Classical Period


1720-1820, Religion ceased to be an overriding source, almost to the point of atheism. Rousseau was one of the few philosophers who had a direct affect on music.

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Characteristics of Enlightenment


Turning the scientific approach of the Baroque period into something that would be for human benefit.

1. Pleasing Variety

2. Natural Simplicity

Center of Classical Style



Classical Style Features


1. Rhythem more flexible, varied

2. Dynamics more variable, crescendo, decrescendo

3. Tone color: Bigger orchestras, techniques changed

4. Melody was most important element

5. Homophony dominates

6. Harmony- no more basso continuo

Classical Forms


Minuet and Trio

Theme Variations


Sonata form

Minuet and Trio



Minuete- dance in moderate tripple meter

Trio- The second part of minuete or the B part, consists of 3 instruments or voices

A musical form consisting of one main theme or tune alternating with other themes or sections (ABACA, ABACABA, etc.)
Sonata Form
A form developed by the Classical composers and used in almost all the first movements of their symphonies, sonatas.
First section of a Fugue, first section of a sonata-form movement.
the process of expanding themes and short motives into larger sections of music; the second section of a sonata-form movement, which features the development process
the third movement of a sonata form
The concluding section of a piece or a movement, after the main elements of the form have been presented. codas are common in sonata form
A genre that was typical of the time. A piece designed to divert, amuse, and entertain.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Eagerly championed an Italian comic opera that was a hit at the time, G.B. Pergolesi’s; La Serva padrona. Demanded the kind of opera that would portray real people in actual life.

Movements of the symphony in classical period.


First movement: Fast or moderate tempo in sonata form.

Second movement: Slow tempo, quiet mood.

Third movement: A minuete and trio, persistent dance rythym

Fourth movement: Fast again, faster than first even. either in sonata form or rondo form.

Exposition of Sonata form

Large, diverse section of music in which the basic material of the movement is presented (or exposed).

Consists of:

First theme, bridge, second theme (cadence)