Intro to Music: Romanticism

Individuality of Style
Characteristic that describes how many romantics created music that sounds unique and reflects their personalities. Romantic music puts unprecedented emphasis on self-expression and this. Through this, one can identify the composer after only a few seconds of listening.

Expressive Aims and Subjects
Describes how the romantics explored a universe of feeling that included flamboyancy, intimacy, unpredictability, melancholy, rapture, and longing. This caused countless songs and operas to glorify romantic love. There was a fascination with the diabolical and fantastic. Aspects of nature were attractive to composers. Composers wrote on subjects drawn from Middle Ages and Shakespeare.

Nationalism
inclusion of folk songs, dances, legends, and other national material in a composition to associate it with the composer’s homeland. Contrasted with the more universal character of classical music

Exoticism
Use of melodies, rhythms, or instruments that suggest foreign lands. Was used because of the omantics’ attraction to things remote, picturesque, and mysterious.

Program Music
Instrumental music associated with a story, poem, idea, or scene. It can represent the emotions, characters, and events of a particular story; evoke the sounds and motion of nature. Became particularly prominent in the romantic period when music was closely associated with literature. Poets wanted their poetry to be musical and musicians wanted their music to be poetic.

Expressive Tone Color
Characteristic that describes the use of tone color to obtain a variety of mood and atmosphere. Because of this, percussion, woodwinds, and brass took more active roles and the piano range was extended.

Romantic Orchestra
Had close to 100 musicians by the end of the romantic period as opposed to the 20-60 players in the classical period.

Chromatic harmony
Use of chords containing tones not found in the prevailing major or minor scale but included in the chromatic scale (which has 12 tones). Chromatic chords added color and motion to romantic music.

Expanded Range of Dynamics, Pitch, and Tempo
Describes the demand for more dynamic extremes (pppp-ffff). The range of pitch was expanded, as well as adding more fluctuation to tempo.

Rubato
Slight holding back or pressing forward of tempo to intensify the expression of the music.

Forms: Miniature and Monumental
Pieces were from piano pieces and songs lasting a few minutes to works lasting several hours. The smaller pieces were for intimate settings and the larger pieces were for large opera houses and concert halls. Compositions tended to become ever more extended, more richly orchestrated, and more complex in harmony.

Thematic Transformation
Alteration of the character of a theme by means of changes in dynamics, orchestration, or rhythm, when it returns in a later movement or section.

Art Song
setting of a poem for solo voice and piano, translating the poem’s mood and imagery into music. The poetry and music are intimately fused in this. Romantic song was a reaching out of the soul.

Strophic form
vocal form in which the same music is repeated for each stanza of a poem. It makes a song easy to remember

Through-composed form
vocal form in which there is new music for each stanza of a poem; allows music to reflect a poem’s changing moods

Song Cycle
group of art songs unified by a story line that runs through their poems, or by musical ideas linked to songs

Franz Schubert
the earliest master of the romantic art song.
He composed “The Erlking”, which is a song based on a poem by Goethe. The poem is about a father riding on a horseback through a storm with his sick child in his arms. The boy sees visions of the Erlking who is the king of the elves who symbolizes death. The boy dies in the end. One singer is four different people.

Frederic Chopin
was the only great composer to write almost exclusively for the piano. He preferred salons to concert halls and composed for that setting. Lived in luxury and taught piano to daughters of wealthy families. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 39.
His pieces were always graceful, elegant, and melodic. They did not have literary titles or programs.
He composed the beautiful “Nocturne in E flat Major”. He also composed “Etude in C Minor”.

Nocturne
In French, it means night piece; a composition, usually slow, lyrical, and intimate in character, often for a piano solo

Etude
In French, it means study; a piece designed to help a performer master specific technical difficulties

Franz Liszt
A piano virtuoso who performed superhuman feats at the piano. He was handsome, magnetic, irresistible to women, and a pacesetter in musical history. He wanted to be the Paganini of the piano. Paganini was a great violinist. He practiced 8-12 hours a day. He could perform entire orchestral pieces on the piano. He composed, conducted, taught, wrote music criticism, and even became a churchman.
His music created the impression that three hands were playing. His piano works contained daring leaps, rapid octaves and runs, and an unprecedented range of dynamics. He created the symphonic poem or tone poem. He composed “Totentanz,” or the Dance of Death

Symphonic/tone poem
programmatic composition for orchestra in one movement, which may have a traditional form (such as a sonata or rondo) or an original, irregular form

Absolute music
instrumental music having no intended association with a story, poem, idea, or scene; non-program music

Program symphony
symphony (a composition for orchestra in several movements) related to a story, idea, or scene, in which each movement usually has a descriptive title

Concert overture
independent composition for orchestra in one movement, usually in sonata form

Hector Berlioz
was one of the first French romantic composers and a daring creator of new orchestral sounds.
He composed “Symphonie fantastique” which shocked Parisians with its sensationally autobiographical program, its amazingly novel orchestration, and its vivid depiction of the weird and diabolical.
His music was unconventional for the time and he had to put on his own concerts and find ways to pay the hundreds of performers that his monumental pieces required. He became a music critic and he also became one of the first great conductors that influenced a whole generation of musicians. He died at 65.
His music sounds unique. It has abrupt contrasts, fluctuating dynamics, and many changes in tempo. He was an extraordinarily imaginative and innovative orchestrator. He required larger orchestras above the average 65 members to achieve new power, tone colors, and timbers.

Johannes Brahms
He was a romantic who breathed new life into classical forms. He created masterpieces in all the traditional forms: symphonies, concertos, piano pieces, songs, choral music, and chamber music. He reinterpreted classical forms using the harmonic and instrumental resources of his own time. He favored mellow instruments and always had a melody that you could sing even through rich polyphonic textures.
He wrote “Symphony No 3 in F Major”. The third movements main melody is quoted in a Santana/ Dave Matthews song.

Giuseppe Verdi
was an Italian opera composer. He created many well-known operas, which included Nabucco, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Aida, Othello, and Falstaff. Critics had often scandalized about subject matter that public loved because they seemed to condone rape, suicide, and free love. The soul of his opera is his expressive melody

Giacomo Puccini
was an Italian opera composer. He created many famous operas such as Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot.

Tosca
an opera reflects the artist trend of verismo (realism)

Madame Butterfly and Turandot
two operas that are examples of exoticism

Characteristics of Verdi’s operas
greater musical continuity, less difference between aria and recitative, more imaginative orchestration, and richer accompaniments.

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