Showing posts with label Classical Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classical Music. Show all posts

Monday, September 25, 2017

CLASSIC Italian Music - Who Are Some of the Composers?

The origins of music on the Italian Peninsula have been discovered back to the music of Ancient Rome. However, the foundations of practically modern and classic Italian music arrived from the Middle Ages. Italy was the region of various important musical developments in the growth of the Christian liturgies in the West. The most primitive existent music in the West is plainsong, a type of monophonic, solo, early Christian singing executed by the Roman Catholic monks, which was chiefly developed approximately between the seventh and twelfth centuries.


Roughly, in the year 1335, the Rossi Codex that was the earliest existent collection of Italian secular polyphony, enclosed the examples of autochthonic Italian genres of the Trecento that includes early ballet, cacce, and madrigals. The Ivrea Codex (dated about 1360) and the Squarcialupi Codex (dated about 1410) were the leading sources of advanced Trecento music that includes the music of Francesco Landini, who was the renowned blind composer. All around the 15th century, Italy got into a slow period in domestic composition, with the exclusion of a couple of bright lights such as the anthologist and performer Leonardo Giustinian.

During the 16th century, Italy reached the advent of published polyphonic music and improvements in the instrumental music, which had been distributed globally as music feature of the Renaissance. The period 1600-1750 comprehends the musical Baroque. During this period, the keyboard was modified, and the creation of stringed musical instruments by Antonio Stradivari developed a great business in Cremona. The extraordinary opera houses La Scala and the San Carlo Theater were constructed respectively in Milan and Naples.




Opera arose in Italy in the late 1500s. In the following centuries, the traditions of opera modernized in Naples and Venice. During this period, the operas of Alessandro Scarlatti, Claudio Monteverdi, Gaetano Donizetti, Gioacchino Rossini, and Vincenzo Bellini grew vigorously. Opera has stayed on the musical form that most closely associated with Italian music and identity.

Italy has a retentive chronicle of music for the Roman Catholic Church. Circa 1800 to 1900 was a century on which a more entertaining, operatic, and renowned type of church music was found out. Italian contributions to the ballet are less recognized and appreciated that in other fields of classical music.

The most noteworthy features of classic Italian music were developed in the 19th century that distinguished it from the development of music elsewhere in the world. All substantial Italian composers of this century wrote opera virtually to the exception of other forms of music, such as the symphony.

During the 19th century, the renowned example of Italian ballet is likely Excelsior -music directed by Romualdo Marenco and choreographed by Luigi Manzotti. It was composed in the year 1881; however, it is still being performed (recently staged in the year 2002). Classical Italian music grew gradually into the mid-20th century.


    Veronica Valentine is an accomplished niche website developer and author.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Medieval and Renaissance EUROPE MUSIC

Medieval and Renaissance Europe

While musical life in Europe was undoubtedly rich in the early Medieval era, as attested by artistic depictions of instruments, writings about music, and other records, the only European repertory which has survived from before about 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church, the central tradition of which was called Gregorian chant. Several schools of liturgical polyphony flourished beginning in the 12th century. Alongside these traditions of sacred music, a vibrant tradition of secular song developed, exemplified by the music of the troubadours, trouveres and Minnesanger.



Much of the surviving music of 14th century Europe is secular. By the middle of the 15th century, composers and singers used a smooth polyphony for sacred musical compositions such as the mass, the motet, and the laude, and secular forms such as the chanson and the madrigal. The introduction of commercial printing had an immense influence on the dissemination of musical styles.

European Baroque

The first operas, written around 1600 and the rise of contrapuntal music define the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque era that lasted until roughly 1750, the year of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach.



German Baroque composers wrote for small ensembles including strings, brass, and woodwinds, as well as Choirs, pipe organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. During the Baroque period, several major music forms were defined that lasted into later periods when they were expanded and evolved further, including the Fugue, the Invention, the Sonata, and the Concerto.

European Classical

The music of the Classical period is characterized by homophonic texture, often featuring prominent melody with accompaniment.



These new melodies tended to be almost voice-like and singable. The now popular instrumental music was dominated by further evolution of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque period: the sonata, and the concerto, with the addition of the new form, the symphony. Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, well known even today, are among the central figures of the Classical period.



