Classical to Postmodern music development

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Classicalto Postmodern music development

Thelast phases of the Baroque period were marked by the emergence of anew form of masterpiece in the music industry. This hit the climax inthe mid of the 18 Century with the aid of mature composers, like J.SBach and G.F Handel, who came up with a new musical style referred toas Rococo or literally the pre-classical style. Though this style ispopular on keyboard and orchestra music, it is essential to look atit since it linked the Baroque music era to the Classical era. Thetransition period lasted between 1725 and 1770 (History World). TheRococo style in music is not different from the familiar Rococo stylein painting. In the painting context, the style employs the use ofpale colors, a lot of decorative particulars, and a mood that is bothsmooth and warm (History World). Correspondingly, in music, thehomophonic features, graceful texture, pleasant-sounding, andelaborate ornamentation are the major aspects. The style wasreferred as stylegalant meaningan elegant style in France while among the Germans it was referred toas empfind Samer stildue to the sensitivity of the style. The style was widespread inGermany and France. In fact, the two known composers, Bach and histwo sons, within this field were from Germany while the other knowncomposer Francois Couperin was from France. However, towards the endof the 18thcentury, several objections were raised in relation to the absence ofdepth and the self-centered use of decorations and ornaments. Theseobjections were the root cause behind the development of theclassical style. Therefore, my paper will focus on the music historyfrom the classical era to the contemporary music styles.


Thisperiod was experienced from 1775 to 1825. The period is labeled asclassical because it was characterized by art and literature that wasmuch interested, admired and emulated the classical art andliterature legacy of the Greeks and the Romans (Kamien 80). From theintellectual perspective, the period has been referred to as theEnlightenment Age. This age emphasized on the facet of humanreasoning in to deal with the challenges of the world. The agecreated conflicts between the old ideologies and the new idea asphilosophers became skeptical as well as questioned the old ideas.The musical scene also became a reflection of the society it wascomposed in. Music broke away from the church and court settings tomake it enjoyable and entertaining. This was brought out by theseveral public concerts that were held during this era. Unlike theprevious eras where composers were many, this period saw FranzJoseph, Wolfgang Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven domination of thefield as the main composers.

Duringthis period the music was clear and explicit in terms of the rhythm,crescendos, and the qualities of expression in comparison to theprevious eras (Kamien 81). The style was also formal, maintained theconservative perspective, was objective and more homophonic, andlight in texture when related to the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Vespers, Requiem, Oratorio, Missa Solemnis, Missa Brevis are some ofthe genres that were celebrated during this period.

Itis clear that the emphasis on human reasoning had a significantimpact on this era. Through reasoning, composers broke away from thechurch settings and came up with music that was entertaining. Thevoice of reason made composers question some of the rigid settings inthe music industry.


Thisperiod was also a phase of radical evolution of the music industry.Experienced between the years 1820 to 1910, the music used theclassical styles as the springboard to the new waves (Swain 96). Thecomposers within this era made compositions from their hearts andtried to balance the emotional passion and the classical styles. Itis evident that though the classical style was explicit it was notthat obsessive making it unbalanced. Beethoven, the composer whoignited the Romanticism flame is regarded as the link between the twoperiods. Though he was not at all times fruitful, he made notableattempts to maintain the equilibrium of the compositions. Unlike inthe other eras where the composers were employees, this period wasfeatured by musicians who were independent. This implied that theyenjoyed maximum autonomy and they could choose the direction theywanted to go. They composed on topics of their pleasure. The factthat the composers were unemployed also sparked the commercializationof the music sector within this period. Music was composed forcommercial value and composers could accept commissions, signcontracts with producers, and marketed their music through makingconcert tours in several parts of Europe and the world. The composersacquired the celebrity status and their shows were characterized bylarge choirs. Politically, a wave of nationalism was blowingthroughout Europe. Composers wanted to identify with their culturesand make them superior.

Itwas during this period that the symphonic poetic genre saw thelimelight (Swain 96). During the performance of this genre, thecomposer created a scene from which he told a story out of it.Chromatics was also another typical feature in the Romantic music.The musical sound depicted some color. There was the use of new toolsto bring out a sound color that could express the interesting scenes.Appropriating of the folk music was also another feature. Severalelements of folk songs were included in the compositions for culturalidentification.

Thepolitical wave during this era had a significant impact on thecompositions. The composers incorporated the cultural backgroundaspects in their music. The aspect of independence of the composersalso made musicians sing on what pleased them.

The20thCentury music

Thebreaking up of the music industry into different schools in theRomantic era gave rise to the modern era from 1910 to date (HistoryWorld). During this phase, several composers borrowed and developedthe ancient traditions in the music industry and others came up withnew ways in the music industry. Technology assumed the driving rolein this era. It provided an audience platform with the arrival ofvideo recorders, televisions, and the radio. There was an insatiableneed for music by these media forums and they needed creative musicand knowledgeable composers in the classical background. Managementof sounds, the graphical works and livening up items in the musicsector has been made possible by the use of computers. Music stylehas diversified to the extent that composers come up with certainthematic pieces that do not sound like melodies. Some have adoptedthe traditional styles but use them in unusual ways and corrupted themusic principles.

Technologyhas played a vital role in shaping the modern music. The mediaplatforms and the advent of computers have made it easier forcomposers to manipulate the music aspects.

Toconclude, it is evident that the various aspects changes in politics,field of knowledge, and technology have historically evolved music towhat is being experienced today.


History World. History of Music. History World, 2016. Web. 8 July 2016.

Kamien,Roger. Music:An Appreciation Brief Edition with 5-CD Set,7thed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2010. Print.

Swain,Joseph. HistoricalDictionary of Baroque Music.Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2013. Print.

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