In Classical music, there is a flexibility of rhythm.

Mrs. MaFritts
Characteristics of the
Classical Era
• Contrast of Mood
• Melody
• Rhythm
• Dynamics
• And the Piano
• Texture
• The End of Basso
Contrast of Mood
A Classical composition will
fluctuate in mood.
Mood in classical music may change gradually
or suddenly, expressing conflicting surges of
elation and depression.
Not only there are contrasting themes within a
movement, but there also may be striking contrasts
even within a single theme.There is a third level
Masters like Haydn and Beethoven were able to
impart unity and logic to music of wide emotional
In Classical music, there is a
flexibility of rhythm.
The classical style also includes
unexpected pauses, syncopations,
and frequent changes from long
notes to shorter ones.
The change from one pattern
of note lengths to another
may be either sudden or
Classical music is basically
• Process
However, texture is treated as
flexibly as rhythm.
A work may begin
homophonically with a melody
and simple accompaniment but
then change to a more
complex polyphonic texture
that features two simultaneous
melodies or melodic fragments
imitated among the various
Classical melodies are among
the most tuneful and easy to
Occasionally, composer simply
borrowed popular tunes, but more
often, they wrote original themes
with a popular character.
Classical melodies often sound
balanced and symmetrical
because they are frequently
made up of two phrases of the
same length.
Dynamics & the Piano
PowerPoint 2007 Enhanced Version
- crescendo (gradually getting
- diminuendo ( gradually getting
Not restricted to the terraced
dynamics characteristic of
Baroque music.
The Classical composers'
interest in expressing shades
of emotion led to the
widespread use of gradual
dynamic change. During the
period, the desire for gradual
dynamic change led to the
replacement of the harpsichord
by the piano. By varying the
finger pressure on the keys, a
pianist can play more loudly or
softly. Although the piano was
invented around 1700, it
began to replace the
harpsichord only around 1775.
End of Basso Continuo
The basso continuo was gradually abandoned during the classical period. One
reason why the basso continuo became obsolete was that more and more
music was written for amateurs, who could not master the difficult art of
improvising from a figured bass. Also, classical composers wanted more
control; they preferred to specify an accompaniment rather than trust the
judgement of improvisers.
Sonata Form
Major classical form standardized by Mozart and Beethoven
3 parts
Exposition, Development, Recapitulation
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