Introduction to Classical Music Appreciation

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Introduction to Classical Music
by Adler Ma

Classical music has rapidly declined in popularity as many styles of modern music take over the lead. However, classical music still has to be appreciated as the most sophisticated and interesting type of music written. Do not forget that classical music is immortal compared to modern popular music. It has survived from the Baroque period (17th century) through the Classical (18th century) and Romantic (19th century) periods all the way up to modern times. Even through the periods of modern music popularity, classical music continues to be appreciated and played by famous musicians namely Yo Yo Ma, Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubenstein, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Midori.

Modern musical pieces are popular for a few years, then completely forgotten. Moreover, in modern music, usually the performer is more recognised than the actual composer of the music because of the fact that it is much simpler to write and that many people can compose a simple pop music piece. The classical periods can be viewed as an elaborate parade from the simplicity of Renaissance music to the highly ornamented, complex, and intricate style of late romantic composers such as Brahms and Wagner- the two last standard bearers of the romantic period. Classical music had been developed over a period of a couple hundred years, each composer's style being more ornamented and complex than the former in contrast to the atonal and simple music of modern pop. It has survived though revolutionaries such as Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms. It fully developed under the two last romantic composers- Brahms and Wagner, which are fore mentioned, Brahms looking back to the past and Wagner into the future.

The Baroque period is characterised by simple ornamentation and complexity of counterpoint- two voices communicating and intercepting each other. It is emotionless, as the harpsichord of those days produced short notes and similar volume of sound. The Classical period is characterised on a strong harmonic foundation and simplicity of texture. Beethoven marked the turning point of classical style to romanticism, thus his music is a mixture. In the romantic period, music was very elaborate and complex, having a weaker harmonic foundation, the comeback of counterpoint, exaggerated dynamics, and generally having the sense of a "something the music tries to reach but fails to do so".

Composers have worked so hard to achieve utopia of music that was partly reached by Brahms and Wagner. Then came atonal modern music, which spoiled the river of music as a whole, splitting it up into branches and irregular form. We should revive the style of classical music and appreciate the great music several composers have spent their life working on. Thus, it isn't reasonable and rational that classical music should be less appreciated than modern rap and pop. If you believe that classical music is boring, then listen to some of the great romantic composers' music and your conception will be entirely altered.

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