Series 11 – Each Era Examined

Each era in music has certain characteristics which make it unique. These are often due to the social and political nature of the period, advancement in technologies and trends. By understanding these idiosyncrasies, it is easier to connect with the music and have a better appreciation of it.

1. The Renaissance (1400-1600)

The Renaissance was, for musicians, an era of discovery. Innovation and exploration where composers had greater freedom to be influenced by the arts, classical mythology and scientific advancements of the time, especially the printing press influenced their music. A new music style developed called polyphony which unified this whole 200-year period.

2. The Baroque (1600- 1750)

The word ‘baroque’ comes from the Portuguese word ‘Barroco’ meaning ‘oddly shaped pearl’. This derogative title was given to this period because of its ornamental and decorative nature. Characteristics include the development of the major and minor harmonic system; the basso continue and especially the dominance of the harpsichord.

3. The Classical Period (1730 – 1820)

Unlike the ornate music of the Baroque, the Classical period is all about perceived simplicity of form, melody and style. Musical stalwarts like the concerto, sonata, string quartet and even the orchestra were established with the 3 greats – Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven dominating musical convention.

4. The Romantic Period – (1820 – 1914)

In this period composers moved away from the formal constraints of the Classical period. Instrumental music, especially the piano, had a pre-eminent position in the compositional world with composers expressing the full gamut of their emotions in their music. Pieces became longer and harmony became more chromatic and less defined.

5. The 20th Century..Part 1 (1900 – 1939)

The 20th century is the period when music was shattered into a thousand pieces and where there seems to be no unifying features. Music changed markedly from one decade to the next with the world rocked by world wars, depression and diverse political doctrines. Part 1 looks at the importance of tonality and how composers dealt with its demise or continuance. 

6. The 20th Century..Part 2 (1939 – 2000)

Music changed remarkably after World War II with the advancement of tape, then electronic, then computer technology. Many composers broke away from writing music for a large, potentially uneducated audience and instead, wrote for small groups of like-minded musicians. These all had dramatic effects on music in the late 20th century.

  • Classes must be taken as a series of 6.
  • Each class runs for 1 and a half hours starting with coffee and cake. Please see website or call Andy for course times and dates.
  • All classes are held once a month and last for 1 and a half hours.
  • Minimum of 5 per class.
  • Locations are the Eastern suburbs or North Shore. They are easily accessable by public transport.
  • Address will be supplied upon enrollment.
  • Classes may be conducted elsewhere and can be customised to fit your specific group.