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What is chromaticism?


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2011-03-31 14:34:01
2011-03-31 14:34:01


In music, the use of all 12 tones, especially for heightened expressivity. A standard key or mode principally employs 7 tones, leaving 5 tones for discretionary use. Use of all 12 tones in a given piece increased in the 18th and 19th centuries. Strictly controlled chromaticism, as in the ornamentation of Frédéric Chopin, did not threaten the perception of tonality. However, from the mid-19th century on, complaints were heard with ever greater frequency that it was difficult to perceive what a given piece's tonal centre was, the chromaticism in the works of Richard Wagner being the most notorious. The virtual breakdown in tonality in the works of advanced composers led to the free atonality of Arnold Schoenberg and his followers in the early 20th century.

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Chromaticism is using notes of the chromatic scale in place of some of the notes in the regular diatonic scale as an enhancement or alteration.

Chromaticism is defined as the use of raised or lower notes instead of the normal degrees of the scale. It often serves to heighten the emotional tension of music. Importance of use of chromaticism is also realized because it creates a richness in color that is an essential aspect of the romantic sensibility.

Using notes of the chromatic scale to develop a composition is called chromaticism.

Chromaticism uses notes outside of a given key to produce heightened color.

Yes. Wagner wrote during the late romantic period. The increasing chromaticism of his mature works is thought by some to have pointed toward atonality and early twentieth-century modernism.

Western tradition has divided an octave (the difference between the pitch of one note and the pitch of another with double the frequency), into twelve equal intervals called semitones. An interval of two semitones is a tone. Most western music is based on a series of tones and semitones producing a diatonic scalesuch as the major scale of tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone. A piece of music which limits itself to the notes thus produced is called diatonic.A scale using all of the semitones in the octave is called a chromatic scale and music which tends to use all of the notes thus produced with equal value is called chromatic.The quality of using chromatic elements in music is called chromaticism.

Karol Berger has written: 'A theory of art' -- subject(s): Poetics, Arts, Philosophy, Aesthetics 'Theories of chromatic and enharmonic music in late sixteenth century Italy' -- subject(s): Music theory, History, History and criticism, Music, Chromaticism (Music) 'Bach's Cycle, Mozart's Arrow' -- subject(s): Criticism and interpretation, Music, History and criticism

Expanded or extended tonality can be related to composers such as Hindemith and early Schoenberg. It means extension of the common practice tonality. It results in highly chromatic music, where remotely related regions / harmonies are introduced, often in rather dense manner, free use of extended chords (9ths, 11ths, 13ths) as well as quartal harmony. Basically, it is all about quite free use of the whole chromatic gamut, while still maintaining a sense of central tone (tonic), though it is often hard to determine if you are in major or minor due to the high degree of chromaticism.

His harsh, dissonant, musical compositions.Another answer:Schoenberg, along with Berg and Webern, is best known for being one of the founders of the Second Viennese School. They developed the use of the twelve-tone row ('atonal' music) as the basis of composition, which they saw as a logical development from the increasing chromaticism of music since Wagner. (As indeed it was.) Much of Schoenberg's music is neither harsh, nor any more dissonant than music of earlier composers. Like any other form of artistic expression, it repays study and benefits from being considered in its chronological context.

He began writing romantic music with daring chromaticism, then moved to experiment with timbre, quartal harmony and atonality. He eventually developed his famous twelve-tone system (other composers did the same independently) which his student Alban Berg and Anton Webern mastered. Webern eventually became the leading influence on the modernists after World War II and this influence can naturally be traced back to Schönberg, making him one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Some famous pieces are Pelléas and Melisande, Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Pierrot Lunaire, Five Pieces for Orchestra and A Survivor from Warsaw.

