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All the music we are covering in this little

booklet is called “classical.” That term is used to

distinguish it from “popular.” That doesn’t mean

that classical music isn’t popular (it is!). It

means that when you go to your music

store to get the latest CD or top of the

ten best whatever, you won’t find

Beethoven in the same bin with the

Beatles, although both are classic and

both are popular! Yes, it’s confusing.

Classical Style, with a capital C, refers to the music that was written

directly after the Baroque period. People grew tired of all the

ornaments and complicated melodies and rhythms of the Baroque

period. During the Classical period, composers were trying out a new,

cleaner sound. There were songlike melodies and beautiful harmonies

to match. Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

(1756-1791), and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) are the most



famous composers of the Classical period. Their

sonatas, symphonies, quartets and operas are

the best examples of what that age thought

about what music should be. Symphonies,

sonatas and string quartets were based on

simple short themes, very different from the

complicated melodies of the Baroque. It

had to be logical, sensible, and easily

understandable. This was the Age of Reason,

after all!

Haydn is called the “father of the symphony” because his hundreds

of pieces in this form became the model for all other composers

writing after him. Mozart learned a great deal from Haydn. In his short

life, Mozart wrote symphonies, concertos,

sonatas, string quartets, and operas that are

played and loved by musicians all over the

world. Another pupil of Haydn’s was Beethoven.

He too learned how to write a symphony and

string quartets from “Papa Haydn ” but as he

developed his own special ideas about what

music should sound like, he set the stage for the

Romantic period where music’s most important

role was to express feeling and emotions.

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