1820 - 1900
Listen to Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky.
Click on the names of these Romantic period composers to go to their page.
The Romantic period was a time of great revolutions. Passion, not reason, ruled the day. Imagination was more important than logic. This was the time of the American Civil War. The Industrial Revolution replaced people with machines. People fought back with their feelings and emotions.
The Romantic period had much more artistic freedom than the periods before it. Emotions ruled the arts. Musical storytelling was also popular. The tone poem was a new musical form which told a story. Many of the Romantic period's stories, art, and music were about exotic places and fantastic events.
Tone color also became more important. Tone color is a special sound that makes an instrument or voice sound different from another. New instruments created exciting new tone colors. Old instruments were played in new ways to produce different tone colors.
The Romantic period was the age of the virtuoso. This is a musician who "shows off" his talents by playing a very difficult section of the music. The most famous of these piano virtuosos was Franz Liszt. He was as popular as today's rock stars.
The piano was the most popular instrument during the Romantic period. Frederic Chopin is the best known composer of piano music during this period. Old instruments were improved and new instruments were invented. The tuba, saxophone, and celeste were three new instruments that were invented during this time.
Other famous Romantic composers include Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Wagner, and Berlioz.
To learn more about the Romantic period, click here, or the timeline, here.
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Things to Think About
1. Can you identify some modern-day virtuosos? What does it take to be a virtuoso?
2. Why do some people need to show off? Do you like to show off your talents? Why or why not?
3. How does your family celebrate where they are from?
4. A Romantic is someone who dreams big dreams, is very emotional, and has strong feeling about things. Do you know anyone you would consider a Romantic? Are you a Romantic?
5. How did the September 11th bombing of the World Trade Centers make Americans more Nationalistic? Give examples.
6. Can you explain the music of Africa, Japan, and Mexico? If you can, you understand Nationalistic music.
7. Can you name any popular literature or movies today that would fit the definitions of the Romantic period? Defend your position.
8. What is a Bohemian? What is a Don Juan and where did the myth come from? (You may have to do some research to find the answers.)
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