Musicology: Romanticism

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!

Classicism and Romanticism

  1. Traits of Romanticism
    1. Aesthetics
      1. Freedom
      2. Passion
      3. Emotion
      4. Yearning
    2. As a reaction against Classicism
    3. Unity of the Arts
      1. Ex: the merging of poetry and music
  2. Romantic Dualities
    1. Music and Ideas
      1. Lied vs. Symphony
        1. Symphonic masters were Classicists (Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven)
        2. Lied masters were Romantics (Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf)
      2. Lyrical and literary spirit of the lied as a guiding force in 19th c. inst. music
        1. "Literary" composers
          1. Novelist E.T.A. Hoffmann
          2. Weber
          3. Schumann
          4. Berlioz
          5. Wagneer
      3. Program music vs. Absolute music
        1. Program music dealt with poetic, descriptive and narrative subject matter
          1. Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony
          2. Programmatic composers
            1. Mendelssohn
            2. Schumann
            3. Berlioz
            4. Liszt
            5. Late representatives
              1. R. Strauss
              2. Debussy
        2. Instrumental music becomes an important vehicle for imparting thoughts and ideas
          1. This phenomenon is manifest in the growing importance of piano accompaniment in the lieder of Schubert and Schumann
      4. The Crowd and the Individual
        1. Transition from small, homogeneous, cultured audience to a large, diverse, middle-class public occured during the 18th c.
        2. Composers of the 19th c. now had to write fora large public audience
        3. Romantic myth of the "heroic"or "misunderstood and struggling" composer at odds with his audience
      5. Professional and Amateur Music Making
        1. Increasing distinction between Professionals and Amateurs
          1. Standards of excellence increase
          2. Composers demands (ex: Beethoven's late string quartets) on musicians increase as well
        2. 19th century as the age of the virtuoso performer (ex: Paganini)
        3. Simultaneous importance of saloons and family music making
          1. Evidenced by quantities of chamber music publ. during 19th c.
      6. Man and Nature
        1. Urbanization of Europe separates man from nature
        2. Romanticism attempts to idealize the role of nature in everyday life
        3. Importance of landscape painting (in music this is manifest in pastoral works)
          1. Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony
          2. Haydn's Seasons
          3. Schumann's Spring and Rhenish Symphonies
          4. Symphonic poems of Berlioz and Liszt
          5. Operas of Weber and Wagner
      7. Science and the Irrational
        1. 19th c. as an important era of discovery
        2. Simultaneous fascination with supernational phenomena
          1. Berlioz's Symphony fantastique
          2. Wagner's use of myth
          3. Weber and the grotesque in Der Freischutz
        3. Effort to find a musical language capable of expressing new and strange ideas led to an expanded harmonic and melodic language and orchestral color
      8. Materialism and Idealism
        1. 19th c. as a secular and materialistic age
        2. Essential Romantic spirit was in conflict with the church on account of its liberal idealism
        3. Composers wrote "sacred" or "religious" works that were often quite secular in content and less reliant on the liturgical canon
          1. Brahms' German Requiem
            1. Makes no mention of God
            2. Brahms' selects his texts from the bible
          2. Wagner's Parsifal
      9. Nationalism and Internationalism
        1. Accentuation of national styles in music
        2. Importance of native folk melodies as expression of the national soul
        3. Nationalism as a reaction to political supression
        4. Use of exotique effects in works for picturesque color
      10. Tradition and Revolution
        1. Revolutionary ideals
          1. Emphasis on originality in art
          2. Revolt against limitations and "rules" of Classicism
          3. Notion of the 19th c. as a period of progress and evolution
          4. Romantic compsers writing for the future and posterity
            1. Wagner's Art and Revolution (1849) The Art-Work of the Future (1850)
        2. Importance of music history
          1. Romantics embrace Mozart and Beethoven as important antecedents
          2. Persistence of Classical forms
            1. Sonata
            2. Symphony
            3. String quartet
          3. "conservative composers"
            1. Mendelssohn
            2. Brahms
          4. Music scholarship
            1. Mendelssohn's revival of Bach's St.Matthew Passion
            2. 1850 Bach Geselleschaft edition
            3. 1862 edition of Palestrina
            4. Rise of musicology


