WHAT IS CLASSICAL MUSIC ?

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Most of us are listening to classical music, but don't realize it. We hear it in public places, such as restaurants, supermarkets, and in advertizing. Many of us go to a movie, and don't realize we are listening to classical music. As an example, John Williams composes classical music for movies, such as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series.

It is difficult to define what is meant by "classical" music. There is such an enormous amount of music to examine that doesn't fall easily into concise categories. In classical music it is possible to find music to satisfy any mood or preference.

While 'popular' music tends to present one theme or idea and exhaust it, 'classical' will examine many aspects of the idea, sometimes diverse, sometimes complimentary, but usually returns to the beginning in a logical manner.

It is dangerous to form opinions that 'classical' music is 'superior' or only for the intellectually elite. Sadly, most likely because attending live concerts is expensive, 'classical' music has gained a reputation of being socially divisive. Most of us are listening to classical music, but don't realize it. We hear it in public places, such as restaurants, supermarkets, and in advertizing. Many of us go to a movie, and don't realize we are listening to classical music.

Now, however, with the advent of state of the art recording techniques, it is possible for everyone to enjoy the finest artists performing the world's greatest masterpieces. Back to Top


HOW TO LISTEN TO CLASSICAL MUSIC

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There is no certain way to listen. Each person should determine to open their heart and mind and react to the music. Whatever you feel as you listen, is right for you. You will get more out of music if you listen actively, not just letting it wash over you. Some things to enjoy could be listed:

A theme that returns
  • Moods
  • Feelings
  • Technical expertise
  • Visual images
  • Rhythm
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Different instruments
  • Changes and transformations
  • Many more.

As you listen, discover your own.

Don't worry about losing your concentration, or even being bored, or not liking it. Everyone's taste is different, and what is good for one, may not be good for another. Keep trying different periods and styles to discover what you relate to best.

Don't worry about evaluating your listening experience as to good or bad. It is more helpful to ask yourself, "Did it affect me?" Back to Top


OVERVIEW OF MUSIC HISTORY

Medieval (c.1150 - c.1400)

Hurdy-Gurdy

This is when music historians can begin to understand how the music sounded at this time.




Renaissance (c.1400 - c.1600)

Virginal

This period initiated harmony (two or more notes sounded together) and polyphony ( two or more voices at the same time)




Baroque (c.1600 - c.1750)

Harpsicord

Foundations are laid for music up to our present time. The various forms in music, such as Sonata and Concerto, the Opera and the Orchestra came into being.




Classical (c.1750 - c.1830)

Pianoforte

The Sonata form was fully developed, which still influences music of today.





Early Romantic (c.1830 - c.1860)

Square Piano

The amount of expression and intensity of emotion is now expanded.





Late Romantic (c.1860 - c.1920)

Broadwood Grand

More freedom of expression, and more inclination to follow inspiration, outside the bounds of the previous forms.




Contemporary (c.1920 - Present)

Steinway

Composers write in all forms, and a wide range of instruments, technics, visual effects, with reference to all the previous periods of music.

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