The classic Period

The dates of the Classical period in west music room generally welcomed as being between about 1750 and also 1820. However, the term classical music is provided in a colloquial sense as a synonym because that Western arts music, which explains a selection of west musical formats from the 9th century to the present, and especially native the sixteenth or ten to the nineteenth. This write-up is around the specific duration from 1730 come 1820.

You are watching: Which composer was a transitional figure between renaissance music and baroque music?


The Classical duration falls between the Baroque and also the Romantic periods. The best-known composers from this period are Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,Ludwig van Beethoven, and also Franz Schubert; other significant names incorporate Luigi Boccherini, Muzio Clementi, Antonio Soler, Antonio Salieri, François Joseph Gossec,Johann Stamitz, Carl Friedrich Abel, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and also Christoph Willibald Gluck. Ludwig van Beethoven is also regarded either together a Romantic composer or a composer that was part of the change to the Romantic.

Franz Schubert is also something that a transitional figure, as room Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Mauro Giuliani, Friedrich Kuhlau, Fernando Sor, Luigi Cherubini, january Ladislav Dussek, and also Carl Maria von Weber. The period is periodically referred to together the era ofViennese standard or Classicism (German: Wiener Klassik), since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Antonio Salieri, and also Ludwig van Beethoven all worked at part time in Vienna, and Franz Schubert to be born there.


Main characteristics

Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and also is much less complex. The is mainly homophonic—melody above chordal accompaniment (but counterpoint is through no method forgotten, particularly later in the period). It also make usage of Style gallant in the classical duration which was drawn in opposition come the strictures that the Baroque style, emphasizing light elegance in location of the Baroque’s dignified seriousness and also impressive grandeur.

Variety and contrast in ~ a piece became much more pronounced 보다 before. Selection of keys, melodies, rhythms and also dynamics (using crescendo, diminuendo and sforzando), along with frequent alters of mood and timbre were much more commonplace in the Classical duration than lock had been in the Baroque. Melodies tended to be shorter than those that Baroque music, with clear-cut paragraph and plainly marked cadences. The orchestra increased in size and also range; the harpsichord continuo fell out that use, and the woodwind became a self-contained section. Together a solo instrument, the harpsichord was replaced by the piano (or fortepiano). Early on piano music to be light in texture, frequently with Alberti bass accompaniment, however it later came to be richer, much more sonorous and an ext powerful.

Importance was offered to critical music—the main kinds were sonata, trio, string quartet, symphony, concerto, serenade and divertimento. Sonata form developed and also became the most vital form. That was provided to develop up the very first movement that most large-scale works, but likewise other motions and single pieces (such together overtures).


The Baroque/Classical shift c. 1730–1760


Haydn, having operated for end a decade as the music director because that a prince, had actually far much more resources and also scope for creating than most and additionally the ability to form the forces that would play his music. This chance was no wasted, together Haydn, beginning quite early his career, seek to press forward the method of structure ideas in music. His next vital breakthrough remained in the Opus 33 string quartets (1781), in i m sorry the melodic and also the harmonic duties segue among the instruments: the is regularly momentarily unclear what is melody and what is harmony. This alters the means the ensemble works its way between dramatic moments of transition and climactic sections: the music operation smoothly and also without noticeable interruption. He climate took this combined style and also began applying it to orchestral and also vocal music.

Haydn’s gift come music to be a method of composing, a means of structuring works, which to be at the same time in accord v the administrate aesthetic that the new style. However, a younger contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lugged his genius to Haydn’s ideas and also applied castle to 2 of the major genres that the day: opera, and the virtuoso concerto. Whereas Haydn spent much of his functioning life as a court composer, Mozart want public success in the concert life the cities. This intended opera, and also it expected performing as a virtuoso. Haydn was not a virtuoso at the global touring level; nor to be he search to create operatic functions that might play for plenty of nights in prior of a huge audience. Mozart want both. Moreover, Mozart also had a taste for more chromatic chords (and greater contrasts in harmonic language generally), a greater love for producing a welter the melodies in a solitary work, and also a much more Italianate sensibility in music together a whole. The found, in Haydn’s music and also later in his research of the polyphony the Bach, the way to discipline and also enrich his gifts.

Mozart rapidly pertained to the fist of Haydn, who hailed the new composer, studied his works, and also considered the younger male his just true peer in music. In Mozart, Haydn found a greater variety of instrumentation, dramatic effect and melodic resource; the learning relationship moved in two directions.

Mozart’s come in Vienna in 1780 lugged an acceleration in the breakthrough of the classic style. Over there Mozart soaked up the fusion of Italianate brilliance and also Germanic cohesiveness that had actually been imminent for the vault 20 years. His very own taste for brilliances, rhythmically facility melodies and also figures, long cantilena melodies, and virtuoso flourishes was merged with an appreciation because that formal coherence and internal connectedness. The is at this point that war and also inflation halted a trend to larger orchestras and also forced the disbanding or palliation of numerous theater orchestras. This pressed the classic style inwards: toward seeking greater ensemble and also technical challenge—for example, scattering the melody throughout woodwinds, or utilizing thirds to to mark the melody bring away by them. This process placed a premium on room music for an ext public performance, offering a further an increase to the wire quartet and other tiny ensemble groupings.

