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Classical And Romantic Music

            Prior to the twentieth century when jazz, blues, country, and rock and roll music entered the scene, almost all music was what we called "classical music." From the 1700's to the 1900's classical music composed for orchestras or instruments such as flutes, trumpets, violins and pianos were played everywhere from concert halls to restaurants.
             Today the term "classical music" has come to define the style of Western music that began in Europe in the Middle Ages. It includes symphonies, chamber music and opera. Classical music is composed of several elements that help define its character. Since music takes place in time, rhythm is the foundation upon which every song is built. Composers determined the feel of music by alternating the pulse between fast, slow, and medium. Italian terms used in musical notation denote more than a dozen different tempos, which included allegro, moderato, and lento.
             Within the changing meter of rhythm, song notes of various pitches were intertwined. Tone color (timbre) distinguished the sound and characteristics that separated one instrument or voice from another.
             The classical era between 1750 and 1820 was defined by the great composers who were famous during that period, and the names Mozart and Beethoven stand above all others in the pantheon of Western music. Other composers, however, such as Franz Joseph Haydn and Franz Peter Schubert also contributed to the classical era. Musicians of the classical era were influenced by those of the baroque era. .
             The classical period in music tends to be associated with the movement called the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment, which began earlier in the eighteenth century. Following the scientific and intellectual advances of the previous century, thinkers such as Voltaire, Diderot, Locke, Jefferson, and Franklin laid groundwork for a new human agenda, a willed progress toward humanitarian and democratic societies, based on the belief through reason and science, humanity is capable of understanding the world and controlling its own destiny, without relying on authoritarian decree or on whatever gods they may be.

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