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Western classical music
|Common practice period|
|Late 19th-, 20th- and 21st-centuries|
Romantic music is a stylistic movement in Western Classical music associated with the period of the 19th century commonly referred to as the Romantic era (or Romantic period). It is closely related to the broader concept of Romanticism—the intellectual, artistic and literary movement that became prominent in Europe from approximately 1800 until 1910.
Romantic composers sought to create music that was individualistic, emotional, dramatic and often programmatic; reflecting broader trends within the movements of Romantic literature, poetry, art, and philosophy. Romantic music was often ostensibly inspired by (or else sought to evoke) non-musical stimuli, such as nature, literature, poetry, or the fine arts.
Influential composers of the early Romantic era include Adolphe Adam, Daniel Auber, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, François-Adrien Boieldieu, Frédéric Chopin, Sophia Dussek, Ferdinand Hérold, Mikhail Glinka, Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn, John Field, Ignaz Moscheles, Otto Nicolai, Gioachino Rossini, Ferdinand Ries, Vincenzo Bellini, Franz Berwald, Luigi Cherubini, Carl Czerny, Gaetano Donizetti, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Carl Loewe, Niccolò Paganini, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Anton Reicha, Franz Schubert, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Louis Spohr, Gaspare Spontini, Ambroise Thomas and Carl Maria von Weber. Later nineteenth-century composers would appear to build upon certain early Romantic ideas and musical techniques, such as the use of extended chromatic harmony and expanded orchestration. Such later Romantic composers include Albéniz, Bruckner, Granados, Smetana, Brahms, MacDowell, Tchaikovsky, Parker, Mussorgsky, Dvořák, Borodin, Delius, Liszt, Wagner, Mahler, Goldmark, Richard Strauss, Verdi, Puccini, Bizet, Lalo, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schoenberg, Sibelius, Stanford, Parry, Scriabin, Elgar, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Rachmaninoff, Glazunov, Chausson and Franck.
The Romantic movement was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe and strengthened in reaction to the Industrial Revolution ( Encyclopædia Britannica n.d. ). In part, it was a revolt against social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature ( Casey 2008 ). It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography ( Levin 1959 , [ page needed ]) and education ( Gutek 1995 , 220–54), and was in turn influenced by developments in natural history ( Nichols 2005 , 308–309).
One of the first significant applications of the term to music was in 1789, in the Mémoires by the Frenchman André Grétry, but it was E. T. A. Hoffmann who really established the principles of musical romanticism, in a lengthy review of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony published in 1810, and in an 1813 article on Beethoven's instrumental music. In the first of these essays Hoffmann traced the beginnings of musical Romanticism to the later works of Haydn and Mozart. It was Hoffmann's fusion of ideas already associated with the term "Romantic", used in opposition to the restraint and formality of Classical models, that elevated music, and especially instrumental music, to a position of pre-eminence in Romanticism as the art most suited to the expression of emotions. It was also through the writings of Hoffmann and other German authors that German music was brought to the centre of musical Romanticism ( Samson 2001 ).
Characteristics often attributed to Romanticism:
Such lists, however, proliferated over time, resulting in a "chaos of antithetical phenomena", criticized for their superficiality and for signifying so many different things that there came to be no central meaning. The attributes have also been criticized for being too vague. For example, features of the "ghostly and supernatural" could apply equally to Mozart's Don Giovanni from 1787 and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress from 1951 ( Kravitt 1992 , 93–95).
In music there is a relatively clear dividing line in musical structure and form following the death of Beethoven. Whether one counts Beethoven as a "romantic" composer or not, the breadth and power of his work gave rise to a feeling that the classical sonata form and, indeed, the structure of the symphony, sonata and string quartet had been exhausted. Schumann, Schubert, Berlioz and other early-Romantic composers tended to look in alternative directions.[ citation needed ] Some characteristics of Romantic music include:[ citation needed ]
Events and changes in society such as ideas, attitudes, discoveries, inventions, and historical events often affect music. For example, the Industrial Revolution was in full effect by the late 18th century and early 19th century. This event had a profound effect on music: there were major improvements in the mechanical valves and keys that most woodwinds and brass instruments depend on. The new and innovative instruments could be played with greater ease and they were more reliable ( Schmidt-Jones and Jones 2004 , 3).
Another development that had an effect on music was the rise of the middle class. Composers before this period lived on the patronage of the aristocracy. Many times their audience was small, composed mostly of the upper class and individuals who were knowledgeable about music ( Schmidt-Jones and Jones 2004 , 3). The Romantic composers, on the other hand, often wrote for public concerts and festivals, with large audiences of paying customers, who had not necessarily had any music lessons ( Schmidt-Jones and Jones 2004 , 3). Composers of the Romantic Era, like Elgar, showed the world that there should be "no segregation of musical tastes" ( Young 1967 , 525) and that the "purpose was to write music that was to be heard" ( Young 1967 , 527).