Friday, August 4, 2017

CLASSICAL for Beginners

Now and then, people ask me for advice on where to begin with the daunting world of classical music recordings. They've heard bits here and there, they're curious, they imagine they'd probably enjoy it once they got involved, but they wouldn't know where to look if they walked into -- oops, I mean logged onto eMusic.com and started poking around. My strategy is always to offer a handful of suggestions, in as wide a variety as possible. "Try these," I say. "See what grabs you, and we'll work from there." 

That's the idea behind this Dozen. Here are 12 recordings selected to entice people who have had little exposure to classical music, but who know they want more. I've carefully contrived the list to cover a wide range of colors and styles, instruments and moods, shapes and sizes. Some pieces are light, some heavy; some charming, some imposing; some dramatic, meditative, amorous, tragic, lofty, goofy. All in all, the selections encompass 1,200 years of music history -- and they've all been chosen to make a good first impression and whet your appetite. They're "gateway" works, if you will. I'd be surprised if there were anyone who couldn't find something on this list that pleasured and intrigued them. Think of it as a sampler, a tapas menu: if you don't care for the stuffed olives/Renaissance Mass, try the garlic shrimp/20th-century string quartet. 

Are these the twelve greatest works ever? No, though some of them could justly claim a place on such a list. Most of these are works I actually have suggested to people, and which have gotten a favorable response. Others I have seen appeal to newbies in ways I never expected. Others are just a few personal favorites which I proselytize for whenever possible. 

Gregorian Chant For Easter
Artist: Capella Antiqua, Munich 
Release Date: 2006



The recorded history of "classical" music in the Western "art" tradition (so many of these terms are so problematic) begins in the medieval period with music composed for church use -- settings of sacred texts in Latin for choirs singing in unison, just one note at a time. The serene meditativeness of Gregorian chant (named for liturgical reformer Pope Gregory, 540-604, who launched the practice according to legend) has made it popular in recent years, usable as a backdrop for anything from yoga to post-rave chilling. There are plenty of chant CDs out there, some with hipper packaging, but these performances by the male voices of Capella Antiqua, Munich, surrounded by a cathedral-like halo of reverb, are stately and gorgeous.

Ockeghem: Requiem
Artist: Ensemble Organum, Marcel Pérès 
Release Date: 1993



A friend of mine, also a musician, has played a number of classical pieces for his infant son, and reports that Allen seems to like the music of Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497) best. It could be the way this Renaissance composer weaves voices together to create a sort of ear-blanket. Or perhaps this music's low gentle murmuring reminds him of sounds in utero. Either way, the Ensemble Organum's performance of this Requiem (a Mass to honor the dead) is spacious and calm, but also possesses a sort of authoritative, virile resonance. 

Bach: Six Concertos for the Margrave of Brandenburg
Artist: Trevor Pinnock 
Release Date: 2008



Incomparably joyous and sparkling, these six pieces can claim to be both the greatest of baroque instrumental works and, with the possible exception of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" concertos, the most popular. Composers in the baroque era (roughly 1600-1750) prioritized a musical skill called counterpoint, the practice of combining independent instrumental or vocal lines into a complex whole. Johann Sebastian Bach had no rivals (and surely never will) in this art, giving every section of the orchestra something rewarding -- and fun -- to do. He built structures of grandeur and irresistible energy. Each of these concertos are scored for a different combination; if you'd like a taste, try the first movement of the Concerto no. 2, in which four bright-toned soloists (violin, flute, oboe and trumpet) dance festively around the accompanying string orchestra, or the fleet finale of the Concerto no. 3, a whirlwind showpiece for strings alone.

MOZART: Overtures
Artist: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart



After Bach and his contemporaries had brought Baroque counterpoint to its peak, composers of the next generation reacted by lightening the texture of their music. The melody line dominated, and the middle and bass instruments were entrusted with harmonic and rhythmic accompaniment rather than with independent lines of their own. This new style, though, was no less bubbling and energetic -- see the overtures (instrumental preludes) which Mozart (1756-91) wrote for his operas. Brilliant attention-getters, arresting but never too pompous, full of catchy tunes, cheeky wind solos and stirring trumpet-and drum passages, these overtures are played with great verve by Capella Istropolitana.


