The word Romanticism was first used to describe the stirrings of new ideas in painting and literature towards the end of the 18th century. This word was later taken up by musicians to describe the changes in musical style, which took place soon after the turn of the century.
Classical composers had aimed to strike a balance in their music between expressiveness and formal structure. Romantic composers shifted this balance. They looked for a greater freedom of form and design in their music, and a more powerful and intense expression of emotion, often revealing their innermost thoughts and feelings, even sufferings. We find emotion to some degree, of course, in almost all music, whatever the style or period may be, but we find it expressed most strongly of all in the music of the Romantic period.
Many romantic composers read widely and took a keen interest in art, forming close friendships with writers and painters. Often, the inspiration behind a composition by a Romantic composer was sparked off by a painting that he had seen, or by a book or a poem he had read. Imagination, fantasy and a quest for adventure are important ingredients in Romantic style. Among the many ideas which hold a strong fascination for Romantic composers are: far-off lands and the distant past: dreams, night and moonlight: rivers, lakes and forests; nature and the seasons; the joy and pain of love (especially young love); legends and fairy-tales; mystery, magic and the supernatural.
The Romantic Musical Style
1. TONALITY Basic diatonic keys are used but the feel of the home key became less clear due to the use of:
2. HARMONY a. Chromatic harmony were freely used for expressive purposes
b. Seventh chord and nine chord were more often used.
c .Made use of dissonance and chromatic note more freely.
d. Wide leaps were used in the accompaniment pattern.
3. MELODY The melodic lines were more lyrical and expressive.
4. TEXTURE a. Homophonic in nature
b. Compared to the Classical music, the texture of the Romantic music is more sonorous
5. DYNAMIC a. The range in dynamic was much wider.
b. Expression marks were freely used to convey a specific feel or mood.
THE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS
The more outstanding Romantic composers in chronological order are:
|KIND OF WORK||FAMOUS COMPOSERS|
|Opera||Wagner, Verdi and Rimsky-Korsakov|
|Song||Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf|
|Song Cycle||Schubert, Schumann and Brahms|
|Piano Works||Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt and Brahms|
|Symphony||Schubert, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky|
|Symphonic-Poem||Liszt and Berlioz|
|Concerto||Chopin, Brahms and Tchaikovsky|
|Chamber Music||Schubert, Schumann, Dvorak and Brahms|
SOME IMPORTANT WORKS
KIND OF WORK
The Erl King
The Winter Journey
The Swan Songs
|Berlioz||Symphonic-poem||Romeo and Juliet
|Song Without Words
St. Paul Elijah
|Chopin||Piano Works||Fantasy Impromptu
|The Poets Love
The Flying Dutchman
|The Song of Destiny
The Song of Triumph
No. 1 in C minor
No. 2 in D
|Mussorgsky||Piano Work||Pictures at an Exhibition|
The Sleeping Beauty
Romeo and Juliet
|No. 1 in C minor
No. 2 in B flat
|Grieg||Orchestral Work||Peer Gynt Suite|
|Rimsky-Korsakov||Opera||The Snow Maiden