  1. The Ballad
    1. Romantic traits appeared in the German Lied by the late 18th c.
    2. Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (1760-1802)
      1. Early composer of ballads
        1. A poetic genre
          1. Poems were typically long
          2. Alternation of narrative and dialogue in a tale replete with romantic adventures and supernatural incidents
        2. Imitation of English ballad
        3. Carl Loewe (1796-1869)
          1. One of the most prolific ballad composers of the 19th c.
      2. Musical style
        1. Ballad required more dramatic treatment than standard strophic form
        2. Textual content of the ballad: contrast and drama effect direction of the lied
  2. Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)
    1. Background
      1. Born in Vienna
      2. Compositional output
        1. 9 symphonies
        2. 22 piano sonatas
        3. A number of short piano pieces for 2 and 4 hands
        4. 35 chamber compositions
        5. 6 masses
        6. 17 operas
        7. 600 Lieder
    2. Schubert's Lieder
      1. Distinguished by Schubert's melodic mastery
        1. Folk melodies
          1. Heidenroslein
          2. Der Lindenbaum
          3. Wohin?
          4. Die Forelle
        2. Romantic lyricism
          1. Am Meer
          2. Der Wanderer
          3. Du bist die Ruh'
        3. Dramatic works
          1. Aufenthalt
          2. Der Atlas
          3. Die junge Nonne
          4. An Schwager Kronos
      2. Musical style
        1. Harmonic color
        2. Modulations and tonality underline drama of a song text
          1. Gruppe aus dem Tartarus
          2. Das Heimweh
        3. Chormatic coloring within a prevailing diatonic sound
          1. Am Meer
          2. Lob der Thranen
        4. Typical modulations
          1. Motion from tonic to a flat-key
          2. Motion towards the mediant or submediant
      3. Piano accompaniment
        1. Pictorial qualities
          1. Wohin?
          2. Auf dem Wasser zu singen
          3. Gretchen am Spinnrad
          4. Erlkoenig
      4. Formal elements
        1. Stophic form
        2. Modified strophic form
        3. Through-composed settings
      5. Textual sources
        1. 59 poems by Goethe
          1. 5 different settings for Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
            1. From Wilhelm Meister
        2. 2 cycles by Wilhelm Muller
          1. Die schone Mullerin
          2. Winterreise
        3. Schwanengesang
          1. Posthumous compilation
          2. Includes 6 poems by Heinrich Heine
  3. Schumann's Lieder
    1. Schumann's first publ. songs appear in 1840
    2. Previous works, Op.1-23 are all for solo piano
    3. Liederjahr of 1840
      1. Dichterliebe (Heine)
      2. Frauenliebe und Leben (Chamisso)
    4. Contemporaries
      1. Peter Cornelius (1824-1874)
      2. Robert Franz (1815-1892)
  4. Brahms' Lieder
    1. wrote 260 songs throughout his life
    2. Importance of folksongs
      1. Arranged many German folksongs
        1. 1858 collection of 14 songs dedicated to Schumann's children
        2. 1894 collection of 49 songs
    3. Formal elements
      1. Reliance on strophic forms
    4. Magelone Lieder
      1. Text by Ludwig Tieck
      2. Song-cycle
    5. Four Serious Songs (1896)
      1. Penultimate composition by Brahms
      2. Song cycle based on biblical texts

Choral Music

  1. Background
    1. Trends in 19th c. Choral Music
      1. Chorus often treated simply as a part of the symphony
        1. Beethoven certainly established this precedent
        2. Berlioz and Liszt exploit choral textures within larger works
      2. Composers who wrote straight choral music were typically conservative
        1. Brahms
        2. Mendelssohn
    2. Classes of 19th c. Choral Music
      1. Partsongs
        1. Songs in a homophonic style
        2. For small vocal ensemble
        3. Melody is in topmost voice
      2. Music on liturgical texts intended for use in church services
      3. works for chorus (often with 1 or 2 soloists) and orchestra
  2. Partsongs and Cantatas
    1. Genre flourished in the 19th c. as a result of interest in folksongs and nationalism
    2. Leier und Schwert (The Lyre and the Sword)
      1. Weber's 1814 settings for men's voices of stanzas by Korner
      2. These songs were among the first of thousands of similar patriotic effusions
    3. Composers
      1. Mendelssohn's Erste Walpurgisnatch (1832)
      2. Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust
      3. Brahms
        1. 1870 Alto Rhapsody (w/men's chorus)
        2. Schicksalslied (1871)
  3. Church Music
    1. The Cecilian Movement
      1. Mid-century musical reform movement in the Catholic Church
      2. Emphasized music of the past
        1. Renewed interest in a cappella style
        2. Revival of Gregorian chant
    2. Leading Catholic composers
      1. Luigi Cherubini (Paris)
      2. Franz Schubert (Vienna)
    3. Leading Protestant and Anglican composers
      1. Psalms by Mendelssohn
      2. Anthems by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)
      3. Masses by Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
        1. St. Cecelia Mass (1885)
  4. Other Music on Liturgical Texts
    1. Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
      1. Grande Messe des Morts (Requiem)
      2. Te Deum
        1. Large religious works not suitable for church services
        2. Conceived of as dramatic symphonies for voices and orchestra
        3. Tradition they belong to is more patriotic than religious
        4. Tuba miram chorus of the Requiem
          1. Utlizes a massive orchestra of 140 players
            1. 4 brass choirs
            2. 10 pairs of cymbals
            3. 16 kettledrums
    2. Italian Opera composers
      1. Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)
      2. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
  5. The Romantic Oratorio
    1. Flourished chiefly in the Protestant countries of England and Germany
    2. Mendelssohn
      1. St.Paul (1836)
      2. Elijah (1846)

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