CHOPIN: Etudes Opp. 10 and 25
Artist: Freddy Kempf 
Release Date: 2004



Frederic Chopin's music, full of innovations in nuances of harmony and delicate coloristic effects, pushed the boundaries of what a piano could do. In these two sets of etudes (completed in 1832 and 1836), he also pushed piano technique, making unprecedented demands of virtuosity in works that are still among the most richly dazzling ever written. Not all the pieces are finger-tanglers, though; some are studies in sensitive touch and singing melody. Though pianist Freddy Kempf's technique is precise, these etudes are for him poetry first; in op. 10 no. 3 in E or op. 25 no. 1 in A-flat, he phrases the surface melody with the expressivity a great vocalist might bring to it.

Pearl Fishers and Other Famous Operatic Duets
Artist: Various Artists

It occurred to me that an album of duets might make an even better introduction to opera than one of solo arias -- even though those big diva/divo moments are what the general public thinks of when they hear the term opera. Duets, of course, display the character interplay that the dramatic side of opera is all about: love, conflict, friendship -- or betrayal, as in the searing finale to Act II of Verdi's Otello, when Iago falsely swears loyalty to the title character. Two rapturous and justly popular duets recorded here come from French operas, the rest from Italian. Complete recordings of many of these operas are also available on eMusic, so if these excerpts whet your appetite, you can move on to explore the entire work.


Dvorak / Haydn / Shostakovich: String Quartets
Artist: Quartetto Cassoviae 
Release Date: 2000

Contained on this disc is a mini-history of the string quartet itself: an elegant, buoyant piece (1799) by Franz Josef Haydn, a pioneer of the form; a fragrantly tuneful example (1893) by Antonin Dvorak, written under the influence of American folksong; and a bitter, semi-autobiographical work (1960) by Dmitri Shostakovich, reflective of his state of mind during a life lived under Soviet oppression. The Quartetto Cassoviae's performance of this last quartet is perhaps the disc's most impressive: it's taut, wiry, grippingly expressive and even a little nightmarish.
  
Alexander Borodin: Symphony No.2 - Conducted by Carlos Kleiber & Erich Kleiber
Artist: Kleiber 
Release Date: 2003



I chose this symphony because I clearly remember my sister, eight or nine at the time, dragged to one of my school orchestra concerts and, at its conclusion, telling me she liked this piece best. The brusque gesture that launches Alexander Borodin's Second Symphony (1876) is definitely one of the more arresting openings: glowering, passionate and Russian, Russian, Russian. Compare it to the sinuous oboe melody that comes later, and you hear the two sides of Borodin's musical personality: barbaric vs. sensuous, both tinged with the exotic folk colors of ancient Asian tribes. This disc is also the only one I know that offers father-son performances of the same work, by Erich (1890-1956) and Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004).

STRAVINSKY: 125th Anniversary Album - The Rite of Spring / Violin Concerto (Stravinsky, Vol. 8)
Artist: Jennifer Frautschi

When Igor Stravinsky got a commission to write music for a ballet depicting ancient fertility rituals, did he intend from the start to revolutionize musical history? He filled his colorful score (completed in 1913) with pounding, asymmetrical rhythms and harsh dissonances -- unprecedented elements at the time; he's one of the many composers in the first few decades of the 20th century who tossed a bomb into the middle of Romantic-era assumptions about what music could be. This earthy, viscerally intense showpiece still startles audiences -- especially those who see classical music as something stuffy and genteel. Think of it as heavy metal classical. Robert Craft, a longtime colleague of the composer, conducts a particularly gutsy and un-pretty performance.

Strauss: Symphonia Domestica / Eine Alpensinfonie / Oboe Concerto / Duett-Concertino
Artist: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 
Release Date: 2006

This disc shows the two sides of composer Richard Strauss. In the Symphonia domestica (1903) and Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony, 1915), he capped the tradition of German romanticism with two of the grandest and most opulent orchestral works ever; in his two nostalgic concertos (one for oboe from 1945, the other for clarinet and bassoon from 1947), he revived the spirit of Mozart in slender, tuneful, but autumnal pieces for a (much) smaller orchestra. Oboe soloist Jonathan Small, in particular, plays with ravishing fluency, and conductor Gerard Schwarz is especially adept in this soaring, sweeping music.

