An History of Classical Music

There is an intrinsic relationship between the progress and development of music and art and societal changes. It was most apparent during the Classical Era, which followed the Baroque Era. While the Baroque era primarily influenced by religious institutions and aristocratic motivations, the Classical Era completely broke away from this trend.

The Classical Era lasted from approximately 1775 to 1825 and influenced absolutely every aspect of art and literature. The primary motivation behind this movement was to emulate the classical artistic and literary heritage of Rome and Greece.

Almost simultaneously, a new wave of thinking swept the world. With philosophers such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu began focusing their work on the value of the individual and the power of reasoning to solve world problems. It was quite revolutionary at the time, as before this era, most of the focus revolved around religious and aristocratic institutions. While most of the music in this period was still composed of the Church and the Courts, some public concerts were being held, bringing the appreciation of music to the masses.

The Names that Defined the Period

While we briefly touched on prominent philosophers during the era, probably the most renowned names to emerge from the Classical Era was Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg Austria in 1756 and was considered a child prodigy from an early age. At age six, he was fluent in Violin and Harpsichord and in his first teens he was already touring the landscape in England and Europe. In 1781, Mozart moved to Vienna, which could very well be considered the epicenter of the Classical Movement. By 1791, Mozart’s health was failing, and he died before completing Requiem, which was commissioned by a Court Representative. His pupil Süssmayr finished the work and still accredited Mozart for the piece.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770. Similar to Mozart, he moved to Vienna in 1792 where he studied with Haydn and Albrechtsberger. Beethoven was quite outspoken about the fact that musicians needed a Patron to compose their songs. While primarily a composer of Instrumental music, he also produced choral music such as Mass in D Minor and Missa Solemnis. Beethoven, over the years, became deaf yet this did not stop him from composing. Some might argue that some of his most significant work did while he was completely deaf. Some people also believe that Beethoven would place his ear against the wood of the piano to ‘feel the sound’ and thus composed his masterpieces.

Franz Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria in 1732. Similar to the other two composers, Haydn was considered a child prodigy. He worked under Nicola Porpora which gained him some recognition. During the periods of 1791-1795, he was hired by Johann Peter Salomon to conduct a total of 12 symphonies. All of these significantly accepted by the public. Haydn was an isolated composer and while infamous due to his music, he never really stood out in society. Unlike Beethoven and Mozart, Haydn is lesser known to the masses today. However, it can safely say that he is a pivotal composer of the times and in some cases helped shape the name of Beethoven.

The Result of the Classical Era

There have been significant periods throughout human history where art and music influenced society. The Classical Era gave birth to new ideas such as individualism. There was an apparent move away from the established aristocratic and religious dominance that ruled the lives of the masses. It was these movements that started giving life to concepts that were conjured decades and even centuries before.

A middle class was forming, and the absolute power of the ruling class became less apparent. People could enjoy music outside of a religious setting. People were more likely to pay money to see concerts that had no religious dogma attached to it. In other words, people were able to enjoy the music for the sake of the music alone.

As a result, we started to see a trend of individualism. The state no longer held such an essential significance in the eyes of the masses. This train of thought that swept the modern world traveled the seas and helped inspire documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the idea of universal rights and the concept of art outside of the church.

The Renaissance might have given birth to these ideas, but it was the Classical Era that solidified it and expanded the criteria to other parts of the world. Even today, Classical music remains a popular choice for many people, and in fact, even science recognizes the importance of the music.

It’s interesting to reflect on the incredible power that music can have on society, and the classical period is probably one of the most sound pieces of evidence about this fact.

About writer: Lauren Bradshaw started freelance academic writing in 2003. Since then she tried her hand in SEO and website copywriting, writing for blogs, and working as an essay writer. Her main interests lie in content marketing, developing communication skills, and blogging. She’s also passionate about literature and painting. Currently she is hired by academic writing company.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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