Concert Life

  • Audiences and Concert Halls Grow
  • Innovative composers, conservative public
  • critics begin to play an importnant role
  • More and more public concerts
  • larger orchestras

Program Music

  • Music has an extra musical program

Romantic Instrumentation

  • Strings
    • Violin I, II, Viola, Cello, Bass (more players/part)
  • Woodwinds
    • Flute I, II, Piccolo, Oboe I, II, English Horn, Clarinet I, II, Eb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon I, II, Contrabassoon
  • Brass
    • Horn I, II, III, IV, Trumpet I, II, Trombone I, II, III,Tuba
  • Percussion
    • 3 Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Cymbals, triangle, bell, Piano

Romantic Music

  • Chromatic Harmony
  • Expanded Harmony
  • Expanded Forms
  • Broad, Assymetrical Melodies
  • Tempo Rubato
  • Virtuosic writing
  • Rise of Celebrity performer

Instrumental Music

  • Program Music is very popular
  • Popular Genres
    • Program Symphony
    • Concert Overture
    • Incidental Music
    • Symphonic Poem
  • Connection between music and other arts


  • Character pieces, nocturnes, etc.


  • Large Scale Symphonie, tone poems, etc. 

Thematic Unity

  • Recurring themes and motives
  • thematic transformations
  • cyclic themes or motives

Franz Schubert

  • 1797-1828
  • Shy, living in Beethoven’s Shadow
  • Schubertriads: Evenings of Chamber Music
  • Died at 31 from Syphilis
  • Wrote 600+ lieder


  • Lied: German Art song for voice and piano
  • personal expression
  • miniature (short, one mvt)
  • Forms: Strophic, modified strophic, through-composed
  • Piano: instrument of middle class


  • Through composed lied
  • Text by Goethe
  • Macabre folk-tale
  • Characters (sung by one person)
  • Narrator (middle range)
  • Father (low range)
  • Erlkonig (major key, smooth)
  • Horse: pian, obsessive repetitive motives

Piano Miniature

  • Short, 1 movement piano piece
  • Usually programmatic
  • Examples
    • Schubert, Moment Musical No. 2 in A-flat
    • R. Schubert, Carnaval
    • Chopin, Nocturne in F-sharp, op 15, No.2
      • Fluid Decorated melodies
      • Formal Sections blurred
      • ;A; Theme always ornamented in its return

French Nationalism

  • Grand Opera (historical drama, spectacle)
  • Opera Comique
    • Comic opera with spoken dialogue
  • Opera Lyrique
    • Blend of Grand opera and Comic Opera

German Nationalism

  • Singspiel
    • Light opera, spoken dialogue
  • Musik-Drama
    • Wagner Style Opera

Italian Nationalism

  • Opera Seria
  • Opera Buffa
  • Similar to classical styles
  • musical style updated though

Giuseppe Verdi

  • Italian Nationalist
  • Operas often seem patriotic
  • Problems with Austrian Censor
  • Wrote primarily operas, one requiem mass

Verdi’s Music

  • Bel Canto: "Beautiful Singing"
  • Diatonic Harmony
  • Simple Orchestral Accompaniment
  • Singable, Pleasant Melodies

Richard Wagner

  • Reinvents German Opera
  • Conceived as Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work)
  • Music, Drama, Literature and Visual Arts together
  • Wrote his own libretti
  • Titled his works "Musical Dramas"
  • Ludwig II of Bavaria built him a theater in Bayreuth and subsidized productions

Musik Drama

  • Integrated Music and Theatre
  • Replaces singspiel
  • Plots based on German myth and philosophy
  • Continuous music, not like the "number" operas of Mozart and Verdi
  • Chromaticism and Dissonance
  • Breakdown of tonal harmony
  • Leitmotiv: theme used to represent a character, idea etc.
  • Endless Melody: continuous music, no recitative or aria

Program Music


  • Symphonic Poem
    • originates with Liszt
  • Program Symphonies
    • Mahler’s symphonies are a great example
  • Other works don’t fit into traditional formal boundaries
    • Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

Musical Styles of Late Romantics

  • Takes elements of Romantic music further
  • Highly chromatic
  • approaching tonal ambiguity
  • Forms continue to expand
    • 5 mvt symphony
    • extended development sections
  • Longer Works
  • Even more emotiona, individual context

Romantic Symphony

  • Movement I
    • Slow Introduction(Optional), Sonata Allegro Form, tonic key
  • Movement II
    • Sonata Allegro, ABA, or Theme and Var
    • Different Key, Slow, Lyrical; varied moods
  • Movement III
    • Scherzo, trio in tonic key, two sections each, fast
  • Movement IV
    • Rondo, or other form, Home key; Allegro, Presto, lighter than Mvt I