The Classical era of the eighteenth century was a period of major changes for the world by the great compositions from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The Classical era of music started from 1750-1820. The major composers of this time were Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Gluck in vocals and instrumentation. The variety in genres of music in the Classical era was the sonata, string quartet, and the orchestra. The difference in music style from the Baroque Era was that classical music was much longer and had more than a singular rhythm. The melody was tuneful with variety of crescendos. The harmony changed at varied point of a composition(Campbell,p. 150).
Sonata in the Classical Period used one or two instruments. This was later modified by the Sonata form. The Sonata form is different in that it has three varied movements in the same composition. The first begins fast, preceded by a slower movement then finally a fast one again. An example is the piano Sonata from Mozart. The opening key sets the mood for the whole piece of music. It had a lively tempo. Then there is dramatization with a move from one key to another to produce syncopated rhythms to raise the melody of the music and is a bit slower (Campbell, p.150-153).
The last part is marked by tension and surprise with a fast tempo. In the development section in the sonata form, the rhythm, melody, and harmony are modified to make the music less conventional. Mozart’s compositions had this characteristic(Campbell, p.150-153).
Another example of Sonata is the string quartet. The instruments in a string quartet are the violin, the cello and the harpsichord and the music produced is of the same timbre. This style was different from the former sound in which the instruments produced contrast and different sounds. For instance, in Corelli’s solo sonata, the sounds of the instruments vary.The piano was invented in this era replacing the harpsichord whose strings would break easily(Campbell, p.153- 154).
The symphony orchestra consists of about 100 or more musicians playing a variety of instruments from woodwind, brass, and percussions. There are other instruments that are played such as the piano. The string instruments make up the core of the orchestra. Mozart’s concerto consisted of a flute and harp known as Flute Concerto. An example of a modern well-known orchestra is the Chicago Symphony (Campbell, p. 9-12).
Some of the major masterpieces by Mozart were the last ten string quartets in C major, the Clarinet Concerto, the Serenades and the six symphonies. He had composed over 20 piano concertos which are models to date. The opera of Don Giovanni was Mozart’s major works and has been considered as “the greatest opera composition” worldwide. The themes are well carried out in the dynamics and tempo(Schefold).
Color is used in music when a particular composition of one instrument has been redone by using a variety of instruments mainly to add a variety of tones. The dynamics of Mozart’s music was soft and loud. In the classical era, the orchestra had more color with the inclusion of instruments such as flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons (Campbell, p.157).
In the Classical period, the low class could not mingle with the high class commonly known as the aristocrats. There was segregation according to economic ability. Mozart composed Serenades and concerto music preceded by a flute in his time. The serenades were played in parties in the aristocrat’s houses in the high-class society(Schefold).
The classical era came with its advancement of society. With this new style of music, there were more jobs created in the orchestra. There was also a new need to have people write about the music hence writing became predominant. There were public concerts, musicians and artists. Music was not meant to be understood but enjoyed. There were the formation of schools and a new attitude towards religion was formed. There was also a lot of achievement in art and literature. Their art was more passionate and descriptive (Schefold).
The different elements of music have well been used by Mozart in his compositions. You notice the use of fast and slow tempo, form, texture harmony and melody. There is a wider range of instruments being used with the introduction of the piano in this era. Mozart’s compositions have been greatly practiced in society today. There are major schools of music reading about these eighteenth-century compositions. It has also been a way of living for people who have studied his music over the years.
In conclusion, music is a very strong agent for change in any society. Even in this modern time, music has been used to educate people. It has also been used to change people’s perception and promote positive aspects in society such as peace.
Michael Campbell. Student’s Edition, Schirmer Cengage Learning, Boston, MA, 2011. Print.
SCHEFOLD, K.The art of Classical Greece, New York. 1966. Print.
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