Musicology: Classic Style

The outline that you find below has been a very helpful study guide to assist students using the book A History of Western Music. I strongly recommend this book. With its contents, art work, and media, it's just gorgeous!

The Enlightenment

  1. Enlightenment ideals
    1. 18th c. revolt against supernatural religion of the church in favor of natural religion and practical morality
    2. Advocated common sense, empirical psychology, applied science and sociology
    3. Freedom for the individual, equal rights and universal education
    4. Secular, skeptical, empirical, practical, liberal, equalitarian and progressive
  2. Aspects of 18th c. life
    1. 18th c. as a cosmopolitan age (national differences were minimized)
      1. German kings ruled England, Sweden and Poland
      2. Spanish king ruled Naples
      3. French duke in Tuscany
    2. Internationalization of politics, thought and art
    3. Age of the "enlightened despots" (humanitarian rulers)
      1. Frederick the Great of Prussia
      2. Catherine the Great of Russia
      3. Joseph II of Austria
      4. Louis XVI of France
    4. Freemasonry
      1. Religious movement tha advocated universal human brotherhood
    5. Rise of Middle class influence
      1. Popularization of art and learning
      2. New markets for artists and writers
        1. This affects subject matter
        2. Presentation
      3. Public concerts
        1. Concert Spirituel
          1. Paris public concert series from 1725
        2. Gewandhaus concerts
          1. Begun by J.A. Hiller in Leipzig in 1763
          2. Similar concerts organizations founded at Vienna in 1771,Berlin in 1790
        3. Concert societies had flourished in London since 1672
      4. Music printing
        1. Collections published for amateurs
        2. Periodical publish a large amount of music
        3. Music journalism and criticism grows out of this development
    6. Enlightenment as a prosaic age
      1. Prose valued over poetry
      2. As rational thought valued over emotional
  3. 18th Century Musical Ideal
    1. Characteristics
      1. language should be universal
      2. "naturalism": should be free of needless technical complications
      3. Should be pleasing to any normally sensitive listener

