Composer & Musician

The Romantic Era

The Romantic Era reigned from between the years 1820-1910. This era included many great composers such as Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner.

Unlike Classical music, Romantic music focused on expressing emotions and imagination, a step that greatly contrasted with that of music before. Entering an era of innovation, the 1900s was made up of people who enjoyed trying new things. Just as the world was facing a technological evolution so too was the musical world. Inventing new styles of music, composers were able to introduce a whole new way of music to the crowds that was both fuller and richer. Composers stepped out of the box and created songs based on how they felt, not on what the public both expected and wanted.

Some main characteristics found in Romantic Era music include:

  • more freedom in terms of form
  • more emotional expression
  • lyrical melodies, rich harmonies
  • many discords
  • dramatic contrast: different ranges of pitch, dynamics, etc
  • larger orchestras, more brass instruments
  • music influenced by the composer's nationality (nationalism)

Composers began to discover the use of dissonance chromatics; as they learned more about them they were used much more often in pieces. As well, composers began to take great pride in their culture thereby creating songs based on their backgrounds.

As well, composers began basing music on stories, creating songs that told tales to their audiences. As this grew, opera became quite a popular form of music.

Virtuosos also became popular performers; these gifted musicians played with such passion and power that many paid great sums of money to hear these people perform.

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