Aside from different stylistic reasons, what gives the name to these styles is basically the period in which they were written.Usually these are the dates that are agreed upon to define historical periods in music:Medieval: 500-1400Renaissance: 1400-1600Baroque: 1600-1750/60Classical: 1730-1820Romantic: 1815-191020th century classical: 1900-2000Contemporary classical: 1975-presentNow, answering the question:Baroque: Intense, highly ornated, irregula beats, abrupt dynamics, balanced homophonic and polyphonic textures.Classical: Emerged through a transitional era, named 'Rococo', between the Baroque & the Classical era. Classical music is more delicate and is designed to please the listener.Romantic: Long, lyrical phrases, extensive use of chromaticism, dynamics, use of pedal, a variety of melodical ideas, expressive/emotional and frequent changes in tempo and time signatures.

"The unusual character of the G-minor Symphony is established in the first bar of the Allegro molto. The violas offer a brief but quietly restless introduction-or as Neal Zaslaw describes it, "an accompaniment waiting for a tune to accompany"-to the rhythmically propulsive first theme, which remains piano for sixteen bars, a rare occurrence in classical symphonies. Chromaticism flavours the melodies and harmonic structure of the entire piece. The second theme appears in the relative major key of B-flat in the exposition, but stays fixed in the tonic minor in the recapitulation, maintaining the dark mood to the end of the movement. In a musical sleight-of-hand at the recapitulation, the first theme slips in before the expected accompaniment, and we hear that familiar melody as from a different perspective, with a plaintive countermelody from the bassoon deepening its meaning." Source:

Tough question! My pick would be Josquin des Prez, because his style became the template--four or more parts in distinct ranges, sophisticated imitative counterpoint, and careful expression of the text through rhythm, phrasing, and overall form. He also explored further into extended chromaticism than most before him (as in the motet "Fili mi Absalon"), and in addition to his sacred music had a distinct popular style (as in "Mille regretz" or "Grillo") that was perhaps a forerunner of the madrigal. But this is assuming we're talking about "the most influential on the Renaissance"--his impact on music of that era was huge, but his personal fame didn't last into the following centuries. If you're looking for the Renaissance composer who had the most influence on the following eras, I'd argue for Palestrina, because his music became the gold standard for Catholic sacred music, for contrapuntal choral music in general, and is the basis for the traditional "species" method of teaching counterpoint even today.

In the Mario theme, there are two reasons why black notes are used in C major. One reason is because of chromaticism, which is when there is movement in half steps (or semitones), and in the Mario theme, the G sharp in the part that is E C G G# A F F A is an example of this. Another reason that is in the Mario theme is mode mixture, which is taking notes from a parallel minor key into a song with a major key, or vice versa. An example of this is when the E flat from c minor is used in the Mario theme. There are also other ways this can happen, which aren't in the Mario theme. One way this happens is by a song temporarily being in a different key even though the temporary key is not notated. Another way is through the use of twelve-tone technique (or serialism), which uses all of the twelve tones that make up an octave.

Based on an octave of 12 semitones, as opposed to a seven-note DIATONIC scale. A chromatic scale consists of an ascending or descending line of semitones. An instrument is said to be chromatic if throughout all or most of its compass it can produce all the semitones. Chromatic, a word ultimately derived from the Greek noun which means "complexion" or "color", and then from the Greek adjective χρωματικός (khrōmatikós; "colored"), may refer to: In music: Chromatic scale, the western-tempered twelve-tone scale. Chromatic chord, chords built from tones chromatically altered from the native scale of the musical composition. Chromaticism, the use of chromatic scales, chords, and modulations. Total chromatic, the use of all twelve pitches of the chromatic scale in tonal music. Chromatic genus, a genus of divisions of the tetrachord characterized by an upper interval of a minor third.Diatonic and chromatic, as a property of several structures, genres, and other features in music, often contrasted with diatonic.