Daughters Of The Lonsome Isle
Artist: Margaret Leng Tan 
Release Date: 1994

Just by inserting screws, rubber erasers and other tidbits between a piano's strings, John Cage (1912-1992) was able to turn the instrument into a miniature percussion orchestra. This was just one of the avant gardist's many innovations. On this disc, keyboardist Margaret Leng Tan, the world's foremost toy piano virtuoso, pays homage to Cage's experiments, his rhythmic vitality and the Zen-inspired spirit that led him to ask profound conceptual questions about music. But even as Cage challenged traditional notions of music, it's not hard to find great beauty, wit, depth and spiritual gentleness in his work. It's scarcely possible, for example, not to fall in love with Cage's pulsing, gnomic Bacchanale or the elegiac In the Name of the Holocaust, which proves that the instrument he called a "prepared piano" was just as capable of stark intensity.

Reich: Different Trains
Artist: The Duke Quartet, Andrew Russo & Marc Mellits

As a child in the early '40s, composer Steve Reich used to travel across the U.S. by train each year. In thinking about the very "different trains" he could have been riding as a Jew had he grown up in Europe, Reich was inspired to compose this powerful work for string quartet and tape. Snippets of recorded interviews with actual railroad employees are woven among the urgently churning string parts, with their licks echoing the speakers' vocal inflections. Also included here is Reich's 1967 Piano Phase, which was a groundbreaking early work that used a compositional technique that caught his imagination: complex rhythmic effects achieved by subtle shifts in temporal coordination between musicians, creating a trance-like rippling effect.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Development of CLASSICAL MUSIC (III)


English: The only known photograph of Frédéric...
The only known photograph of Frédéric Chopin,
often incorrectly described as a daguerreotype
Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Music in XIX century (1825-1900)

Music in this century belonged to the romantic era music. The cultivation of music in this period was marked by the expression, timbre, and melodies that departed from the works of Beethoven. Composers of this time worked on the composition based on personal experience and sense of nationalism. Poetry could also be one of "raw materials" of the composition making.

In this period, the composer were said to reach a level of virtuoso, meaning a level that indicated that a composer was very skilled in playing musical instruments. Composer has already considered the aspects of the sound and the effects that were generated by the techniques of playing instrument.

In this time, the revolutionary changes happened. The changes were made by Richard Wagner. He combined the elements of music, poetry, and scenarios by using leitmotif technique, namely the technique of using motif or musical theme on both character and part of opera story.

The instruments used in this period were much more diverse. Melody grew longer, more dramatic and emotional. Tempo was also more extreme in which mostly used tempo rubato (freedom).

The famous composers in this time were Franz Schubert, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi, Johannes Brahms, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss.

Photograph of Claude Debussy
Photograph of Claude Debussy
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Music in XX century (1900s)

Around 1900, there was a reaction against romantic music. This reaction was expressed in the group of impressionism that was pioneered by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Debussy was "in rebellion" with the romantic music in German by using the melody and harmony which had a new quality system based on whole-tone scales (the interval scale was 1).

Music of this century was called impressionist era. There was atonal expressionism music, namely music without the basic tone but full of expression. The melody movement flew with strange and expressive rhythmic. Many people consider it like notes without meaning.

In this time, all forms and types of noise were allowed. Rhythmic could be very complex and sounded strange but expressive. In addition, composition could vary widely because it was the result of improvisation and change.

The composers of this era were Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, Scott Joplin, and Charles Ives.

Contemporary Music

The birth of record and radio media created the new markets for classical music and romantic music. Music of this period was known as the music of contemporary era. The typical music of this era was similar to the impressionist era. Its composers were Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, Olivier Messiaen, Luigi Dallapicolla, and Luciano Berio.



Friday, April 28, 2017

The Development of CLASSICAL MUSIC (II)

Music in XVIII century (1600-1825)
There were two times in this century. The first era was called the baroque era. This era was around 1600 to 1750. Baroque was the beginning of modern music because it has experienced the revolution from both theory and technique of its cultivating.

The key characteristics of this era included the merger of major and minor scales, many dissonan tones, the development of the orchestra, and the regular structures, but monotony. They also included the use of violin, harpsichord, organ, and flute.

English: montage of great classical music comp...

Montage of great classical music composers - from left to right: first row - Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven; second row - Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi; third row - Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák; forth row - Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In this era, people also knew basso continuo technique, namely the bass accompaniment that brought harmony. There was repetition in the structure of music.

