic Flute by Mary Pope Osborne. My
six-year-old son loves this series of books.
composer that bridged the gap from the classical era to the romantic
era is Schubert. He wrote a very creepy song based on the poem “Der
Erlkönig” by Goethe. The story is about a young boy being carried
by his father on horseback. The son seems to hear and see things the
father does not, and the father does not believe the boy. The son
sees a goblin, or The Erlking, who wants to take the boy away. The
music is fantastic. You can hear the urgency of the horses’ hooves
pounding on the ground in the beginning. One singer sings the parts
of the young boy, the father, and the evil Erlking. You can hear the
singer changing between characters by changing the timber of his
the poem first and
then watch the video together. This
animation is beautiful and dark, which fits the music so well.
you for coming along with me to the Classical Period! Our next
stop is… Romance!