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Ludwig von Beethoven lived in the age that we now know as the Classical Period, which was around the early 19th century. It was known as this because of the particular type of music that was composed and played. This music was often simpler than earlier compositions and was thus more accessible to the lower and middle class citizens as they began to demand greater access to art and music. It was simple and catchy and meant that not only the minority of highly educated, upper class could listen to it.
Music was not the only thing to be changing at this time. Some of the other changes included greater education for the lower classes, the industrial revolution was just starting, challenge to the idea of monarchy and above all the expansion of the Sciences. The classical Period was an exciting time to be living and saw many advances in human culture and the sciences.
The classical period started around the late 18th century and continued through until the early 19th century. It was a pivotal time in the year that shaped our modern society and ways of thinking as well as appreciation of the arts. The Sciences also became prominent and this led to Newton defining the laws of Physics. The main cause behind this was the liberal thinking monarchs of the time as well as the disestablishment of these same monarchies in many countries. Often they were stripped of their powers but kept as symbolic families.
During this time some of the greatest composers came to the attention of the public. These included Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) Austria, Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Austria and Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827) Germany. These composers had great influence in the types of music that was listened to because of their compositions and they introduced a new style of music that is known as the Sonata.
The Sonata was the name a classical composer would give to a work divided into several movements, played by one or two instruments only e.g. solo piano or double bass and piano. A Sonata consisted of three or four movements that contrasted in both tempo and key, but relate in thought and work seamlessly together.
An example of the construction of a normal 4 movement Sonata may go like this:
Andante, adagio, largo ~ a slow, rhythmic and lyrical movement
Scherzo ~ light and graceful movement often in a dance form
Each movement in Sonata form has three parts:
Exposition ~ Introduces the main theme of group of themes
Development ~ The composer varies the themes, combines them, breaks them into smaller sections or plays them in different keys.
Recapitulation ~ Restates the original theme or themes.
Coda ~ can be added as a conclusion to a movement and comes after the Recapitulation
The Classical Orchestra although different from modern examples was fundamentally the same. The small sized groups of the Baroque period were surpassed and orchestras made use of more than 40 players in some cases. The orchestra generally featured the string section which played majority of the melodic material in the work. The woodwind usually consisted of two flutes, two oboes, two bassoon and nearer to the end of the classical period the clarinet. The Brass section would include two trumpets and two horns. The percussion had two timpani plus other hand held instruments.
The classical orchestra has gone on to shape modern orchestras that can have in excess o
Names mentioned in this term paper
a very religious man, Joseph Haydn, Napoleon,
Keywords referenced in this term paper
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