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|History of Music
Learning the Violin
| Music historians divide music into categories and eras depending on what style was most popular at the time. Since there are no definite dates of when one period stops and another starts, the time periods are estimated. Each era of music has different styles and various techniques that it is characterized by.
Baroque: (1600-1760) Baroque music is widely studied, listened to, and performed throughout the music world. Composers in this era, such as Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, made changes in musical notation and developed new instrumental playing techniques. The Baroque era made opera known as a musical genre, which is was not considered before. Baroque music is known for many distinct characteristics. First, these compositions use a Bass Continuo, a constant accompaniment of bass instruments throughout the piece. Next, Baroque music was the first to combine vocal and instrumental talents. Finally, this era of music is known to have a clear and linear melody that is easy to listen to. Baroque music is the kind of music that has defined technique as an essential part of performance.
Classical: (1730-1820) During the Classical Era, changes were made to the way music was arranged and performed. Dynamics, the volume of notes, were more often loud, violent, and harsh during the Classical era. Forms of compositions, such as the sonata and concerto, were given more specific rules to increase the performance of single virtuoso performers. Classical music can be identified in several ways. First, it has a lighter, clearer texture and is much less complicated than Baroque music. Secondly, variety in keys, melodies, dynamics, and rhythms can often be seen in classical music. Lastly, classical music is often characterized by an emphasis on grace and beauty throughout the melody. Over the course of the classical era of music, important changes were made the organization and performance of music.
Romantic: (1815-1910) In the romantic era, music was known to have an expansion of formal structures within the composition, making the pieces more passionate and expressive. Composers during this time period can be easily identified from their music. Romantic music is characterized in several different ways. First, it uses an extensive orchestra and includes a brass section, which is not commonly used in orchestral pieces. Second, it displays the virtuosity of pianists and violinists throughout solos in most compositions. Lastly, romantic pieces emphasize on lyrical, songlike melodies that often use discords. Throughout the Romantic Era, new leaps were made in mood and tone of music, bringing the audience’s experience to a whole new level.
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