Instrumental Music: Sonata, Symphony and Concerto

  1. Terminology in the Early Classic Period
    1. 1720-1750 often called the Rococo period
      1. Terminology is problematic
      2. Couperin's character pieces display some of the ornamental extravagenceof art and architecture
    2. Galant style
      1. Another term for the less contrapuntal style of the early-mid 18th c.
      2. Emphasis on short-breathed melody made up of repeated motives
      3. Harmony rhythm is less intense
      4. Composers writing in the "galant" style
        1. Leonardo Vinci (1690-1730)
        2. Pergolesi
        3. Hasse
        4. Keyboard music of Galuppi
        5. Chamber music of Sammartini
    3. Empfindsamkeit
      1. Another term for music of the mid-18th c.
      2. literally means "sentimentality" or "sensibility"
      3. Expressed through surprising turns of harmony, chromaticism, andrhapsodic melody
      4. Often found in slow movements of the period
      5. Composers writing in this style:
        1. late concertos of Vivaldi
        2. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
        3. In combination with the galant style in C.P.E. Bach's keyboardsonatas
  2. New Concepts of Melody and Harmony
    1. Melodic style
      1. linear syntax which contrasts sharply with the thorough-bass style ofBach
        1. Bach would announce a musical idea, spin it out throughsequentialrepetition
        2. Baroque melodies lacked periodicity in their melodies
      2. Classical style uses antecedent-consequent phrase structure
        1. Use of distinct 2, 3 or 4 bar phrases
      3. Harmonic rhythm is slower
        1. Melodic activity occurs over slow moving conventionalharmonies
        2. Harmonic changes occur on strong accents announced by barlines
      4. Bass is subordinated to the melody
        1. Alberti Bass
          1. Named for Italian composer Domenico Alberti (1710-1740)
          2. Repeated arpeggiations based on the underlying harmony
          3. Used frequently by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
  3. Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
    1. Chief Italian keyboard composer of the 18th century
    2. Background
      1. Son of Alessandro Scarlatti
      2. Essercizi
        1. First collection of harpsichord sonatas
        2. Published in 1738
      3. 1720: enters the service of the king of Portugal
      4. 1729: moves to Madrid where he remains for the rest of his life(composes most of his 555 sonatas there)
    3. Sonatas
      1. Formal elements
        1. All his Sonatas are organized by means of tonal relationships intostandard binary patter used for dance pieces
          1. 2 sections, each repeated
          2. 1st section closes on the dominant or relative major
          3. 2nd section modulates further and returns to the tonic
      2. Movement schemes
        1. Post-1745 Sonatas are arranged in pairs (2 mov't sonatas)
        2. 2 mov't sonatas are always in the same key (although one issometimes in major and the other in minor)
          1. Alberti also wrote 2-mov't sonatas
      3. Scarlatti's music was not well-known outside of Spain and Portugal
  4. The Classic Sonata
    1. Formal elements
      1. 3 or 4 movements (occasionally 2) of contrasting mood and tempo
      2. Heinrich Cristoph Koch (1749-1816)
        1. wrote an Introductory Essay on Composition (1787)
          1. Decribes the form of the first movement
          2. Now known as sonata form, sonata-allegro form or first-mov't form
      3. 1830s definition of sonata form
        1. Saw it as a ternary form consisting of
          1. Exposition: first theme on tonic, secondary (often morelyrical) theme on the dominant or relative major and aclosing (often cadential) theme on the tonic or dominant
          2. Development: modulations and variations of the openingthemes
          3. Recapitulation: material of the exposition is restated in theoriginal order in the tonic key
          4. Coda: concluding section
  5. Early Classic Symphonies and Chamber Music
    1. Background
      1. Keyboard sonatas and orchestral compositions of similar form from the18th c. were influenced by the opera overture (sinfonia)
      2. Sinfonia
        1. By 1700 assumed a 3-mov't structure (fast-slow-fast)
          1. Usually an Allegro, short Andante and finale with a dance-like rhythmn (minuet or gigue)
        2. Sinfonias gradually became independent pieces for concert perf.
        3. By 1730 Italian composers commonly wrote concert symphonies(sinfonia using the general opera overture outline)
          1. Early symphonies also rely on late Baroque concerto andTrio Sonata regarding issues of texture, melodictreatment, structure
      3. Sammartini (1701-1775)
        1. Italian composer in Milan
