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ROMANTIC 1800-1900

The Classical style required composers to follow rules. If the first

theme in your piece is fast and happy, then the second one should be

slow and sad. If you’re writing a sonata, you can make variations on




both those themes, but you’d better be sure to

end that first movement by repeating

those two themes just as they were in

the beginning.

Beethoven followed those rules in his

early compositions, but as he grew older he

broke those rules more than he followed

them. Even today, music lovers are still trying to

come to some agreement about what Beethoven was trying to do in

his last quartets and sonatas. His bold adventures into reshaping the

sounds of music established the Romantic

period in music history. It was a time

where composers could express their

emotions and ideas about non-musical

things without worrying about breaking

rules. The piano became the most

popular instrument and composers

turned out hundreds of pieces called

Nocturnes, Fantasies, Romances,

Reveries. Love of

country, love of

nature, love of man, all came to be expressed in

songs and symphonies. The composer and his

music came to stand for freedom. This music

was for everyone, not just the rich!

This period produced composers whose

names and compositions represent the

Romantic movement: Franz Schubert (1797-

1828), Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847),

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