Classical Era (1750-1825): music history terms

  1. Viennese School
    • in 18th century Vienna, Austria emerged as a musical center
    • prinicple composers include Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, leaders in the forging of the Classical style
    • music of the Classical era is best repesented by the work of these three composers. (all associated with Vienna)
  2. classicism
    • pertains to the highest level of excellence
    • possessing enduring value or timeless quality
    • refers to the cultures of ancient Rome and Greece as well as the art, architecture, and music of the late 18th centure
    • emphasis on symmetry, balance, and simplicity
  3. sonata cycle
    • a multi-movement structure
    • emerged in the Classical era
    • occurs in symphony, sonata, and concerto
  4. sonata form
    • a formal structure often used in first movement of a sonata cycle
    • consists of Exposition (statement of two or more contrasting themes), development, and Recapitulation
  5. Sturm und Drang
    • German for "storm and stress"
    • Two writers (Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) demonstrated this movement of high level of emotionalism and dealing with the individual's revolt against society
    • literary movement roughly spanning the years 1760-1785
    • artistic aim was to frighten, shock, or otherwise overwhelm the reader with emotion
    • musically, it translated into passionate outbursts and emphasis on minor keys
    • evident in the music of the sons of Bach, Haydn, and Mozart
  6. Mannheim
    • group of composers active at the court of Mannheim, Germany in the latter half og the 18th century
    • leading figures included Karl Stamitz and Christian Cannabich
    • developed the orchestral crescendo and rocket theme
    • exerted a strong influence on the composers of the Viennese School
  7. exposition
    • the first main section in sonata form
    • two contrasting themes are stated
    • the first theme is in the tonic key
    • the second theme (or themes) are in a contrasting key, generally in the dominant or relative major
  8. development
    • the second main section in sonata form
    • themes from the exposition are manipulated through fragmentation, sequential treatment or changes to orchestration
    • modulations and increased harmonic tension
    • new themes may also be introduced
  9. recapitulation
    • the third section in sonata form
    • first and second themes are both restated in the tonic
  10. coda
    • Latin for "tail" (cauda)
    • a concluding section reaffirming the tonic key
  11. Italian overture
    • an orchestral genre developed in the early 18th century
    • an extended work in three sections: fast-slow-fast; it formed the basis of the Classical symphony
  12. monothematic exposition
    • in sonata form: Theme 2 is a transposed version of Theme 1
    • frequently employed by Haydn
  13. oratorio
    • large scale choral work
    • generally based on sacred subjects
    • performing forces include vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra
    • performed in a concert setting without scenery, costumes, or acting
  14. opera buffa
    • Italian comic opera
    • sung throughout with no spoken dialogue
    • featured down-to-earth characters, fast-paced plots, farce, and sexual innuendo
  15. modified sonata form
    • an abbreviated sonata form
    • contains an Exposition and Recapitulation, but no Development
    • developed by composers in the 18th century
  16. terzetto
    • Italian term for "trio"
    • a musical number for three voice (characters)
  17. overture
    • an orchestral work preceding an opera or oratorio
    • frequently in sonata form
    • in the 18th century, composers frequently quoted themes which would be heard later in the opera
  18. singspiel
    • German comic opera
    • contains spoken dialogue
  19. Cadenza
    • solo passage found in concertos and arias
    • in the 18th century, it was generally improvised by the soloist
    • displays virtuosity of soloist(s)
  20. double exposition
    • used in the first movement of a Classical concerto
    • orchestral exposition introduces the principal themes and establishes the tonic key
    • solo exposition follows, during which the soloist, supported by the orchestra, restates the first theme and initiates the modulation away from the tonic key
  21. tremolo
    a rapid alternation between two notes or between notes of chord
  22. rondo form
    • ABACA or ABACABA (or variants thereof)
    • Section A must be heard at least three times in the tonic key
    • Sections B and C contrasts in key and thematic material
  23. chamber music
    • music for small ensemble (2-10 players)
    • one player per part
    • usualy performed without conductor
  24. string quartet
    • the most popular chamber ensemble of the Classical era
    • two violins, viola, and cello
    • as a genre, also refers to a composition written for this ensemble, generally in four movements: fast-slow-medium-fast
  25. piano quintet
    • chamber ensemble consisting of piano and four other instruments
    • most common grouping is piano with string quartet, though other combinations are possible
    • also refers to a composition written for five instruments
  26. theme and variations
    • a work featuring a statement of a melody (theme) followed by a series of transdormations (variations)
    • changes can be made to melody, harmony, rhythm, or orchestration
    • often used in the slow movement of sonata cycle
  27. Gluck and Operatic Reform
    German-born composer Christoph Wilibard Gluck (1714-1787) occupies an important place in the history of opera because of the reforms he introduced. By the late Baroque era, operas had begun to favor empty musical display over dramatic integrity. The overtures often had little to do with the work that followed, lengthy ballets were a distraction, and the stars of the day-the singers-would often substitute an aria from a different opera if they felt it would display their virtuosity more effectively.

    Gluck's primary goalwas to restore dramatic integrity to opera. He believed, much like Claudio Monteverdi did before him, that the music should serve the poetry

    • Gluck's many achievements in the development of 18th century opera style include:
    • - Restoration of the chorus (long absent from Italian opera) by making it an integral part of the dramatic action
    • - minimizing the contrast between recitative and aria by frequently composing in an arioso style
    • - making the overture an organic part of the scoreby using theme that would be heard later in the opera
    • the rejection of empty displays of virtuosity in favor of, as he put it, "a beautiful simplicity"
    • operas included Orfeo ed Euridice, Alceste, Iphigenie en Aulide, Iphigenie en Tauride
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Classical Era (1750-1825): music history terms
music history terms for the classical era