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 fathers 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 CLASSICAL COMPOSERS
The more outstanding Classical composers in chronological order are:
|C.P.E. Bach (German)|
|KIND OF WORK||FAMOUS COMPOSERS|
|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|
|Opera||Gluck and Mozart|
SOME IMPORTANT WORKS
KIND OF WORK
The Mirriage of Figaro
The Magic Flute
The Harp Quartet