Romantic music

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Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in European music history, from about 1800 to 1910.

Romantic music as a movement evolved from the formats, genres and musical ideas established in earlier periods, such as the classical period, and went further in the name of expression and syncretism of different art-forms with music. Romanticism does not necessarily refer to romantic love, though that theme was prevalent in many works composed during this time period, both in literature, painting or music. Romanticism followed a path that led to the expansion of formal structures for a composition set down or at least created in their general outlines in earlier periods, and the end-result is that the pieces are 'understood' to be more passionate and expressive, both by 19th century and today's audiences. Because of the expansion of form (those elements pertaining to form, key, instrumentation and the like) within a typical composition, and the growing idiosyncrasies and expressivity of the new composers from the new century, it thus became easier to identify an artist based on his work or style.

Romantic music attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings, while preserving but in many cases extending the formal structures from the classical period, in others, creating new forms that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. The subject matter in the new music was now not only purely abstract, but also frequently drawn from other art-form sources such as literature, or history (historical figures) or nature itself.

Contents

Trends of the 19th century

Musical language

Composers of the Romantic period sought to fuse the large structural harmonic planning demonstrated by earlier masters such as Haydn and Mozart with further chromatic innovations, in order to achieve greater fluidity and contrast, and to meet the needs of longer works or serve the expression that struggled to emerge. Chromaticism grew more varied, as did dissonances and their resolution. Composers modulated to increasingly remote keys, and their music often prepared the listener less for these modulations than the music of the classical era. The properties of the diminished 7th and related chords, which facilitate modulation to many keys, were also extensively exploited. Composers such as Beethoven, and later Richard Wagner, expanded the harmonic language with previously-unused chords, or innovative chord progressions.

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