There are literally thousands of braches of music. Music goes back to ancient prehistoric times, stemming mainly from African drumming. Over time, in western music, this refined down to the plainchant modal melodies which eventually became the Baroque period (J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi).The Baroque period evolved into the Classical period (Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn) where music saw a fundamental change in style. The classical period was followed by the Romanticperiod which stemmed into a number of new styles including Nationalism and Chromaticism. It was around here that blues began to take it's pressent form that would eventually turn into Jazz.The twentieth century saw an explosion of new branches of music: Expressionism, Impressionism, Polytonality, Atonality, Pointillism, Serialism, Indetimanism, Neoclassicism, Microtonality.Jazz then developed into popular music which lead to the creation of Disco Music, Rock, Metal, Hip Hop etc.The tree of musical styles goes back along way and has fabricated many styles of music. Enough to fill many books!hope this was helpful

The Romantic Era(1850 - 1920 C.E.)The Romantic era was a period of great change and emancipation. While the Classical era had strict laws of balance and restraint, the Romantic era moved away from that by allowing artistic freedom, experimentation, and creativity. The music of this time period was very expressive, and melody became the dominant feature. Composers even used this expressive means to display nationalism . This became a driving force in the late Romantic period, as composers used elements of folk music to express their cultural identity.As in any time of change, new musical techniques came about to fit in with the current trends. Composers began to experiment with length of compositions, new harmonies, and tonal relationships. Additionally, there was the increased use of dissonance and extended use of chromaticism . Another important feature of Romantic music was the use of color. While new instruments were constantly being added to the orchestra, composers also tried to get new or different sounds out of the instruments already in use.One of the new forms was the symphonic poem , which was an orchestral work that portrayed a story or had some kind of literary or artistic background to it. Another was the art song , which was a vocal musical work with tremendous emphasis placed on the text or the symbolical meanings of words within the text. Likewise, opera became increasingly popular, as it continued to musically tell a story and to express the issues of the day. Some of the themes that composers wrote about were the escape from political oppression, the fates of national or religious groups, and the events which were taking place in far off settings or exotic climates. This allowed an element of fantasy to be used by composers.During the Romantic period, the virtuoso began to be focused. Exceptionally gifted performers - pianists, violinists, and singers -- became enormously popular. Liszt, the great Hungarian pianist/composer, reportedly played with such passion and intensity that women in the audience would faint. Most composers were also virtuoso performers; it was inevitable that the music they wrote would be extremely challenging to play.

The neoclassicists held the belief that man was the supreme power of all, the center of all thought and truth. As said by Alexander Pope, "the proper study of mankind is man." They held strictly to reason and order, to intellect and precision. They attempted to achieve perfection. Opposing them was the next era, however, of romanticism. Romantics, in direct opposition to the previous age, believed in the guiding forces of nature. They believed that nature held all truth, and didn't search for such in science and mathematics as the neoclassicists did. They were impassioned and fond of beauty, as well as myth. I take exception to the above answer. I believe the person has his or her musical periods confused (or perhaps did not see the question as pertaining to music). MUSICALLY speaking, the Romantic Period (1825 or 30 to 1900 or 1910), was a period of excesses. Composers tried to push the envelope further and further, in everything from the size of the orchestra, chromaticism (both melodic and harmonic), length of works, demands of performers as well as audiences, etc. It was because of these excesses that some in the early 20th Century believed things could be pushed no further, so they must be broken down and rebuilt. This resulted in several different ways of rebuilding. Schoenberg founded the 12-tone system of atonal, serial composition, and others such as Webern and Berg ran with this. Meanwhile, there were other composers that focused more on sound and ambience, leaving traditional harmony behind, but still working within current ideas of what was accepted as consonant or dissonant (such as Satie or Debussy). Another significant movement at the same time was neoclassicism. Neoclassical composers like Bartok, Stravinsky, and Hindemith, decided that music needed to return to the more disciplined and ordered nature of the music of the Classical Period. This was applied to most of the same areas that Romantic composers went for excesses. Harmony is a notable exception, as some of these composers, particularly Hindemith, formulated their own harmonic ideas. But they were still acoustically based (as had been functional tonality), and quite refined. In short, the classical mindset of order and logic was revisited, albeit with a fresh face, by the Neoclassicists, in response to Romantic excesses.

