C.P.E. Bach
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a German musician and composer, the second of five sons of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. He was a crucial composer in the transition between the Baroque and Classical periods, and one of the founders of the Classical style, composing in the Rococo and Classical periods.
J.C. Bach
Johann Christian Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as ‘the London Bach’ or ‘the English Bach’, due to his time spent living in the British capital. He is noted for influencing the concerto style of Mozart.
Domenico Scarlatti
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style. His influential 555 sonatas were almost all written for the harpsichord with a few exceptions for chamber ensemble or organ.
Muzio Clementi
Muzio Clementi was a celebrated English, of Italian birth, classical composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. He is credited with being the first to write specifically for the piano. He is best known for his piano sonatas, sonatinas, and his collection of piano studies, Gradus ad Parnassum. Nineteenth century enthusiasts called Clementi “the father of the pianoforte”, “father of modern piano technique”, “father of Romantic pianistic virtuosity”, etc., judgments which have become overshadowed as Clementi has slipped into obscurity.
Luigi Boccherini
Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini was an Italian classical era composer and cellist whose music retained a courtly and galante style while he matured somewhat apart from the major European musical centers. Boccherini is most widely known for one particular minuet from his String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5, and the Cello Concerto in B flat major. This last work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grutzmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version. His music was clearly influenced by the Spanish and Mediterranean style in that he composed several quintets for guitar.
William Boyce
Boyce is best known for his set of eight symphonies, his anthems and his odes. He also wrote the masque Peleus and Thetis and songs for John Dryden’s Secular Masque, incidental music for William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, and a quantity of chamber music including a set of twelve trio sonatas. He also composed the British and Canadian Naval March “Heart of Oak”. The lyrics were later written by David Garrick.
Giovanni Sammartini
Giovanni Battista Sammartini was an Italian composer, organist, choirmaster and teacher. He counted Gluck among his students, and was highly regarded by younger composers including Johann Christian Bach. It has also been noted that many stylizations in Joseph Haydn’s compositions are similar to those of Sammartini, although Haydn denied any such influence. Sammartini is especially associated with the formation of the concert symphony through both the shift from a brief opera-overture style and the introduction of a new seriousness and use of thematic development that prefigure Haydn and Mozart.
Johann Stamitz
Stamitz expanded the orchestral score, making the winds essential for the composition. The chief innovation in Stamitz’s symphonic works is their adoption of the cycle of four movements, with a fast/slow pair followed by a minuet and trio in the third movement, ending with a Presto or Prestissimo movement. While isolated examples of this structure exist previously, Stamitz was the first composer to use it consistently: well over half of his symphonies and nine of his ten orchestral trios are in four movements. He also contributed to the development of sonata form, most often used in the first movements of symphonies.
Giovanni Pergolesi
Pergolesi was one of the most important early composers of opera buffa (comic opera). His opera seria Il prigioner superbo contained the two act buffa intermezzo, La Serva Padrona (The Servant Mistress, August 28, 1733), which became a very popular work in its own right. When it was performed in Paris in 1752, it prompted the so-called Querelle des Bouffons (“quarrel of the comedians”) between supporters of serious French opera by the likes of Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau and supporters of new Italian comic opera. Pergolesi was held up as a model of the Italian style during this quarrel, which divided Paris’s musical community for two years.
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera’s dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years. With a series of radical new works in the 1760s, among them Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste, he broke the stranglehold that Metastasian opera seria had enjoyed for much of the century.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over six hundred works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.
Joseph Haydn
(Franz) Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. He was one of the most important, prolific and prominent composers of the classical period. He is often called the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet” because of his important contributions to these genres. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time.
Mannheim School of Music
Mannheim school refers to both the orchestral techniques pioneered by the court orchestra of Mannheim in the latter half of the 18th century as well as the group of composers who wrote such music for the orchestra of Mannheim and others. The most notable of the revolutionary techniques of the Mannheim orchestra were its more independent treatment of the wind instruments, and its famous whole-orchestra crescendo. Members of the Mannheim school included Johann Stamitz, Franz Xaver Richter, Carl Stamitz, Franz Ignaz Beck, and Christian Cannabich, and it had a very direct influence on many major symphonists of the time, including Joseph Haydn and Leopold Hofmann.
Vienna School of Music (First Vieneese School)
The First Viennese School is a name mostly used to refer to three classical music composers of the Classical period in late-18th-century Vienna: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Rococo (Music)
The rococo music style itself developed out of baroque music, particularly in France. It can be characterized as intimate music with extremely refined decoration forms. Exemplars include Jean Philippe Rameau and Louis-Claude Daquin.
Empfindsamer Stil
The Empfindsamer Stil (literally sensitive style) is a style of musical composition developed in 18th century Germany, intended to express “true and natural” feelings, and featuring sudden contrasts of mood. It was developed as a contrast to the Baroque Affektenlehre (lit. The Doctrine of Affections), in which a composition (or movement) would have the same affect, or emotion, throughout.
Sturm und Drang
Sturm und Drang is the name of a movement in German literature and music taking place from the late 1760s through the early 1780s in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in response to the confines of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements.
Initially the most common layout of movements was:

– Allegro, which at the time was understood to mean not only a tempo, but also some degree of “working out”, or development, of the theme. (See Charles Rosen’s The Classical Style, and his Sonata Forms.)

