Monday, September 26, 2016

Famous Classical Music Components



Beethoven was one of the most influential Classical composers. Classical music is comprised of several components that influence the overall form, structure, and characteristics of the music. Music has been evolving since the early Middle Ages. Classical music may use two different spellings, with each indicating a different type of music. Classical music with a capital “C” refers to a specific time period of music created between 1750 to 1820. Classical music with a lower case “c” refers to all western art music. Because of this confusion, the terms “western art music” or “serious music” are often used to describe classical music from more than one time period.

Harmony

Harmony is the vertical component of music. It is responsible for the chords created in harmony. The major difference between classical and popular music is the use of harmony. Classical music will use complex chord progressions to create complex musical sonorities while popular music concentrates on common chord progressions. A typical classical piece might have seven or eight different types of chords per phrase. In contrast, a popular piece might only have two or three types of chords. Most musicians will study harmony to analyze and gain a greater understanding of the music.

Melody

Melody is the horizontal component of music that we typically refer to as a tune. The melody is the most recognizable part of any composition. In classical music, melodies are complex and borrow pitches from keys that are closely related. In this sense, a composition written in D major will borrow notes from other keys. Borrowing helps to add variety and an element of surprise to the composition. Melody can be broken down into smaller components called motives. Motives are small musical ideas that help to build melodies. A common motive is the simple 4-note opening statement from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Timbre

Timbre is an essential component for composers and orchestrators. It described the tone color of each individual instrument. Each instrument has its own characteristic sound and produces a timbre that adds color and variety to a composition. Composers will make use of several different-sounding instruments to create new combinations of sounds. Timbre occurs most notably in orchestral scores that combine brass, woodwind, string, percussion, and keyboard instruments to create the overall symphonic texture.

Form

Form is a critical component of classical music. Without form, music would lose its direction and become an amorphous and undefined mass of sound. Form helps to create compositions in which melodies repeat themselves in logical ways. Even compositions that are through-composed, in which no section repeats, will include repetitive motifs to help add structure to the composition. Letters indicate specific repeated sections. For instance, a composition labeled ABA will have two repeated sections at the beginning and end of the piece and a new, related section in the middle.


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