During the Romantic period, music often took on a much more nationalistic purpose. For example, Jean Sibelius' Finlandia has been interpreted to represent the rising nation of Finland, which would someday gain independence from Russian control ( Child 2006 ). Frédéric Chopin was one of the first composers to incorporate nationalistic elements into his compositions. Joseph Machlis states, "Poland's struggle for freedom from tsarist rule aroused the national poet in Poland. … Examples of musical nationalism abound in the output of the romantic era. The folk idiom is prominent in the Mazurkas of Chopin" ( Machlis 1963 , 149–50). His mazurkas and polonaises are particularly notable for their use of nationalistic rhythms. Moreover, "During World War II the Nazis forbade the playing of … Chopin's Polonaises in Warsaw because of the powerful symbolism residing in these works" ( Machlis 1963 , 150). Other composers, such as Bedřich Smetana, wrote pieces that musically described their homelands; in particular, Smetana's Vltava is a symphonic poem about the Moldau River in the modern-day Czech Republic and the second in a cycle of six nationalistic symphonic poems collectively titled Má vlast (My Homeland) ( Grunfeld 1974 , 112–13). Smetana also composed eight nationalist operas, all of which remain in the repertory. They established him as the first Czech nationalist composer as well as the most important Czech opera composer of the generation who came to prominence in the 1860s ( Ottlová, Tyrrell, and Pospíšil 2001 ).
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, chess, social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism, and nationalism.
Sonata, in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata, a piece sung. The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the musical style of sonatas has changed since the Classical era, most 20th- and 21st-century sonatas still maintain the same structure.
German Romanticism was the dominant intellectual movement of German-speaking countries in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, influencing philosophy, aesthetics, literature and criticism. Compared to English Romanticism, the German variety developed relatively early, and, in the opening years, coincided with Weimar Classicism (1772–1805). In contrast to the seriousness of English Romanticism, the German variety of Romanticism notably valued wit, humour, and beauty.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.
Charles Welles Rosen was an American pianist and writer on music. He is remembered for his career as a concert pianist, for his recordings, and for his many writings, notable among them the book The Classical Style.
20th-century classical music describes art music that was written nominally from 1901 to 2000, inclusive. Musical style diverged during the 20th century as it never had previously. Consequently, this century was without a dominant style. Modernism, impressionism, and post-romanticism can all be traced to the decades before the turn of the century, but can be included because they evolved beyond the musical boundaries of the 19th-century styles that were part of the earlier common practice period. Neoclassicism and expressionism came mostly after 1900. Minimalism started much later in the century and can be seen as a change from the modern to post-modern era, although some date post-modernism from as early as c. 1930. Aleatory, atonality, serialism, musique concrète, electronic music, and concept music were all developed during this century. Jazz and ethnic folk music became important influences on many composers during this century.
Absolute music is music that is not explicitly "about" anything; in contrast to program music, it is non-representational. The idea of absolute music developed at the end of the 18th century in the writings of authors of early German Romanticism, such as Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, Ludwig Tieck and E. T. A. Hoffmann but the term was not coined until 1846 where it was first used by Richard Wagner in a programme to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Neoromanticism in music is a return to the emotional expression associated with nineteenth-century Romanticism.
Carl Dahlhaus, a musicologist from (West) Berlin, was one of the major contributors to the development of musicology as a scholarly discipline during the post-war era.
Musical nationalism refers to the use of musical ideas or motifs that are identified with a specific country, region, or ethnicity, such as folk tunes and melodies, rhythms, and harmonies inspired by them.
Post-romanticism or Postromanticism refers to a range of cultural endeavors and attitudes emerging in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after the period of Romanticism.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, generally considered to have begun in Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century CE and continuing to present day. Classical music refers to Western musical traditions considered to be apart from or a refinement of Western folk music or popular music traditions. The major periods are the medieval (500–1400), Renaissance (1400–1600), Baroque (1600–1750), Classical (1750–1820), Romantic (1800–1910), Modernist (1890–1975) and Postmodern era/Contemporary (1950–present) eras. These periods and their dates are all approximate generalizations and represent gradual stylistic shifts that varied in intensity and prominence throughout the Western world.
Musical historicism signifies the use of historical materials, structures, styles, techniques, media, conceptual content, etc., whether by a single composer or those associated with a particular school, movement, or period.
N. Simrock was a German music publisher founded by Nikolaus Simrock which published many 19th-century German classical music composers. It was acquired in 1929 by Anton Benjamin.
Stephen Hinton is a British-American musicologist at Stanford University. A leading authority on the composer Kurt Weill, he has published widely on many aspects of modern German music history, with contributions to publications such as Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and Funkkolleg Musikgeschichte. His most recent book, Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform, the first musicological study of Weill's complete stage works, received the 2013 Kurt Weill Book Prize for outstanding scholarship in music theater since 1900. The reviewer for the Journal of the American Musicological Society described the book as "a landmark in the literature on twentieth-century musical theater."
Silke Leopold is a German musicologist and university lecturer.
The transition from the classical period of Western art music, which lasted around 1750 to 1820, to Romantic music, which lasted around 1815 to 1910, took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Composers began transitioning their compositional and melodic techniques into a new musical form which became known as the Romantic Era or Romanticism due to the implementation of lyrical melodies as opposed to the linear compositional style of Classical music.
Helmut Loos is a German musicologist and emeritus scholar.
Hermann Danuser is a Swiss-German musicologist.