If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you enjoy classical music. But did you know that there’s a difference between classical music and Classical music?
We all have an idea of what’s meant by “classical” (small c) music. There’s a lot of debate around the edges, but we generally mean music written in the European art music tradition and performed by an orchestra, chamber group, or solo instrument. But classical music is divided into several different periods, and when we refer to Classical (capital C) music, we’re talking about a specific style that was composed by European composers roughly between the years of 1750 and 1820.
This was the period of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The harpsichord gave way to the piano, and the clarinet joined the orchestra. Characteristics of Classical music include:
- melody over a chord-based accompaniment
- a focus on elegant form and structure (sonata form developed during this period)
- more emphasis on dynamics (playing louder and softer)