It was throughout this te that windy taste began, increasingly, to identify that Haydn and Mozart had actually reached a greater standard that composition. By the moment Mozart arrived at age 25, in 1781, the dominant styles of Vienna were recognizably connected to the appearance in the 1750s of the early timeless style. Through the finish of the 1780s, changes in performance practice, the loved one standing of instrumental and vocal music, technical needs on musicians, and stylistic unit had come to be established in the composers that imitated Mozart and also Haydn. During this decade Mozart composed his most renowned operas, his 6 late symphonies that aided to redefine the genre, and also a cable of piano concerti that still was standing at the pinnacle of this forms.

One composer that was influential in dispersing the more serious style that Mozart and Haydn had formed is Muzio Clementi, a gifted virtuoso pianist who tied v Mozart in a music “duel” prior to the emperor in i m sorry they each improvised and also performed your compositions. Clementi’s sonatas for the piano circulated widely, and he ended up being the many successful composer in London during the 1780s. Additionally in London currently was Jan Ladislav Dussek, who, prefer Clementi, encouraged piano machines to expand the range and other functions of their instruments, and also then fully exploited the newly opened possibilities. The prominence of London in the Classical duration is frequently overlooked, yet it offered as the home to the Broadwood’s factory for piano manufacturing and also as the base for composers who, while less notable 보다 the “Vienna School”, had a decisive affect on what came later. They to be composers of countless fine works, noteworthy in their very own right. London’s taste for virtuosity might well have encouraged the facility passage work and also extended declaration on tonic and dominant.

Circa 1790–1820

When Haydn and Mozart started composing, symphonies were played as single movements—before, between, or together interludes within various other works—and numerous of castle lasted only ten or twelve minutes; instrumental teams had varying requirements of playing, and also the continuo was a main part that music-making.

In the intervening years, the social human being of music had seen dramatic changes. International publication and touring had grown explosively, and also concert cultures formed. Notation became an ext specific, much more descriptive—and schematics because that works had been simplified (yet became much more varied in their specific working out). In 1790, just before Mozart’s death, through his reputation spreading rapidly, Haydn to be poised because that a series of successes, especially his so late oratorios and also “London” symphonies. Composers inParis, Rome, and all over Germany turned come Haydn and Mozart for their concepts on form.

The time was again ripe for a dramatic shift. In the 1790s, a brand-new generation that composers, born about 1770, emerged. If they had actually grown up v the earlier styles, lock heard in the recent works the Haydn and also Mozart a vehicle for greater expression. In 1788 Luigi Cherubini settled in Paris and also in 1791 composed Lodoiska, an opera that increased him to fame. Its format is clearly reflective the the mature Haydn and Mozart, and its instrumentation provided it a weight that had not yet been feeling in the grand opera. His contemporary Étienne Méhul extended instrumental results with his 1790 opera Euphrosine et Coradin, native which followed a series of successes.

The most fateful the the brand-new generation was Ludwig van Beethoven, who released his numbered works in 1794 with a collection of three piano trios, which continue to be in the repertoire. Rather younger 보다 the others, despite equally completed because of his youthful research under Mozart and his indigenous virtuosity, wasJohann Nepomuk Hummel. Hummel learned under Haydn as well; he to be a friend to Beethoven andFranz Schubert. That concentrated an ext on the piano than any kind of other instrument, and his time in London in 1791 and 1792 generated the composition and also publication in 1793 of three piano sonatas, opus 2, which idiomatically provided Mozart’s techniques of staying clear of the intended cadence, and Clementi’s occasionally modally unsure virtuoso figuration. Bring away together, this composers deserve to be viewed as the vanguard the a large change in style and the facility of music. They studied one another’s works, duplicated one another’s gestures in music, and on chance behaved favor quarrelsome rivals.

The vital differences v the previous wave deserve to be viewed in the downward change in melodies, enhancing durations the movements, the acceptance of Mozart and Haydn as paradigmatic, the higher use of key-board resources, the shift from “vocal” writing to “pianistic” writing, the growing pull of the minor and of modal ambiguity, and the raising importance of varying accompanying figures to bring “texture” forward together an aspect in music. In short, the late classic was seeking a music the was internally more complex. The development of concert societies and also amateur orchestras, noting the importance of music as part of middle-class life, contributed to a booming market for pianos, piano music, and also virtuosi to serve as examplars. Hummel, Beethoven, and Clementi were every renowned for their improvising.

Direct affect of the Baroque ongoing to fade: the figured bass grew less significant as a way of holding power together, the performance methods of the mid-18th century continued to dice out. However, at the very same time, complete editions that Baroque masters started to end up being available, and also the affect of Baroque style continued to grow, an especially in the ever much more expansive usage of brass. One more feature that the duration is the growing number of performances where the composer was not present. This led to boosted detail and also specificity in notation; for example, there to be fewer “optional” components that stood individually from the key score.