        2. Symphony in F major (ca.1744)
          1. An early example of the 18th c. symphony
          2. The work is scored for 2 violins, viola, and bass and is inthree mov't (Presto, Andante and Allegro assai)
        3. Other early Italian opera composers
          1. Rinaldo di Capua (1710-1780)
          2. Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785)
          3. Niccolo Jommelli (1714-1774)
      4. Composers in Germany, Austria and France follow the lead of theItalians
      5. From 1740, Symphony gradually replaces the concerto as the leadingform of concerted instrumental music
    2. Empfindsamer Stil (expressive style)
      1. Wilehelm Friedemann (1710-1784)
      2. Johann Schobert (1720-1767)
  6. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
    1. Background
      1. Son of J.S. Bach
      2. Served Frederick the Great in Berlin from 1740-1768
      3. later becomes the music director of 5 principal churches in Hamburg
    2. Compositional output
      1. Oratorios
      2. Songs
      3. Symphonies
      4. Chamber music
      5. Most important works are for clavier
        1. 1742: publishes set of six sonatas (Prussian Sonatas)
        2. 1744: publishes another set of six (the Wurttemberg Sonatas)
        3. Bach's favorite instrument is the clavichord (allows for dynamicshadings)
          1. Clavichord enjoyed renewed popularity in Germanyduring the mid-18th century before it was supplanted bythe pianoforte
        4. Bach's last 5 sets of sonatas (1780s) were written for thepianoforte
    3. Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1753-1762)
      1. Important source on ornamentation written by CPE Bach
      2. like Quantz's contemporaneous flute treatise, it reveals muchabout the musical thought and practice of the period
    4. Empfindsamkeit techniques in CPE Bach (and contemporaries)
      1. Elements of surprise are exploited
        1. Abrupt shifts of harmony
        2. Strange modulations
        3. Unusual turns of melody (ornamentation)
        4. Suspenseful pauses
        5. Changes of texture
        6. Sudden sforzando accents
      2. Emphasis on subjectivity and emotion
      3. Style reaches its peak during the 1760s and 1770s
      4. Sturm und Drang (storm and stress)
        1. German literary mov't of the same period
        2. Similar aesthetic goals
  7. German Symphonic Composers
    1. Principal centers of symphonic composition after 1740
      1. Mannheim
      2. Vienna
      3. Berlin
    2. Johann Stamitz (1717-1757)
      1. leading composer of the "Mannheim school"
      2. Mannheim orchestra introduced new musical techniques soon imitatedthroughout Europe
        1. Use of broader dynamic range (pianissimo to fortissimo)
        2. Use of crescendo
        3. Graduated dynamics
          1. Previously terraced dynamics were used
          2. Graduated dynamics used "gradual" changes
          3. Terraced dymanics used abrupt steps in dynamic character(discontinuous)
      3. Stamitz was one of the first composers to introduce a contrastingtheme in the dominant section of a movement
    3. Vienna
      1. Georg Matthias Monn (1717-1750)
      2. Florian Leopold Gassmann (1729-1774)
      3. Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
      4. Viennese traits
        1. Pleasing lyricism
        2. Humor
        3. Contrasting theme groups in sonata movements
    4. Berlin
      1. Johann Gottlieb Graun (1703-1771)
      2. CPE Bach
      3. Berlin style
        1. Conservative
        2. Held to a 3-movement structure for the symphony
        3. Avoided sharp thematic contrasts within a movement
        4. Initiated technique of thematic development
        5. Enriched symphonic texture with contrapuntal elements
  8. Johann Christian Bach's Concertos
    1. Background
      1. J.C. Bach (1735-1782)
      2. youngest son of J.S. Bach
      3. Studied in Italy with Martini (1706-1784) in Bologna
      4. 1760: organist at Milan
      5. 1762: moves to London
        1. His 40 keyboard concertos are immensely popular in England
        2. Opus 7 (1770) bears the title: Sei concerti per il cembalo o piano eforte
          1. Bach is one of the first to adopt the pianoforte forpublic performance
      6. Mozart meets Bach in 1764-65
    2. Compositional output
      1. Symphonies
      2. Chamber music
      3. Keyboard music
      4. Operas
    3. Formal scheme of Bach's solo concertos
      1. Retains the Baroque ritornello structure but adds the contrasting thematicand harmonic elements of the sonata
      2. Form: P=Primary theme, T=Transition, S=Secondary Theme, K=Closing section
        Orchestra Solo
        P Transitional K Closing P Transitional S K Closing Short
        Tutti Tutti Tutti Tutti Cad.
        Tonic Dominant

