What You Need to Know About Classical Music

Classical music is a genre of music that has been around for centuries. It is characterized by its complex structure and often includes instruments such as the piano, violin, and cello.

If you’re interested in learning more about classical music, then this blog post is for you! We’ll cover what you need to know about this genre, including its history and some of its most famous composers.


If you’re new to classical music, the prospect of diving into such a huge and complex genre can be daunting. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of composers, works, and schools of thought within classical music. But don’t worry—you don’t need to know everything about classical music to enjoy it. In fact, one of the best things about this genre is that there is always more to learn.

In this guide, we’ll give you a high-level overview of some key elements of classical music so you can start exploring this incredible genre with confidence.

The Different Types of Classical Music

There are many different types of classical music, including symphonies, concertos, and solo pieces. Symphonies are usually written for a full orchestra, while concertos are written for a solo instrument and orchestra. Solo pieces can be written for any instrument.


Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance, and was followed in turn by the Classical era. The word “baroque” comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning “misshapen pearl”.

The Baroque period saw the creation of tonality. During the period, composers and performers used more elaborate harmonic sequences, made greater use of variation form, and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size, range, and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established opera as a musical genre. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today.

The major center of Baroque music was in Rome, where the Catholic Church encouraged artists such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525–1594), Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741), Alessandro Scarlatti (1660–1725), Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) and Benedetto Marcello (1686–1739) to compose new works in support of the Counter-Reformation. Baroque music spread to northern Europe between 1650 and 1750, where it was taken up by such composers as Dieterich Buxtehude (1637–1707), Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750).


Classical music is a broad term that usually refers to the period from 1750 to 1830. During this time, composers began to use more expressive tones and instruments to create pieces that told stories or conveyed emotion. These pieces were often inspired by art, literature, and other forms of music.

Today, classical music is still performed and enjoyed all over the world. It can be divided into four main periods:

The Renaissance (1400-1600) – This period saw the development of polyphony (multiple voices or instruments playing independent melodic lines) and the beginning of opera.

The Baroque (1600-1750) – The Baroque period was marked by the rise of instrumental music and the decline of the power of the Catholic Church in Europe. This period saw the development of concertos and sonatas, as well as the creation of many famous Bach works.

The Classical (1750-1830) – The Classical period was marked by a turn toward simplicity and balance in musical compositions. This period saw the rise of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, who are considered some of the greatest classical composers of all time.

The Romantic (1830-1900) – The Romantic period was marked by an increase in expressive tonality and instrumentation. This period saw composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin creating some of their most famous works.


Romantic music is a period of Western classical music that began in the late 18th or early 19th century. It is related to Romanticism, the Western artistic and literary movement that arose in the second half of the 18th century, and Romantic music in particular dominated the Romantic movement in Germany.

In the Romantic period, music became more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literary, artistic, and philosophical themes. Famous composers from the period include Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Giuseppe Verdi, Hector Berlioz, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler, and Edvard Grieg.


Modern classical music is a term used to describe classical music written in the period from 1890 to 1945. This included music that was tonal, which used traditional major and minor scales, as well as atonal music, which used Chromaticism. Composers such as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Jean Sibelius were all writing in this period.

The Different Forms of Classical Music

There are many different forms of classical music, each with their own unique history and style. The four most common forms are symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and operas. Symphonies are large-scale orchestral works while concertos are works for a solo instrument and orchestra. Sonatas are typically works for a solo instrument, and operas are dramatic works for the stage.


Opera is a type of classical music that combines singing and dancing with acting. It is usually staged in an opera house and performed by professional opera singers. The word “opera” comes from the Italian word for “work” or “piece”.

Opera was first performed in Italy in the late 16th century. The first opera house was built in Venice in 1637. Opera quickly spread to other countries, such as Germany and France. Today, operas are performed all over the world.

Some of the most popular operas include “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini, “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, and “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


A symphony is a long, complex musical composition for full orchestra, typically in four movements. The word “symphony” derives from the Greek word symphōnía, meaning “agreement or concord of sound.” The earliest known symphonies were written in the late 18th century, but the genre did not achieve widespread popularity until the early Romantic period of the 19th century.

Symphonies are usually performed by an orchestra, which typically includes strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. The size and makeup of an orchestra vary depending on the piece being performed; for example, a symphony by Johann Sebastian Bach will require a smaller orchestra than one by Gustav Mahler. A typical Romantic-era symphony runs between 30 and 50 minutes in length.

During the Classical period, symphonies were usually comprised of four distinct movements: fast-slow-fast-fast. However, this structure was not strictly adhered to, and many composers experimented with different permutations (such as fast-slow-slow-fast). In the Romantic period, symphonies often included programmatic elements – that is, they told a specific story or conveyed a particular emotion – and became increasingly longer and more complex.

Today, the symphony is widely considered to be one of the highest forms of musical expression. Many of history’s most renowned composers – including Beethoven, Brahms, and Dvorak – have written symphonies that remain some of the most popular pieces in the concert repertoire.


A sonata is a musical piece in three or four movements of contrasting character. It is usually written for a solo instrument or a small group of instruments. The word “sonata” comes from the Italian word “sonare”, which means “to sound”.