Composers who lived in this era were Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, and Henry Purcell.

The second era was called the classical era. Sonatas and chamber music grew with more dynamic melodies. All of the classical era rules were applied intelligently by the composers.

The key characteristics of this era were the development of musical harmony, a very strong element of the dynamics that colored the composition, and a dynamic atmosphere that was expressed through the tempo, melody, and harmony. In this era, people also knew the pattern of 'question and answer'. Piano, with its ability to create dynamic, became a very important instrument.

The popular composers in this era were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, and John Gay.

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven when composing t...

Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven 
when composing the Missa Solemnis 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Transition period of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


This period represented the transition time from classical music to romantic music that was initiated by Beethoven. He brought a dynamic element by using wider harmonies and more emotional techniques of music cultivating.

This period was called as transitional because there were some principles of classical era that were violated by Beethoven. For example: the use of the intro was considered to be the outside of the classical composition theory. However, it was precisely a characteristic of romantic music. Through his works, Beethoven influenced the transition of classical to romantic music greatly.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Development of CLASSICAL MUSIC (I)

The development of the classical music in the world is surely affected by the development of Western music. The development of Western music itself is identical with the development of instruments used.

Starting from the medieval times until today, music has undergone huge changes. Changes in the music will continue to run over time where the previous work affects the work in the next era. At least, the development of music can be classified into eight periods.

Music in the middle ages (450-1450)

The history of Western music development began from the religious or liturgical music. The development of music in this time belonged to the ancient time. This music has been around since the Greeks and Hebrews.

Actually, this music was liturgical prayers that were released, so this music was strongly influenced by the activities of the church. The popular music in this time was Gregorian. In this time, the instrument has not been found yet.

Music at the beginning of this century was monophonic. It was dominated by a single voice. Composition was sung without the pressure and relied on improvisation. In the XI century, the existence of counterpoint technique was known, namely the use of harmonization with the movement of the opposite tunes with original melodies (inversion).

The popular composers in this century were Hildegard von Bingen, Moniot d'Arras, and Guillaume de Machaut.

Music in XV & XVI century (1450-1600)

Hildegard von Bingen empfängt eine göttliche I...
Hildegard von Bingen
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Music in this century was classified into the Renaissance. It was still influenced by the church, but had to use instruments like the organ, flute, and harpsichord. The movement of the melody used kontrapung techniques, namely the movement of several melodic lines at once.

The existence of Madrigal (secular music that was sung without accompaniment), motet, Missa, fantasia, toccatta, and Fugue was also known. This century was called as a renaissance since it emerged as the development of knowledge and art.

Some characteristics of music in this century were polyphonic. In this era, people began to recognize the existence of four-voice choir that was divided into 3 types of composition. Those types were sacred (church), secular (non-ecclesiastical), and instrumental. The division of the melodic phrases was already balanced, while the vocal form was attached to the structure of the text or lyrics.

The composers in this era were Giovanni Gabrieli, Giovanni Perluigi, Orlando Lassus, Guillaume, and Du Fay.

Music in XVII century

Music in this century was influenced by opera and Oratorio. Opera was a musical drama which partly or wholly sung with orchestral accompaniment or instrumental music, while Oratorio referred to the musical drama without a script.

In Oratorio, there was usually a sacred element. Opera was originally pioneered in the Florentine Academy, Italy. Furthermore, the opera was known in France, Germany, and England. The popular composers in this time were Jocopo Peri and Claudio Monteverdi.




Monday, February 20, 2017

Who Was BEETHOVEN?

Beethoven in 1818 by August Klöber
Beethoven in 1818 by August Klöber
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Beethoven's Early Life
Beethoven was born in Germany. His family were musicians. His family was not rich. Because his father was a poor provider, Beethoven's family got a little bit of financial help from Beethoven's grandfather. Beethoven didn't learn very well at school and his family couldn't afford to send him to a good school. Beethoven had to live under a cloud of shame due to his father's bad reputation.

Beethoven also lived under his fathers pressure to make him into a famous child prodigy like Mozart had been.

Beethoven's Adulthood
As a young adult, Beethoven studied with a famous composer called Haydn. They didn't get along so his lessons ended. He also taught some pupils that became famous musicians too.

In his 20's Beethoven also moved away from Germany to Vienna. When he moved away his father died. Beethoven wrote many great compositions and managed to impress the right people at various court concerts.