        Solo w/Orchestra P Transitional (S) K Cadenza Closing
        using exposition Tutti Tutti
        or new material
        Foreign Keys Tonic
  9. Orchestral Music in France
    1. Paris becomes an important center of composition and publication toward themid-18th c.
    2. Important foreign composers
      1. Austrians
        1. Wagenseil
        2. Ignaz Holzbauer (1711-1783)
      2. Sammartini
      3. Stamitz
      4. Anton Filtz
      5. Francois-Joseph Gossec (1734-1829)
        1. Belgian who went to Paris in 1751
        2. Publ. his first symphonies in 1754
        3. One of the most popular composers of the revolutionary periodand one of the first directors of the Paris Conservatory
        4. March lugubre
          1. Among Gossec's works for public ceremonies of the newFrench Republic
          2. This piece may have influenced Beethoven's 3rd Sym. 2ndmov't
    3. Symphonie concertante
      1. A symphonic work employing two or more solo instruments in addition tothe regular orchestra
      2. Composers of this genre
        1. Joseph Boulogne Saint-Georges (1739-1799)
        2. Giovanni Giuseppe Cambini (1746-1825)
  10. The Symphony Orchestra
    1. 1775-1800: the basso continuo rapidly disappears
    2. By 1800 the harpsichord has been discarded from the orchestral texture
    3. Composition of the mid-century Mannheim orchestra
      1. 20 violins
      2. 4 violas, 4 cellos, 4 basses
      3. 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons
      4. 4 horns, 1 trumpet
      5. 2 kettledrums
    4. Haydn's orchestra from 1760-1785
      1. 12-16 strings
      2. Flute
      3. 2 oboes
      4. 2 bassoons
      5. 2 horns
      6. Harpsichord
      7. Trumpet and drums occasionally added
  11. Chamber Music
    1. Types of chamber music in the 1770s and 1780s
      1. Sonata for clavier and violin (violin usually in subsidiary role)
      2. String quartet
    2. Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)
      1. Important composer of chamber music
      2. worked chiefly at Madrid
      3. Compositional output
        1. 140 string quintets
        2. 100 string quartets
        3. 65 string trios
    3. Viennese Serenade
      1. Designed primarily for outdoor, informal occasions
      2. like the viennese divertimento, this was an intermediate formbetween the Baroque orchestral suite and the symphony
      3. Consisted of 5 or more mevements, many of them in dance rhythms
      4. Instrumentation
        1. Sometimes written for wind instruments alone
        2. Also written for strings alone
        3. Sometimes instruments were used in combination
      5. Historically important since they allowed composers to experiment withorchestration and ensemble scoring (without basso continuo)
        1. Elimination of basso continuo was essential to the rise of thestring quartet
    4. Quartet composers prior to Haydn
      1. Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789)
        1. Opus 5
          1. Published in London in 1768
          2. Collection of 6 quartets

