One Difference Between Baroque and Classical Period Music

The One Difference Between Baroque and Classical Period Music is tempo. Baroque music is faster while classical music is slower.


There are many ways to compare and contrast the music of the Baroque and Classical periods. One way is to look at the overall structure of the pieces. In general, Baroque pieces are more complex, with more ornate melodies and countermelodies woven together. Classical pieces are generally simpler, with a clearer overall structure.

The Baroque Period

The Baroque period of music lasted from 1600 to 1750. The word “baroque” comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning “misshapen pearl”. This was a time of great change in music. One difference between Baroque and Classical period music is that the former used a lot of decoration.

Characteristics of Baroque Music

Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance, and was succeeded by the Classical period. Baroque music forms a major portion of the “classical music” canon, and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Claudio Monteverdi, Heinrich Schütz, Antonio Vivaldi,Georg Philipp Telemann and Dieterich Buxtehude.

The word “baroque” came from the Portuguese word barroco meaning “misshapen pearl”, a negative description of the ornate and heavily ornamented music of this period. Later commentators saw these characteristics as an expression of profound emotion, usually sad or pensive.

Major Composers of the Baroque Period

The Baroque period was a time of great creativity in music, with a tremendous expansion in the variety of instruments playing both solo and ensemble role. Whereas the Renaissance period focused on instrumental music for small ensembles of like instruments, the Baroque period saw experimentation with varied textures including monody, dialogues, and concerti. Major composers of the Baroque period include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Frideric Handel.

The Classical Period

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 to 1820. The Classical period falls between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. Although the exact dates differ slightly from region to region, this period is generally considered to have begun in the mid-18th century and to have ended in the early 19th century.

Characteristics of Classical Music

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 to 1820. The Classical period is shorter than the Baroque era, which lasted from 1600 to 1750. One big difference between the two periods is that during the Baroque era, composers were very concerned with making their music sound complex and ornate. In contrast, during the Classical period, composers were more interested in making their music sound simple and elegant.

During the Classical period, composers began to write in what is called a “standard format” for music. This format includes four distinct sections:
-an introduction
-a main theme
-a series of variations on the main theme
-and a coda (or concluding section).

Composers from the Classical period include Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.

Major Composers of the Classical Period

Ludwig van Beethoven
One of the most important authors of the classical music period and perhaps the most famous classical composer of all time was Ludwig van Beethoven. Although he was baptized a Catholic, he was raised as a Lutheran and later became an agnostic.9 He began learning music at age five and soon proved to be a prodigy. His first music teacher was his father, who used extreme methods to try to instill in his son a love for music, including physical abuse.10 As a young man, Ludwig van Beethoven moved to Vienna where he studied with Franz Joseph Haydn and other masters.

Beethoven composed in almost every musical genre, including symphonies, sonatas, string quartets, piano concertos, one opera—Fidelio—and several shorter works. Many of his compositions are considered masterpieces and are still widely performed today.11 His Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1824) is particularly famous for its finale—the “Ode to Joy”—a setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra that is now the official anthem of the European Union.12 Other well-known works by Beethoven include his Violin Concerto in D major (1806),13 Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major (1809), also known as the “Emperor Concerto”14; Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (1804), also known as the “Eroica Symphony”;15 Symphony No. 6 in F major (1808), also known as the “Pastoral Symphony”;16 and Symphony No. 5 in C minor (1808).17

Beethoven was incredibly prolific during his lifetime, composing an estimated nine symphonies, five piano concerti, one violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, six-string sonatas, seven overtures, four solo cantatas, five sets of piano variations, four triosopsonatas for piano solo with violin and cello accompaniment,, two sextets and 72 songs.. Some of his later works were written while he was deaf.. He continued to compose even after learning he was going deaf,. enduring great personal tragedy throughout his life including the death of his mother when he was sixteen,, his sister when she was three years old,, her nine year old child when he was twenty-one,, another sister when she gave birth to a stillborn child,, his nephew when he drowned at age nineteen after falling into an icy pond,, and two of his closest friends.. In spite of all this sadness,, Beethoven persevered and is remembered as one of the most important classical composers who ever lived..


To conclude, the biggest difference between Baroque and Classical period music is the complexity of the compositions. Baroque music is highly ornate and complex, while Classical music is simple and elegant.

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