Also, in his 20's Beethoven started to go deaf, affecting his social and work life.

Beethoven died of Oedema (excess water and swelling of the body) when he was 56. However doctors back then weren't as informed at making diagnoses and doing autopsies- so there were probably other health problems that contributed to his death too.

Beethoven's social life
Beethoven had a difficult personality and would often openly insult people and burst into fits of anger. He couldn't ever commit to a woman or have a normal relationship. He was attracted to women, but only really loved one woman who left him after some time to marry someone else. He never got over her and always loved her.

When Beethoven's brother died he adopted his nephew. However, the relationship wasn't very good. They often fought and his nephew even tried to commit suicide.

On top of the stress with his nephew, in his later years Beethoven had financial stress. Even though Beethoven still had work, his cashflow was not reliable because of the financial difficulties of his patrons who themselves were experiencing dwindling finances.

Listening to Beethoven's music
If you take the time to listen to Beethoven's music it will open up a world of emotions that can't be explained in words. Beethoven agonised over his compositions and was a perfectionist. He also lived in a time of great social upheaval- the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.

His works express everything from personal feelings of longing and frustration, to his desire to support or denounce the vast political and social movements which he lived through. He broke the rules of musical composition by changing the structure of his pieces and he was equally as talented at composing for orchestra's as he was for solo piano. Beethoven was certainly a unique person to be living in that time and this is what made his music so famous.

Go onto YouTube or iTunes and listen to Beethoven's music. Research when his works were written and try to match it to what Beethoven was doing at that time in his life. Was he full of hope and adventure, having just arrived in Vienna? (such as in his early years)... Or was he despondent and disillusioned? (such as in the years leading up to his death).

    By Leisha K Henry
    Visit [http://www.pianoplayerperfecter.com] to build your own individual, perfected musical style!
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Periods of Music - BAROQUE, Classical, and Romantic

Classical music of the common practice era is divided into 3 main periods, that each have distinct styles and forms. While there is a little overlap between each period, it is universally recognized that the baroque period came first, followed by the classical, and romantic romantic periods respectively.

Copy of a portrait of Claudio Monteverdi by Be...
Claudio Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi,
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
The Baroque Period (1600-1760)
The baroque period is characterized by music that is very structured and in "high form". It also is known that many of the compositions that were written in this musical era were extremely contrapuntal and contained many fugues and fugue like passages. Contrapuntal music, or music with counter-point, is polyphonic in nature and features at least two musical voices, or melodies. These voices work against each other, and when one voice is stagnant for a while the other voice tends to doing something interesting melodically. A fugue is a formal method of counter point, where one theme is repeated in different voices complementing it. The baroque era is represented by such composers as J.S. Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Friderick Handel, Arcangello Corelli, Claudio Monteverdi, and Henry Purcell.

The Classical Period (1750-1830)
The classical period takes place from the middle of the 18th century to about a quarter's way through the 19th. The classical period brought many changes to music as the greatest proportion of music was played for the wealthy upper-class nobles. This called for a drastic increase for comic operas, it also called for a decrease in the importance of a continuo part. The continuo is the harmonic fill beneath the music, commonly played by several instruments including a harpsichord.

Classical music is marked by a clearer texture than baroque music and was increasingly homophonic. Homophonic means that a chordal accompaniment supports a melody above it. The orchestra of the classical period increased and the harpsichord was replaced by the piano-forte. Early piano music was very simple and light in texture but as the classical period went on, it became richer and more sonorous.

The main kinds of compositions were sonatas, trios, string quartets, symphonies, concertos, serenades and divertimentos. The sonata form developed and became the most important form. It was used to build up the first movement of most large-scale works, but also other movements and single pieces, such as overtures. The most famous composers of the classical period include Mozart, Beethoven*, Haydn, and Schubert. (*Beethoven was a crucial factor in the movement towards the romantic period and can be classified as both classical and romantic)

Robert Schumann (June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856)...
Robert Schumann (June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856) 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Romantic Period (1815-1910)
The romantic period does not necessarily refer to romance love. instead the pieces written during this time are considered to be more passionate and expressive. Chromaticism and dissonance grew more varied as well as modulations and the properties of the 7th chord. Composers such as Beethoven and Wagner used many new chords that increased the harmonic language of the time. Composers of the romantic period include Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Weber, Chopin and Franck.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

JAZZ Music vs. CLASSICAL Music

I want to first start off with the method by which music performers approach both genres. In classical music, there is a level of precision that the artist wants to achieve, a near duplication as to what the composer intended. When I studied classical music, my piano professors wanted me to understand the sounds and style as to which the composers wanted their music played. There seems to be a consistent thought process of hearing the architecture of the music according to the time period the piece was written.