Opera, Song, and Church Music

  1. Background
    1. Along with sonata and symphony, new genres and styles were emerging
    2. French tragedie lyrique was resistant to change in this period
    3. Italian opera was changing during this period
      1. Italian opera eventually dominates the stages of Europe in the18th c.
      2. Aimed to be clear, simple, rational, faithful and pleasing tothe audience
        1. Eventually criticized as being too artificial
  2. Italian Opera Seria
    1. Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782)
      1. Italian poet who standardized opera seria
      2. Characteristics of the genre
        1. Presentation of a conflict of human passion in an action basedstory from an ancient Greek or Latin author
        2. Made use of the conventional cast of two pairs of lovers andsubordinate personages
        3. Often utlized a popular stock character of 18th c. opera, the"magnanimous tyrant"
        4. Action introduces a number of varied scenes
          1. Pastoral or martial episodes
          2. Solemn ceremonies
        5. Three acts
          1. Alternating arias and recitatives
          2. Occasional duets
          3. Few ensembles or choruses
        6. Instrumental music
          1. Primarily accompanies the singers
          2. Obbligato recit. reserved for the most dramatic moments
    2. The Aria
      1. Da Capo Aria
        1. Most popular form in the early 18th c.
      2. Decline of operatic writing
        1. Concentration upon the aria as almost the only significant musicalingredient in opera gave way to abuses
        2. Alternation of recit and arias came to be treated to rigidly
        3. Singers demanded virtuousic arias and embellishments
        4. Il teatro alla moda (The Fashionable Theater)
          1. 1720 opera publ. anonymously
          2. Opera was by Benedetto Marcello
          3. Parody of empty Italian virtuosity
      3. Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
        1. Important composer of opera serie (as well as comic intermezzos)
      4. Other composers of opera seria
        1. late Handel
          1. Alcina
          2. Serse
        2. Giovanni Bononcini
        3. Karl Heinrich Graun (1704-1759)
        4. Domingo Terradellas (1713-1751)
        5. Nicola Porpora (1686-1768)
        6. Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783)
          1. director of music and opera at the court of the elector ofSaxony in Dresden
          2. Majority of his 80 operas use librettos by Metastasio
          3. Most popular opera composer in Europe mid-century
  3. Beginnings of Opera Reform
    1. Attempt to reform opera involved the following:
      1. Renewed emphasis on the dramatic qualities
      2. less emphasis on "rigid" structural conventions
      3. Move away from the coloratura and virtuosic elements
      4. Modification of the da capo aria
        1. Form becomes more flexible to serve drama
        2. Renders progression of action more realistic
      5. Greater use of obbligato recitative
      6. More dramatic use of the orchestra
      7. Reappearance of the chorus
    2. Two important figures of early reform
      1. Niccolo Jommelli
      2. Tommaso Traetta (1727-1779)
        1. Both are Italian composers who worked at courts where Frenchtaste dominated
        2. Jommelli at Stuttgart and Traetta at Parma
    3. Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)
      1. Achieved a synthesis of French and Italian opera
      2. Personal history
        1. Born in Bohemia
        2. Studied under Sammartini in Italy
        3. Visited London and toured Germany as the conductor of an operatroupe
        4. Became court composer to the emperor at Vienna
        5. Triumphed in Paris under the patronage of Marie Antoinette
      3. Operas
        1. Began writing in the traditional Italian style
        2. was strongly influenced by the 1750s reform movement
        3. Collaborated with poet Raniero Calzabigi (1714-1795)
          1. Orfeo ed Euridice (1762)
          2. Alceste (1767)
          3. Both operas produce at Vienna
          4. Dedication in Alceste remarks upon Gluck's resolve toremove the abuses that had deformed Italian opera
            1. Music would once again serve the poetry
            2. Overture would be made integral part of opera
            3. Contrast between aria and recit. reduced
        4. Gluck restored important dramatic function to the chorus
          1. Jommelli began using final choruses in his Vienneseoperas of the early 1750s
        5. Iphigenie en Aulide
          1. Gluck's masterpiece
          2. Produced at Paris in 1774
          3. The opera scene in Paris
            1. War of the Buffonists (1752)
            2. Gluck sought to prove that excellent music couldbe written in French
            3. Gluck revises Orfeo and Alceste (providing bothwith French texts)
          4. Based on the Racine tragedy
      4. Composers influenced by Gluck
        1. Niccolo Piccinni (1728-1800)
          1. Gluck's rival in Paris
        2. Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
        3. Gasparo Spontini (1774-1851)
        4. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869
  4. Comic Opera
    1. Definition
      1. works that are lighter in style than "serious" opera
      2. They present familiar scenes and characters rather than heroic ormythological material
      3. Represents an artistic revolt against opera seria
    2. Characteristics
      1. librettos are always in the national tongue
      2. Music tends to accentuate the national musical idiom
    3. Significance
      1. Comic opera grew steadily in importance after 1760
      2. Towards the end of the century, features of comic opera are absorbed intomainstream composition
      3. Historical importance
        1. Responded to the universal demand for naturalness in the latterhalf of the 18th c.
        2. Principal early channel of the movement toward musicalnationalism which became prominent in the Romantic period
    4. Italy
      1. Intermezzo
        1. Originally short comic musical interludes between the acts of aserious opera
        2. Pergolesi
          1. Important early composer of intermezzo
          2. La serva padrona
            1. Text by Federico
            2. written to be performed with Pergolesi'sIl prigioner superbo in 1733
            3. The performance set off the "War of the Buffonists"
            4. written for bass and soprano (3rd char. is mute)
      2. Other composers
        1. Nicola Logroscino (1698-1765)
        2. Baldassare Galuppi
      3. Ensemble finale
        1. Logroscino and Galuppi develop this feature
        2. For the ending all characters are gradually brought onto the stagewhile the actions continues with growing animation until itreaches a climax in which every singer takes part
      4. Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793)
        1. Dramatist
        2. Mid-century refinement of the comic opera libretto
          1. Plots of a serious, sentimental or pathetic characterbegan to appear (alongside traditional comic ones)
          2. Dramma giocoso (replaced older opera buffa designation)
            1. A nontragic drama
            2. Example: Piccinni's La buona figliuola (1760)
    5. France
      1. Opera comique
        1. French version of light opera
        2. Began around 1710 as a lowly form of popular entertainment
        3. Until the middle of the century it relied on popular tunes for itsmusic
        4. Uses spoken dialogue rather than recitative
        5. Principal composers
          1. Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795)
          2. Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny (1729-1817)
          3. Andre Ernest Modeste Gretry (1741-1813)
            1. Richard Coeur de Lion
              1. Forerunner to the turn of the century"rescue" opera
      2. Le Devin du village
        1. 1752 opera by Rousseau
        2. Rousseau, only a decade earliers, had opposed French music
    6. England
      1. Ballad opera
        1. The Beggar's Opera
          1. Brought the genre to prominence
          2. 1728 satire of Italian opera
        2. Popularity in the 1730s seen as repudiation of Italian opera
      2. Thomas Augustine Arne
        1. Only notable English composer of English opera in the 17th c.
    7. Germany
      1. Singspiel
        1. Genre arising from the mid-18th c.
        2. Early Singspiels were adaptations of English ballad operas
        3. librettists soon made arrangements of French comic operas
      2. Principal composers of the 18th c. singspiel
        1. Johann Adam Hiller (1728-1804)
          1. Based in Leipzig
        2. Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf
          1. Viennese composer
          2. Viennese style was lighter, farcical subjects and popularidioms were used
  5. The Lied
    1. Die singende Muse an der Pleisse (The Muse of Song on the Pleiss)
      1. First important collection of lieder publ. in Leipzig in 1736
      2. Songs in this collection were parodies (i.e. new texts writtento extant music)
    2. Principal song center of the period was Berlin
      1. Berlin composers
        1. J.J. Quantz (1697-1773)
        2. K.H. Graun
        3. CPE Bach
      2. Berlin lied style
        1. Composers favored strophic form
        2. Melodies were in natural, expressive folk-style
        3. Setting was usually syllabic
        4. Simple accompaniment
        5. little ornamentation
      3. leading Berlin lied composers
        1. Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1747-1800)
        2. Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814)
          1. wrote 700 lieder
          2. Many settings of Goethe
      4. Publishing boom
        1. Over 750 collections published from 1750-1800

I wish you found this page useful. Please feel free to browse the rest of this site.

Thank you!