Monday, March 20, 2017
Development of the Classical Period in Western Music
An engineering professional, Ben Pu balances these responsibilities with the active pursuit of athletic, cultural, and intellectual hobbies. Ben Pu is an aficionado of classical music and enjoys attending piano concerts at the New England Conservatory.
The Classical period of Western music arose out of the complex yet delicately ornamented style of the Baroque period. Ornamentation reached its peak during the Rococo period, in the last years of composers such as Handel and Bach, when melodic lightness predominated across new works. Audiences began to criticize the superficiality of this work, and the resultant simplification paved the way for the start of the Classical era.
Music historians place the start of the Classical era at approximately 1775. Music of that time had begun to reflect the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment, which emphasized the inherent value of the human mind and heart. The intellectual structuring of complex decoration faded into the background, and simple melodies emerged, rich with human emotion.
As feeling became more of a focus in new compositions, the sound itself became richer and fuller. The symphonies of Ludwig von Beethoven, which featured numerous instruments and voices, exemplify the dramatic and emotionally intense nature of this period. The expanded symphony orchestra, as we know it today, grew out of this period, as did the prominence of the expressive piano as a foundational element of instrumental music.