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The Classical Period

            The Classical Period began in 1750, the year of J. Bach's death and carried through to the 1820's. During this period people started undermining the social and religious traditions by putting more of their faith in the power of reason. Philosophers and writers of the time believed in ongoing progress, not tradition and that progress could be achieved through the power of reason. This led them to call this period The Age of Enlightenment'. These radical new ways of looking at the world ended up paving the way for the American and French revolutions towards the end of the eighteenth century. The architecture and visual images of the classical period differed greatly from the Baroque period and offered a more lightly coloured, graceful look with smoothly curving lines in the paintings and buildings. This new style was much more intimate and was given the name rococo. The great painters of the time of the time, namely Jean Honoré Fragonard and Antoine Watteau, created paintings depicting beautiful men and women in a magical world endlessly seeking out the greatest pleasures in life. Other artistic responses to the Classical consisted of satirizations of the old traditional morals and manners of the upper class British and paintings that opposed the oppression and inhumanity of the old ways. The Classical period was a major turning pointing history and marked the beginning of many social and cultural revolutions.
             Unlike Renaissance music that took almost 150 years to change into Baroque music, Baroque music underwent a transition that quickly converted it to Classical music in a relatively short period of time. This transition was called the preclassical period and occurred from 1730 through to 1770. Some of the earliest classical composers were J.S. Bach's own sons, Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christian. These new composers rejected many of the Baroque methods of composition and focused more on simplicity and clarity, rather than fancy ornamentations.

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