The first movement of a sonata is typically in sonata form. This means that it has two main sections, the exposition and the development. The exposition introduces the main themes of the piece, while the development explores these themes in more depth. The second and third movements are usually shorter and lighter in character than the first movement.

Sonatas were developed during the Baroque period and became very popular in the Classical period. They are still commonly performed today.


A concerto is a piece of music written for one or more solo instruments and an orchestra. The solo instrument(s) play the main melodic line(s), whilst the orchestra provide accompaniment and support. The concerto is perhaps the most popular and well-known form of classical music, with well-known examples such as Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major (the ‘Emperor’).

The word ‘concerto’ comes from the Italian ‘concertare’, meaning ‘to compete’ or ‘to contrast’. This is referring to the contrast between the soloist(s) and the orchestra. The concerto developed out of the Renaissance genre of the ‘ ripieno concerto’, in which a small group of instruments would play alongside a larger ensemble.

The Different Instruments Used in Classical Music

Although there are many instruments that can be used to play classical music, there are a few that are considered to be the most important. The violin, cello, and piano are some of the most popular instruments used in classical music. These instruments are often used in symphonies and other orchestras.


Classical music is often divided up into different sections, or families, of instruments. You have the brass, the woodwinds, the percussion, and then the strings. The string section is usually considered the most important in an orchestra because they provide the melody for most of the songs. If you’ve ever been to a classical concert, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different types of string instruments. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the most popular string instruments in classical music.

The violin is probably the most popular string instrument in classical music. It’s used in everything from solo pieces to full symphonies. The sound of a violin can be described as bright and piercing. Violins are played using a bow, and they are held under the chin.

The viola is very similar to the violin, but it is slightly larger and has a deeper sound. The viola is also played with a bow and held under the chin. It is often used in symphonies to provide background harmony for the violin melodies.

The cello is even larger than the viola and has a very deep, rich sound. Unlike violins and violas, which are held under the chin, cellos are played sitting down with the instrument resting between your legs. The cello is often used as a solo instrument because of its beautiful sound.

The bass is the largest string instrument and has the lowest pitch of all the strings. Basses are also played sitting down with the instrument resting between your legs. They are usually only used in symphonies and other large orchestras because they require so much space.


Woodwind instruments are a key part of the orchestra, and there are many different types that each have their own unique sound. The most common woodwinds you’ll see in an orchestra are the flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon.

The flute is a long, slender instrument that is held upright and played by blowing into a mouthpiece. The sound is produced by vibrating air against a sharp edge, which makes it one of the most versatile instruments in the orchestra. The flute can play fast or slow passages, and its clear tone can be heard over the entire orchestra.

The oboe is another long, slender instrument that is held upright and played by blowing into a mouthpiece. The oboe has a distinctive “reedy” sound that is produced by vibrating air against a double-reed. The oboe is used to playing solo passages and can also be heard in duets with the flute or clarinet.

The clarinet is a cylindrical instrument that is played by blowing into a mouthpiece. The clarinet has a warm, mellow sound that can be both haunting and cheerful. The clarinet is often used in jazz bands and orchestras to play solo passages or to provide accompaniment.

The bassoon is a large, curved instrument that is played by blowing into a mouthpiece. The bassoon has a deep, rich tone that add depth and richness to an orchestra. The bassoon is often used to playing solo passages or to provide accompaniment for other woodwinds and strings.


Trumpets, trombones, tubas, and French horns are all brass instruments. They are made of brass because it is easy to shape into the right shape and it carries sound well. The player makes sound by buzzing their lips into the mouthpiece. The length of the tubing determines the pitch of the note that is played.

Trumpets can play high notes and are used a lot in fanfares. Trombones can slide up and down to play different notes. They are often used in jazz music. Tubas are the lowest sounding brass instrument and are used to hold down the bass line in an orchestra. French horns are used a lot in movie scores because they can create a lot of different moods.

All brass instruments require a lot of air to play properly. Players have to be very careful not to get dizzy when playing them for long periods of time.


Percussion instruments are the most diverse group of instruments in the world in terms of their shape, size, and sound. They are classified as “indefinite pitch” because they don’t produce a specific note when they are struck. Instead, they produce a wide range of sounds that can be used to create rhythm, melody, or harmony.

Percussion instruments are usually divided into two groups: pitched and unpitched. Pitched percussion instruments, such as xylophones and glockenspiels, can play melodies and chords because they produce specific notes when struck. Unpitched percussion instruments, such as drums and cymbals, don’t produce specific notes but are often used to create rhythm or sound effects.

There are literally hundreds of different percussion instruments from all over the world. Here are just a few of the most common:

Drums: The best-known type of percussion instrument, drums come in all shapes and sizes. They can be played with sticks, hands, or mallets to produce a wide range of sounds.

Cymbals: Cymbals are discs of metal that are struck together to create a crash or clanging sound. They come in all different sizes and shapes and are often used in pairs.


In conclusion, classical music is a genre that has been around for centuries, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. It is enjoyed by people of all ages, and has been proven to have many benefits. If you’re looking for a new type of music to explore, or simply want to learn more about one of the oldest genres out there, classical music is a great option.

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