Classical Music vs. Baroque Music: What’s the Difference?

We often use the terms “classical music” and “baroque music” interchangeably, but there are actually some significant differences between the two genres. In this blog post, we’ll explore those differences and help you better understand each one.


Classical music and Baroque music are two of the most popular genres of music. Though they share some similarities, there are also a number of important differences between them.

One of the biggest differences between classical and Baroque music is their respective time periods. Classical music dates back to the late 18th century, while Baroque music is slightly older, originating in the early 1600s. This difference in timeframe is reflected in the two styles of music, as classical music is generally more complex and “data-driven” than Baroque music.

Another key difference between these two genres is their instrumentation. Classical music typically features a larger orchestra with a wider range of instruments, while Baroque music often uses a smaller ensemble with a limited number of instruments. This difference can be heard in the overall sound of the two genres; classical music is typically richer and fuller-sounding, while Baroque music often has a simpler, more intimate sound.

Finally, another key distinction between classical and Baroque music is their respective audiences. Classical music was composed for educated elites, while Baroque music was written for a wider audience including both elites and commoners. This difference is reflected in the compositional style of each genre; classical music is generally more complex and intellectual, while Baroque music is more accessible and emotive.

What is Classical Music?

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western music, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820 (the Classical period), this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods.

The Classical Period

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 and 1820. The Classical period falls between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and is less complex. It is mainly homophonic, using a clear melody line over a subordinate chordal accompaniment, but counterpoint was by no means forgotten, especially later in the period.

The major naval powers of Europe were England, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. In landlocked central Europe, Austria, Hungary, and Germany were the largest countries. Russia was a huge northern country that had begun to assert its power in this period. The Ottoman Empire had declined somewhat but was still a formidable power in southeastern Europe and in Asia Minor. Ethiopia was an ancient African kingdom that had maintained its independence.

Classical music was influenced by the major social changes that were taking place during this time period. The Industrial Revolution had begun, which led to large-scale factory production and increasing wealth for some people (although many others remained living in poverty). This wealth helped to support a growing middle class, which became increasingly interested in cultural pursuits such as music.

The Romantic Period

The Romantic Period was a time of great change and development in music. Romantic composers wrestled with the idea of expressive, emotional music against the backdrop of the ever-changing social landscape. This resulted in some of the most beautiful and well-known pieces of classical music ever written.

The Romantic Period is often said to have begun in 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and ended in 1910 with the death of Gustav Mahler. It is considered to be one of the greatest periods in Western art music and some of the most famous composers, such as Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky, were active during this time.

One of the main characteristics of Romantic music is its emphasis on emotion and expression. This can be seen in the way that many composers wrote about personal feelings or stories in their music. For example, Chopin’s Prelude in C minor is said to be inspired by the death of his sister and Schubert’s “Erlk├Ânig” tells the story of a young boy who is being chased by an evil spirit.

Another key element of Romantic music is its use of new musical forms and devices. Composers during this period experimented with larger orchestras, longer pieces of music, and more complex harmonies. They also began to write programmatic music which told a story or painted a picture using musical elements. An example of this is Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique which tells the story of an artist who kill’s himself after being rejected by his true love.

The Romantic Period was a time when composers pushed boundaries and created some of the most beautiful and expressive pieces of classical music ever written. If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting period in musical history, we encourage you to explore some of the wonderful works composed during this time.

What is Baroque Music?

Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. The Baroque period saw the development of tonality and helped to transition from Renaissance to Classical music. Baroque music is characterized by intricate melodies, counterpoint, and a wide range of dynamics.

The Baroque Period

The Baroque period of music is generally considered to have lasted from 1600 to 1750. Baroque music is characterized by a number of features, including:
-Complex tonality
-Ritornello form
-Ground bass

Baroque music is often seen as a transitional period between the Renaissance and the Classical period. The term “Baroque” comes from the Portuguese word for “oddly shaped pearl,” and was first used to describe the elaborate and ornate architecture of the period. The musical style of the Baroque period was just as extravagant, and was marked by a departure from the simple melodies of the Renaissance. composers began to experiment with new harmonic progressions and melodic ornamentation.

The most famous composer of the Baroque period is Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote a number of influential works, including The Brandenburg Concertos and The Well-Tempered Clavier. Other important composers include George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and Henry Purcell.

Differences Between Classical and Baroque Music

Classical music and Baroque music are two very different styles of music. Classical music is characterized by complex harmonies and intricate melodies, while Baroque music is characterized by simple harmonies and melodies. What’s the difference between these two types of music? Let’s take a closer look.


In classical music, melodies are often setup so they can be developed over the course of the piece using various techniques such as counterpoint and fugue. Baroque music, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with the melody itself and features very little development. This is not to say that there aren’t any exceptions to this rule – Bach’s “Fugue in D minor” from The Well-Tempered Clavier being a prime example – but in general, the difference between classical and baroque music can be summed up as follows: Classical music is concerned with the development of melodies, while baroque music is primarily concerned with the melody itself.


Classical music and Baroque music both have their own distinctive features. When it comes to the instruments used, Baroque music employs the use of loud and strong instruments such as trumpets and drums while classical music uses delicate instruments such as the piano and flute.


In classical music, the tempo (speed) of a piece is often quite slow, and changes very little during the piece. Slow tempos also allow more time for phrases and melodies to develop. Baroque music is often quicker in tempo, and the speed of a piece can change several times. This change in tempo is called “rubato.”


Classical and Baroque music are two completely different styles of music. The main difference between classical and Baroque music is that Classical music is more structured, while Baroque music is more free-flowing.

Classical music is typically categorized as orchestral, chamber, or solo. Each of these categories has its own subcategories. For example, orchestral classical music can be further divided into symphonies, concertos, and operas. Chamber classical music can be divided into string quartets and piano sonatas. And solo classical music can be divided into violin sonatas and piano concertos.

Baroque music, on the other hand, is less structured and more free-flowing. The most common type of Baroque music is the fugue, which is a composition for multiple voices that often features counterpoint (the simultaneous use of two or more different melodic lines). Other common types of Baroque music include the toccata (a composition for keyboard instruments that emphasizes fast passages), the prelude (a short piece that typically serves as an introduction to a larger work), and the gigue (a lively dance-like piece usually in triple meter).


In conclusion, the main difference between classical and baroque music is their style. Classical music is characterized by its objectivity, intellectualism, and formalism, while baroque music is characterized by its subjectivity, emotionalism, and naturalism.

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