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– A middle movement which was, most frequently, a slow movement: an Andante, an Adagio, or a Largo; or, less frequently, a Minuet or Theme and Variations form.

– A closing movement, early in the period sometimes a minuet, as in Haydn’s first three piano sonatas, but afterwards, generally an Allegro or a Presto, often labeled Finale. The form was often a Rondo.

A Singspiel is a form of German-language music drama, regarded as a genre of opera. It is characterized by spoken dialogue, which is alternated with ensembles, songs, ballads, and arias (which were often lyrical, strophic, or folk-like). According to the 1908 edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music, the main distinction between opera and Singspiel is: “[Singspiel] by no means excludes occasional recitative in place of the spoken dialogue, but the moment the music helps to develop the dramatic denouement we have to do with Opera and not with Singspiel.”
Opera buffa
The term opera buffa was at first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas variously classified by their authors as ‘commedia in musica’, ‘commedia per musica’, ‘dramma bernesco’, ‘dramma comico’, ‘divertimento giocoso’ etc. It is especially associated with developments in Naples in the first half of the 18th century, from whence its popularity spread to Rome and northern Italy. It was at first characterized by everyday settings, local dialects, and simple vocal writing (the basso buffo is the associated voice type), the main requirement being clear diction and facility with patter.
Opera comique
Opera comique is a French genre of opera that contains spoken dialogue, and sometimes recitatives, in addition to arias. It emerged out of the popular opera comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent (and to a lesser extent the Comedie-Italienne), which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections. Associated with the same name Paris theatre, Opera-Comique, opera comique is, despite its name, not necessarily comic or light in nature—indeed, Carmen, likely the most famous opera comique, is a tragedy. It is sometimes confused with 18th-century French version of the Italian opera buffa, in French known as opera bouffon.
Ballad opera
Characteristic English type of comic opera, originating in the 18th century and featuring farcical or extravaganza plots. The music was mainly confined to songs interspersed in spoken dialogue. Such operas at first used ballads or folk songs to which new words were adapted; later, tunes were borrowed from popular operas, or music was occasionally newly composed.
A symphony is a musical composition, often extended and usually for orchestra. Early symphonies, in common with both overtures and ripieno concertos, have three movements, in the tempi quick-slow-quick. However, unlike the ripieno concerto, which uses the usual ritornello form of the concerto, at least the first movement of these symphonies is in binary form. They are distinguishable from Italian overtures in that they were written to stand on their own in concert performances, rather than to introduce a stage work—although a piece originally written as an overture was sometimes later used as a symphony, and vice versa.
String Quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string instruments — usually two violins, a viola and cello — or a piece written to be performed by such a group. The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in classical music.
Orchestra and its development
An orchestra is an instrumental ensemble, usually fairly large with string, brass, woodwind sections, and possibly a percussion section as well. The typical symphony orchestra consists of four proportionate groups of similar musical instruments called the woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings. The orchestra, depending on the size, contains almost all of the standard instruments in each group. In the history of the orchestra, its instrumentation has been expanded over time, often agreed to have been standardized by the classical period and Beethoven’s influence on the classical model.
Opera reform
Gluck tried to achieve a “beautiful simplicity”. This is illustrated in the first of his “reform” operas, Orfeo ed Euridice, where vocal lines lacking in the virtuosity of (say) Handel’s works are supported by simple harmonies and a notably richer-than-usual orchestral presence throughout. Gluck’s reforms have had resonance throughout operatic history.
Sonata form
The standard definition focuses on the thematic and harmonic organization of tonal materials which are presented in an exposition, elaborated and contrasted in a development and then resolved harmonically and thematically in a recapitulation. Additionally the standard definition recognizes that an introduction and a coda may be present. Each of the sections is often further divided or characterized by the particular means by which it accomplishes its function in the form.
Sonata cycle
In reference to performance or recording, it almost always means the complete traversal of a set of works by a single composer. For example a “Beethoven sonata cycle” would refer to a performer playing all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Minuet and Trio
A minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two persons, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate, a diminutive of menu, from the Latin minutus; menuetto is a word that occurs only on musical scores. The name may refer to the short steps, pas menus, taken in the dance, or else be derived from the branle a mener or amener, popular group dances in early 17th-century France (Little 2001). At the period when it was most fashionable it was slow, ceremonious, and graceful.
Ternary form
Ternary form is a three-part A–B–A structure in a piece of music. The first and third parts (A) are musically identical, or very nearly so, while the second part (B) contrasts sharply with it. The B section is often known as a trio.
Binary form
Binary form is a way of structuring a piece of music in two related sections, both of which are usually repeated.
Theme and variations
Theme and variations is a musical form in which the fundamental musical idea, or theme, is repeated in altered form or accompanied in a different manner. It can be used as a solo piece or as movement of a larger piece. Passacaglias and chaconnes are forms in which a repeating bass line or ostinato, typically shorter than a full-scale variation theme or constantly recurring harmonic progression, is heard through the entire piece.
Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also in reference to a character-type that is distinct from the form. Although now called rondo form, the form started off in the Baroque period as the ritornello form, coming from the Italian word ritornare meaning “to return”, indicating the return to the original theme or motif (“A”).
Sonata rondo
The rondo concept can be combined with the harmonic plan of Sonata Form (tonal exposition, development and recapitulation) to create the hybrid sonata-rondo form.
A sprightly humorous instrumental musical composition or movement commonly in quick triple time.