The force of these shifts became noticeable with Beethoven’s third Symphony, offered the name Eroica, i m sorry is Italian because that “heroic”, through the composer. As with Stravinsky’s The Rite the Spring, it may not have actually been the very first in all of its innovations, but its aggressive use of every component of the classical style collection it except its contemporary works: in length, ambition, and also harmonic resources as well.

First Viennese School

The first Viennese college is a name mostly used to refer to three composers the the Classical period in late-18th-centuryVienna: W. A. Mozart, Haydn, and also Beethoven. Franz Schubert is occasionally included to the list.

In German speak countries, the term Wiener Klassik (lit. Viennese classic era/art) is used. The term is often an ext broadly applied to the classical era in music together a whole, together a means to distinguish it from other periods that are colloquially described as classical, namely Baroque and Romantic music.

The ax “Viennese School” was very first used by Austrian musicologist Raphael Georg Kiesewetter in 1834, back he only counted Haydn and also Mozart as members of the school. Other writers followed suit, and also eventually Beethoven was added to the list. The designation “first” is added today to avoid confusion with the Second Viennese School.

Whilst, Schubert apart, these composers certainly knew each other (with Haydn and also Mozart even being sometimes chamber-music partners), over there is no feeling in which lock were engaged in a collaborative initiative in the sense that one would certainly associate with 20th-century schools such as the second Viennese School, or Les Six. No one is there any far-reaching sense in which one composer was “schooled” by an additional (in the means that Berg and Webern to be taught by Schoenberg), though it is true that Beethoven because that a time got lessons indigenous Haydn.

Attempts to expand the first Viennese college to include such later numbers as Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, and Gustav Mahler are merely journalistic, and also never encountered in academic musicology.

Classical affect on later on composers

1875 oil painting of Franz Schubert by Wilhelm august Rieder, ~ his own 1825 watercolor portrait 

Musical eras seldom disappear at once; instead, attributes are replaced over time, until the old is simply felt together “old-fashioned”. The classical style did no “die” so lot as transform under the load of changes.

One critical change to be the change towards harmonies centering about “flatward” keys: shifts in thesubdominant direction. In the timeless style, major crucial was far an ext common than minor, chromaticism being moderated v the usage of “sharpward” modulation, and sections in the minor setting were frequently merely because that contrast. Start with Mozart and Clementi, there started a creeping emigration of the subdominant region. V Schubert, subdominant moves prospered after being presented in contexts in which previously composers would have actually confined themselves to leading shifts. This presented darker colors come music, strengthened the boy mode, and also made framework harder to maintain. Beethoven contributed to this by his boosting use the the fourth as a consonance, and also modal ambiguity—for example, the opening of the D boy Symphony.

Franz Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber, and John Field are among the most significant in this generation of “Classical Romantics”, in addition to the young Felix Mendelssohn. Their feeling of type was strongly affected by the classical style, and also they were not yet “learned” (imitating rule which were codified through others), yet they directly responded to functions by Beethoven, Mozart, Clementi, and also others, together they encountered them. The instrumental pressures at their disposal were additionally quite “Classical” in number and variety, allow similarity with classical works.

However, the pressures destined to finish the hold of the classical style gathered strength in the functions of each of the over composers. The most generally cited one is harmonic innovation. Also important is the increasing emphasis on having actually a continuous and rhythmically uniform accompanying figuration:Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was the design for hundreds of later pieces—where the shifting movement of a rhythmic number provides lot of the drama and interest the the work, when a melody drifts above it. Better knowledge that works, higher instrumental expertise, increasing range of instruments, the growth of concert societies, and the unstoppable domination of the piano—which produced a huge audience for advanced music—all contributed to the shift to the “Romantic” style.

Drawing the line between these two styles is impossible: part sections of Mozart’s works, bring away alone, are identical in harmony and orchestration indigenous music created 80 years later—and composers proceed to create in normative classical styles into the 20th century. Even prior to Beethoven’s death, composers such as Louis Spohr were self-described Romantics, incorporating, because that example, an ext extravagant chromaticism in their works.

However, Vienna’s loss as the most important musical facility for orchestral ingredient is usually felt to note the classic style’s last eclipse—and the end of its constant organic advancement of one composer discovering in close proximity come others. Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin visited Vienna as soon as young, yet they then relocated on to various other vistas. Composers together as Carl Czerny, when deeply affected by Beethoven, also searched for brand-new ideas and brand-new forms come contain the larger civilization of music expression and performance in which they lived.

See more: What Is The Largest City In North Korea N Cities, Population Of Cities In North Korea (2021)

Renewed attention in the official balance and also restraint the 18th century classic music led in the early on 20th century come the breakthrough of so-called Neoclassical style, which numbered Stravinsky and Prokofiev among the proponents, at least at particular times in their careers.

Classical period instruments




Basset clarinetBasset hornClarinette d’amourClassical clarinetChalumeau




BuccinOphicleide – serpent replacement, precursor of tubaFrench horn

Timeline of classic composers


Further reading

External links