English: montage of great classical music comp...
Montage of great classical music composers - from left to right: first row - Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven; second row - Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi; third row - Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák; forth row - Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

In Jazz of course, improvisation is a skill that almost every jazz musician lives by and there is so much experimenting with chord substitutions, scales and tonality that a listener can get a different feeling of the same piece when performed by someone different. So, much is left to the performer about how to perform a piece. Of course you have to think about your tempo, articulations but there is more flexibility in performance, especially in slower jazz pieces such as ballads. A jazz piano teacher that I once studied under, left the improvisation up to me and my only guide was basically jazz albums and transcriptions if I wanted to spice up my playing with new ideas. However, there are times in which you have to play with a certain touch such as bebop music.

Much of the material in classical music seems to have starting points as seen in runs and the practice of scales. When you practice your scales, you always start at a point, go up and come back down since this is the way that sixteenth and thirty second notes are played. This creates the mindset that you are aiming at accuracy and uniformity in your playing. In the music, you always know where your runs are starting and when you practice your technique, that is what you know and feel as well.

When you are improvising in jazz, soloing demands that you know your instrument so well that you should be able to start on any note, anywhere on your instrument and still be able to keep with the beat and form a musical idea. In certain jazz books, the method by which you practice your scales is different than in classical music. You are instructed to practice your scales starting on any note within that scale so that when you are soloing you are not restricted by certain stopping points.



In Jazz, there is an emphasis on the individual soloist in which the audience can feel where he/she is going with their music, often unscripted, from the soul and heart. The listener has to identify with the unpredictable and the exotic dance of harmony and melody. Make no mistake that in many jazz pieces, there is not always a wild, unpredictable element. Many jazz pieces can sound like other genres of music. Sometimes, a jazz musician has to make a decision as to how he/she will have to color a chord or measure with a certain flavor of sound. Now in classical music, the audience wants to feel Mozart or Beethoven through the performer in terms of being true and authentic. Any unpredictable elements will be expected as part of the composition.

These elements of classical and jazz music are only my observations and we must keep in mind that you cannot put classical or jazz music into a box. Both will always be different and similar in ways but both will share a willingness to bring out the greatness of the music, fast or slow, happy or sad.



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

CLASSICAL MUSIC Development


Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait ...
Johann Sebastian Bach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Music in XVIII century (1600-1825)

There were two times in this century. The first era was called the baroque era. This era was around 1600 to 1750. Baroque was the beginning of modern music because it has experienced the revolution from both theory and technique of its cultivating.

The key characteristics of this era included the merger of major and minor scales, many dissonan tones, the development of the orchestra, and the regular structures, but monotony. They also included the use of violin, harpsichord, organ, and flute.

In this era, people also knew basso continuo technique, namely the bass accompaniment that brought harmony. There was repetition in the structure of music.

Composers who lived in this era were Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, and Henry Purcell.

The second era was called the classical era. Sonatas and chamber music grew with more dynamic melodies. All of the classical era rules were applied intelligently by the composers.

The key characteristics of this era were the development of musical harmony, a very strong element of the dynamics that colored the composition, and a dynamic atmosphere that was expressed through the tempo, melody, and harmony. In this era, people also knew the pattern of 'question and answer'. Piano, with its ability to create dynamic, became a very important instrument.

The popular composers in this era were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, and John Gay.

Portrait of Beethoven in 1804, by which point ...
Portrait of Beethoven in 1804
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Transition period of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

This period represented the transition time from classical music to romantic music that was initiated by Beethoven. He brought a dynamic element by using wider harmonies and more emotional techniques of music cultivating.

This period was called as transitional because there were some principles of classical era that were violated by Beethoven. For example: the use of the intro was considered to be the outside of the classical composition theory. However, it was precisely a characteristic of romantic music. Through his works, Beethoven influenced the transition of classical to romantic music greatly.