Romantic music

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Romantic music is a stylistic movement in Western classical music associated with the period spanning the nineteenth 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 Western Europe from approximately 1800 until 1850.

Music is found in every known culture, past and present, varying widely between times and places. Since all people of the world, including the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music, it may be concluded that music is likely to have been present in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of humans around the world. Consequently, the first music may have been invented in Africa and then evolved to become a fundamental constituent of human life.

19th century Century

The 19th (nineteenth) century was a century that began on January 1, 1801, and ended on December 31, 1900. It is often used interchangeably with the 1800s, though the start and end dates differ by a year.

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward 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, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

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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 plastic arts.

Program music or programme music is a type of art music that attempts to musically render an extra-musical narrative. The narrative itself might be offered to the audience in the form of program notes, inviting imaginative correlations with the music. A classic example is Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, which relates a series of morbid fantasies concerning the unrequited love of a sensitive poet involving murder, execution, and the torments of Hell. The genre culminates in the symphonic works of Richard Strauss that include narrations of the adventures of Don Quixote, Till Eulenspiegel, the composer's domestic life, and an interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy of the Übermensch. Following Strauss, the genre declined and new works with explicitly narrative content are rare. Nevertheless the genre continues to exert an influence on film music, especially where this draws upon the techniques of late romantic music.

Romantic poetry literary genre

Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. It involved a reaction against prevailing Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century, and lasted from 1800 to 1850, approximately.

Influential composers of the early Romantic era include Ludwig van Beethoven (in his later works), Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, John Field, Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Robert Schumann, Frédéric Chopin, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, and Richard Wagner. 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 Bruckner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Puccini, Sibelius, Elgar, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Rachmaninoff and Franck.

Ludwig van Beethoven 18th and 19th-century German classical and romantic composer

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the classical and romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognized and influential musicians of this period, and is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time.

Franz Schubert 19th-century Austrian composer

Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind a vast oeuvre, including more than 600 secular vocal works, seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music. His major works include the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 , the Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 , the three last piano sonatas, the opera Fierrabras, the incidental music to the play Rosamunde, and the song cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise.

Felix Mendelssohn 19th-century German composer, pianist and organist

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn's compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the oratorio Elijah, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. The melody for the Christmas carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is also his. Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions.

Background

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, by Caspar David Friedrich is an example of Romantic painting. Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the sea of fog.jpg
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, by Caspar David Friedrich is an example of Romantic painting.

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).

Industrial Revolution Transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States

The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Age of Enlightenment European cultural movement of the 18th century

The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, the "Century of Philosophy".

In sociology, rationalization is the replacement of traditions, values, and emotions as motivators for behavior in society with concepts based on rationality and reason. For example, the implementation of bureaucracies in government is a kind of rationalization, as is the construction of high-efficiency living spaces in architecture and urban planning. A potential reason as to why rationalization of a culture may take place in the modern era is the process of globalization. Countries are becoming increasingly interlinked, and with the rise of technology, it is easier for countries to influence each other through social networking, the media and politics. An example of rationalization in place would be the case of witch doctors in certain parts of Africa. Whilst many locals view them as an important part of their culture and traditions, development initiatives and aid workers have tried to rationalize the practice in order to educate the local people in modern medicine and practice.

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 ).

André Grétry composer

André Ernest Modeste Grétry was a composer from the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, who worked from 1767 onwards in France and took French nationality. He is most famous for his opéras comiques.

Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven) symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven

The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804 and 1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, one of the most frequently played symphonies, and is widely considered one of the cornerstones of western music. First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as "one of the most important works of the time". As is typical of symphonies in the classical period, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is in four movements.

Joseph Haydn Austrian composer

Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio. His contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet".

Traits

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).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Austrian composer of the Classical period

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era.

<i>Don Giovanni</i> opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

Igor Stravinsky Russian-born composer

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

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 ]:

Non-musical influences

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).

Nationalism

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 ).

See also

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The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where he lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925. Their music was initially characterized by late-Romantic expanded tonality and later, following Schoenberg's own evolution, a totally chromatic expressionism without firm tonal centre, often referred to as atonality; and later still, Schoenberg's serial twelve-tone technique. Though this common development took place, it neither followed a common time-line nor a cooperative path. Likewise, it was not a direct result of Schoenberg's teaching—which, as his various published textbooks demonstrate, was highly traditional and conservative. Schoenberg's textbooks also reveal that the Second Viennese School spawned not from the development of his serial method, but rather from the influence of his creative example.

German Romanticism intellectual movement in the culture of German-speaking countries in the late-18th and early 19th centuries

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Neo-romanticism literary movement

The term neo-romanticism is used to cover a variety of movements in philosophy, literature, music, painting, and architecture, as well as social movements, that exist after and incorporate elements from the era of Romanticism. It has been used with reference to late-19th-century composers such as Richard Wagner particularly by Carl Dahlhaus who describes his music as "a late flowering of romanticism in a positivist age". He regards it as synonymous with "the age of Wagner", from about 1850 until 1890—the start of the era of modernism, whose leading early representatives were Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. It has been applied to writers, painters, and composers who rejected, abandoned, or opposed realism, naturalism, or avant-garde modernism at various points in time from about 1840 down to the present.

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Tonality

Tonality is the arrangement of pitches and/or chords of a musical work in a hierarchy of perceived relations, stabilities, attractions and directionality. In this hierarchy, the single pitch or triadic chord with the greatest stability is called the tonic. The root of the tonic chord forms the name given to the key; so in the key of C major, the note C is both the tonic of the scale and the root of the tonic chord. Simple folk music songs often start and end with the tonic note. The most common use of the term "is to designate the arrangement of musical phenomena around a referential tonic in European music from about 1600 to about 1910". Contemporary classical music from 1910 to the 2000s may practice or avoid any sort of tonality—but harmony in almost all Western popular music remains tonal. Harmony in jazz includes many but not all tonal characteristics of the European common practice period, sometimes known as "classical music".

20th-century classical music describes art music that was written nominally from 1901 to 2000. This century was without a dominant style and composers created highly diverse kinds of music. 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 ca. 1930. Atonality, serialism, musique concrète and electronic music were all developed during this century. Jazz and folk music were important influences on many composers at this time.

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Carl Dahlhaus

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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.

Rescue opera opera genre

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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.

Philosophy of music is the study of "...fundamental questions about the nature of music and our experience of it". The philosophical study of music has many connections with philosophical questions in metaphysics and aesthetics. Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are:

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.

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Further reading