In the 18th century, Europe underwent several social changes as exemplified by the many revolutions. These changes profoundly affected the lives of composers, makers of musical organs, and musicians were. Composers, unlike before started holding concerts in a bid to introduce their music to the public. There is great debate among academicians on what entails classical music. To some scholars music produced in the 18th century in the Western hemisphere is referred to as classical music.
However to others, classical music is a musical style that differentiates this type of music from modern music styles such as rock and R&B. However, classical music is a term used to describe the type of music produced by renowned composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and composers that performed music before the 20th century. Classical music is differentiated from other music styles because of its proportion, clarity, and balance. The era of the classical music was dominated by orchestral musical instruments such as trumpets, flutes, and violins.
The clarinet was also a musical instrument that was used by classical composers. Although the clarinet was developed at the start of the 18th century, Haydn and Mozart popularized the instrument through their music. Anton Stadler was an expert in playing the clarinet and his close working relationship with Mozart helped to popularize the musical instrument. In several of his solo musical compositions, Mozart preferred using the clarinet. The piano was also introduced during the era of the classical music in Western Europe.
In the era of the classical music, Mozart and Beethoven were among the most gifted composers; the two introduced new developments to music. For example, Mozart was renowned for his creative utilization of musical instruments such as the clarinet and piano. In some of his music, for example the seventeen piano concertos, Mozart tried combining the orchestra and piano. Consequently, the significance of piano concertos in music was elevated by Mozart. Similarly, Mozart used the harpsichord in his musical compositions. During his lifetime, Mozart composed symphonies, operas, and church music.
Mozart is also credited for having enriched opera through his establishment of the principles of sonata and symphony. During his existence, Mozart is acclaimed for having composed over 600 works. To several people, “the magic flute” and “the marriage of Figaro” represent some of his greatest compositions. Mozart inspired other composers of the classical period such as Beethoven. In his compositions, Beethoven used the violin and the piano. His father had taught him how to play these instruments. In his lifetime, Beethoven composed 9 symphonies.
In these symphonies, Beethoven used a variety of musical instruments such piccolos, trombones, contrabassoons, and horns. In his last symphony, he introduced a chorus and soloist. This was a new invention in classical music as Mozart and Hayden had not done it before. His compositions were also long, for example, the performance of the last symphony is 60 minutes long. There are several characteristics of classical music. Melodies inherent in classical music are easy to remember and tuneful. Similarly, the melodies in classical music are symmetrical and balanced.
The balance and symmetry are created because classical musical compositions comprise two phrases of equal length. Classical music is also characterized by flexibility in rhythm. Several of the classical compositions comprised a variety of rhythmic patterns. Similarly, classical compositions were characterized by the increased use of instrumental music. The trio, fugue, rondo, minuet, and sonata forms were the prevalent rhythmic forms inherent in classical compositions. Classical compositions had homophonic textures characterized by a solitary melodic line.
The solitary melodic line was followed by less melodic or non-melodic lines. The Alberti bass was the most preferred accompaniment pattern to the solitary line. Harmony in classical music was less complicated. Principal triads such as subdominant, dominant, and tonic chords were used to achieve harmony in classical compositions. Similarly, diatonic harmony in classical compositions was dominant compared to chromatic harmony. Listening to classical music especially that composed by Mozart gives me a feeling of relaxation because of the perfect harmony of the instruments used in his compositions.
Today, many people are not well conversant with classical music. Several students prefer listening to contemporary genres of music such as R&B. Unlike classical compositions, R&B songs are short. For example, whereas the average length of an R&B song is five minutes, a classical composition can last for one hour. Similarly, most of the beats in R&B songs are generated through the use of the computer. Consequently, there are some R&B artists who cannot play any musical instrument. In classical music, the composers were experts in playing a variety of instruments.
R&B is predominantly vocal. In R&B music, there is the artist and a text containing the meaning of the song. This explains why music prevails over feeling in R&B—the audience is forced to concentrate on the text in an effort to get the meaning of the song. Similarly, the audience has little time to listen to the composition. The protracted length of classical compositions elicited feelings from the audience. This led to a perfect balance between feeling and music in classical compositions.