A Classical Music Appreciation Course for Everyone
- Introduction to the course
- The history of classical music
- The elements of classical music
- The great classical composers
- The course conclusion
A well-rounded education in classical music should include not only an understanding of great works and composers, but also an appreciation for the music itself. This course is designed for everyone- whether you are a beginner or have some knowledge of classical music.
Introduction to the course
This course is designed for anyone who loves classical music and would like to learn more about it. We’ll explore the history of classical music, from its roots in the Renaissance to its culmination in the works of great composers like Beethoven and Mozart. We’ll also listen to and analyze some of the most famous pieces of classical music, and we’ll learn about the lives of the composers who created them. By the end of this course, you will have a deep appreciation for classical music and its place in Western culture.
The history of 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 origins of classical music
Classical music is a genre of art music that emerged during the Renaissance period. It originated in Europe and is codified in Western musical tradition. It has its roots in earlier genres such as medieval music, and has been extensively developed by composers over the centuries.
The term “classical music” can refer to either the period during which it was first created (roughly the Renaissance through the early Romantic era), or to the actual music itself. The era of classical music spans from about 1600 to 1900, and is subdivided into three major periods: the Baroque (1600-1750), Classical (1750-1820), and Romantic (1820-1900).
During the Baroque period, composers wrote music in a more complex and polyphonic style than had been used before. Although there were many different regional styles of Baroque music, the most important were those of Italy and Germany. Italian composers such as Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli wrote instrumental works called concerti grossi, while German composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel wrote grand works for voices and instruments called oratorios and cantatas.
The Classical period was one of great change in both musical style and instrumentation. The popularity of opera increased dramatically, as did the size of orchestras. New instruments were invented, such as the pianoforte (better known as the piano), while others fell out of favor (such as the lute). Perhaps most importantly, composers began to write their pieces in a more concise and logical manner, using what is known as “sonata form.” This new form would come to dominate Western classical music for centuries to come.
The Romantic period was marked by a significant increase in public interest in classical music, particularly opera. Composers also began writing longer and more emotionally expressive pieces, often inspired by nature or literature. The piano continued to gain popularity, while new instruments such as the violin and cello also became widely used.
The development of classical music
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, 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 central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.
The elements of classical music
Classical music is a genre of music that can be traced back to the late 18th century. It is characterized by its complex harmonies, intricate melodies, and use of Gregorian chant. Classical music is often thought of as being outdated and elitist. However, there are many benefits to listening to classical music.
The form of classical music
Classical music is characterized by its use of formal structures, which aremusical events that recur in a piece or section of a piece. There arethirty-three such events, or “formal functions,” which William Austinchose to analyze in his book Music in the Western World.
The first and most important formal function is the Tonic, astatement of the key and/or chord of resolution at the beginningof a musical piece. The Tonic is so important that it can be found atthe start of almost every section of classical music, irrespectiveof length.
Other formal functions include the Dominant (the V chord),the Subdominant (the IV chord), and theMediant (the III chord). These chords create what is known as themusic’s “harmonic spine.” The remaining functions are diatonic sevenths(used to create harmonic tension), non-diatonic chords (used forcolor or to heighten emotional expressiveness), modulations (changesin key), episodes (digressions from the main theme), variations(authentic or borrowed repetitions), and coda (restatement of themain theme).
The instruments of classical music
Classical music is performed by a range of instruments, from the human voice to a large symphony orchestra. It usually employs polyphony (multiple, independent melodic lines) rather than monophony (a single, unaccompanied melody). Here are some of the main instrument families used in classical music.
The string family
The string family comprises the violin, viola, cello and double bass. These instruments are played with a bow or by plucking the strings. The harp is also a string instrument, but it is played with the fingers.
The woodwind family
The woodwind family includes the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. The flute is played by blowing across a hole in the mouthpiece; the oboe and clarinet by blowing into a reed; and the bassoon by blowing into a double reed.
The brass family
The brass family includes the trumpet, trombone and French horn. These instruments are played by buzzing into a mouthpiece and using valves or slides to change pitch.
Percussion instruments include anything that can be struck or shaken to produce sound: drums, cymbals, gongs, triangles and xylophones, to name just a few.
The great classical composers
Classical music is widely known to soothe the soul and has been shown to have positive effects on people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Join us on a journey of exploration as we discover the stories and genius behind some of the most popular classical pieces ever written.
The lives of the great classical composers
Most of the great classical composers were born into poverty and obscurity, but their music has transcended time and place to become some of the most popular and cherished works of art in history.
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most revered and influential composers of all time. Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Bach came from a family of accomplished musicians. His father taught him to play the violin, and by the age of 10 he was already an accomplished musician. Bach went on to write some of the most important works in the history of Western music, including The Well-Tempered Clavier, The Goldberg Variations, and Mass in B Minor.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is another giant of classical music. Born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart showed prodigious musical talent from a very young age. He composed his first opera at the age of 12, and his first symphony at the age of 14. Mozart wrote more than 600 works during his short life, including such classics as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Symphony No. 40 in G Minor.
Ludwig van Beethoven is perhaps the most famous composer in history. Born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany, Beethoven came from a family of musicians. His father was a violinist in the court orchestra, and he gave Ludwig his first music lessons. Beethoven went on to write some of the most iconic pieces of classical music ever written, including Symphony No. 9 “Choral”, Fidelio, and Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”.
These are just three of the many great classical composers who have left a lasting legacy through their music. Classical music is a genre that has something for everyone, so take some time to explore it and find your favorite composers!
The music of the great classical composers
The great classical composers wrote music for the concert hall, the opera house, the church, and the palace. But what they left behind was not just a legacy of great music—it was a way of thinking about music that is still with us today.
The great classical composers were not just talented musicians—they were also skilled thinkers who had a deep understanding of the workings of music. They were able to use this knowledge to create works that are both beautiful and innovative.
The great classical composers were also master teachers. Their works are still studied and performed today because they offer valuable lessons about how to compose and perform music.
If you want to learn more about the great classical composers, there are many resources available. Here are some recommended books and websites:
-The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: This comprehensive reference work includes articles on all of the major classical composers.
-The New Grove Dictionary of Opera: This reference work includes articles on all of the major opera composers.
-BBC Music Magazine: This monthly magazine often features articles on classical composers and their music.
-Classic FM: This website offers streaming radio, news, interviews, and features on classical music and musicians.
The course conclusion
The course has now come to an end. We hope you have enjoyed it and found it useful. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and wish you all the best for your future classical music appreciation endeavors!