Similarities of Classical and Baroque Music

Music has evolved through the centuries and undergone drastic changes. One of the most significant transitions was from the Baroque to the Classical period of music. In this paragraph, I will compare and contrast some of the main features of these two styles, such as ensembles, instrumentation, and counterpoint study.

The Baroque and Classical periods of music have many similarities. While the style of music changed drastically, certain key elements remained the same between the two styles. Composers in the Classical period sought to simplify music and create clearly audible musical lines. In contrast, composers from the Baroque period were interested in creating complex and highly ornamented musical lines. The Baroque period occurs from approximately 1600 to 1750, and the Classical period extends from 1750 to 1820.


Ensembles are groups of musicians that perform together. Both the Baroque and the Classical period had similar types of ensembles, such as operas, orchestras, string quartets, and soloists. However, the size and composition of the orchestra changed in the Classical period. It became larger and more diverse, with more brass instruments added to the mix.

The basic ensembles developed in the Baroque period also existed in the Classical period. There were still operas, orchestras, string quartets, and soloists. However, the orchestra was expanded in the classical period. While brass was not a major part of the orchestra in the Baroque period, they were added toward the end and became a common instrument in the Classical period.


Instrumentation refers to the choice and use of musical instruments. Both periods relied heavily on singers, string instruments, and woodwind instruments. However, some instruments such as the piano and the horn became more prominent or popular in the Classical period. The piano replaced the harpsichord as the main keyboard instrument, and the horn became a common solo instrument.

Both time periods heavily used singers, string, and woodwind instruments. Brass instruments mainly occurred in solos in the Baroque period and later became part of the orchestra in the Classical period. The most commonly used instruments between both periods are the flute, oboe, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano. These instruments formed the basis for a composer’s study of instrumentation.

Counterpoint Study

Counterpoint first developed in the 16th century. The study of counterpoint was essential to composers of the Baroque and Classical periods. By studying counterpoint, composers learned how to combine multiple independent lines. This technique commonly occurred in Baroque music. It also appears at the end of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." While composers of the Classical period were intent on simplifying the music to add clarity to the melodies, it was still an important subject of study.

Counterpoint study is the art of combining multiple independent melodies. It was a crucial skill for composers in both periods, as it helped them create complex and expressive musical textures. However, while Baroque music was characterized by intricate and ornate counterpoint, Classical music aimed for simpler and clearer melodies. Counterpoint was still used in Classical music, but more sparingly and subtly.


The concept of binary form was first introduced in the Baroque period. As composers developed music throughout the period, this form developed into sonatas, concertos, and symphonies. All of these forms continued to be used in the Classical period. The sonata was especially relevant to Classical structure. During this time period, the sonata was developed to include an exposition, development, and recapitulation.


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