Classical’ and ‘classic’ both come from the Latin word classicus, meaning a citizen (and, later on, a writer) of the highest class. And so we have come to use these words in connection with anything we consider being top class, first rating, of lasting value. We count the plays of Shakespeare or the novels of Charles Dickens among the ‘classics’ of literature; and we describe the style of architecture of ancient Greece and Rome as ‘classical’ – meaning a style which places an importance on grace and simplicity, beauty of line and shape, balance and proportion, order and control.


As far as music is concerned, the word ‘classical’ may be used in two different ways. People sometimes speak in a very general way of ‘classical music’ when they think of all music as being divided into two very broad categories: ’classical’ and ‘pop’. To a musician, though, ‘classical’ with a capital ‘C’ has a special, very much more precise, meaning. It refers specifically to music composed between 1750 and 1810- a fairly brief period which includes the music of Haydn and Mozart, and the earlier compositions of Beethoven.


These two dates, 1750 and 1810, should not be applied too strictly however. Baroque style did not make an abrupt change to Classical style. There were signs of change as far back as the 1750s and so classical style, in fact, began to grow up within the last years of the Baroque period. The Baroque trio sonata began to give way to the classical sonata: and the Italian overture, found in many Baroque operas, grew into the classical symphony. While Bach continued to compose in the mainly contrapuntal style of the late Baroque, his sons – though they held great respect for their father’s music- favoured a lighter, more homophonic style in their own compositions.


As for a date fixing the close of the Classical period, some might suggest 1827 (the year of the death of Beethoven) while others would offer a much earlier date – for instance, 1800.



The Classical Musical Style

1. TONALITY The basic diatonic keys are used.

2. HARMONY a. Principal chords are used more often

     b. The pattern of the harmonic accompaniments are kept simple

3. MELODY         The melodic lines were simpler and more diatonic as compared to the Baroque.

4. TEXTURE Homophonic in nature

5. DYNAMIC The range in dynamic is still narrow but is definitely much wider as compared to the Baroque.


HOMOPHONIC -A style in writing where the melody sounds against the accompaniment.



The more outstanding Classical composers in chronological order are:

Gluck (German)
C.P.E. Bach (German)
Hadyn (Austrian)
Mozart (Austrian)
Beethoven (German)
Sonata Hadyn, Mozart, Beethoven and C.P.E Bach
Symphony Hadyn, Mozart and Beethoven
Concerto Hadyn, Mozart and Beethoven
String Quartet Hadyn, Mozart and Beethoven
Church Music Hadyn and Mozart


Gluck and Mozart







Gluck Opera Alceste


Mozart Symphony


Chamber Music


Paris Symphony

Jupiter Symphony

Coronation Concerto

Prussian Quartet

Stadler Quintet

The Mirriage of Figaro

The Magic Flute

Hadyn Symphony

String Quartet


Surprise Symphony

Clock Symphony

Emperor Quartet

Sunrise Quartet

The Seasons

The Creation

Beethoven Symphony


String Quartet

Piano Sonata

Erioca Symphony

Victory Symphony

Emperor Concerto

The Harp Quartet

The Moonlight

The Waldstein