This is indeed one of the classical period's most defining features. Baroque music tended to be right around half and half major and minor, but when the new classical style began to emerge, the taste for clear and simple structures and harmonies also engendered a strong preference for major keys. Minor keys, with their higher degrees of dissonance, chromaticism, and ingredients for pathos and tragedy, became quite rare in this era, something to be reserved only for times when composers felt they really had to say something profound. Compare, for example, the works of Vivaldi with those of Haydn, since both wrote huge numbers of pieces. When Vivaldi published a set of concerti, usually at least half would be in minor keys. By contrast, only 11 of Haydn's 106 symphonies are in minor keys, most of them concentrated in the late 1760s and the early 1770s, the so-called "Sturm und Drang" period, when minor-key works were briefly in vogue for their dramatic associations. Mozart tended to avoid minor keys even more than most classical-era composers--of his nineteen piano sonatas, his twenty-seven piano concerti, his twenty-three string quartettes, and his forty-one symphonies, only two of each genre is in a minor key.Beethoven, with his rather wild and rebellious spirit, wrote in minor keys rather more often than any classical-era composer, as nine of his thirty-two piano sonatas are in minor keys, as are five of his sixteen string quartettes. This unusual penchant for the minor mode naturally carried over into the Romantic period, when, with even composer attempting to emulate and be inspired by Beethoven's extreme power, minor keys gradually came to be even more common. Look at Tchaikovsky's symphonies--six out of seven are in minor keys (although every one of them but the suicidal tragic Pathétique Symphony ends in major!). Go even a little further to find Rachmaninoff, who did not write a single symphony or concerto in a major key.TL;DR: Yes.

Melody A series of musical notes arranged in succession, in a particular rhythmic pattern, to form a recognizable unit. Melody is a universal human phenomenon, traceable to pre-historic times. The origins of melodic thinking have been sought in language, in birdsong and other animal sounds, and in the crying and playing of young children. The early development of melody may have proceeded from one-step voice inflections through combinations of such small intervals as minor 3rds and major 2nds to pentatonic patterns (i.e.based on a five-note scale) such as are found in many parts of the world (including some quite highly developed forms of Western art music where they often serve as a basis). The concept of melody differs widely across cultures. One might compare the intensity of detail in an Indian raga with the austere lines of Western ecclesiastical chant, or the static, repetitive melodies of Japanese noh plays with the expansively lyrical lines of a Schubert song or the motivically generated melodies of Beethoven. In some cultures, specific melodies are associated with particular texts, as in Japanese noh plays and Western plainchant. Most melodies display patterns of rise or fall, of motivic patterning and of final cadencing that are specific to their cultures. Often such matters are related to the key or mode in which they are cast, which is likely to dictate their final note. Melody is traditionally considered, along with rhythm and harmony, as one of the three fundamental elements in music. It is an oversimplification to regard them as independent, however. Rhythm is an important element within melody itself, not only because each note of the melody has a duration but also because larger-scale rhythmic articulation gives shape and vitality to a melody; while, at least in Western music, harmony often plays a fundamental role in determining the contour and direction of a melodic line, and the harmonic implications of a line of melody may accordingly give it life. Ideas of what constitutes a melody, and in particular a beautiful melody, are constantly changing in Western music; almost every generation has criticized the next for producing music lacking in melody when it is simply that ideas of good melody are changing - a point strongly made by Wagner in Die Meistersinger (1868) where, incorporating melodic ideas from the mastersingers of the 16th century, Wagner opposed the conservative Beckmesser, who believes in a set of rules for the composition of melody, with the young knight Walther from Stolzing, who has a new, imaginative idea (as Wagner felt he did himself) of what melody can be. In vocal music, from the time of the medieval troubadours through the song composers of the late Renaissance and the composers of bel canto opera, melody has always been of primary importance, and it remained so particularly in the Classical and Romantic eras, in instrumental music as well as vocal. The breakdown of the tonal system in the 20th century, and the freer use of chromaticism and large leaps, has made melody less easy to apprehend. series of musical notes arranged in succession, in a particular rhythmic pattern, to form a recognizable unit. Melody is a universal human phenomenon, traceable to pre-historic times. The origins of melodic thinking have been sought in language, in birdsong and other animal sounds, and in the crying and playing of young children. The early development of melody may have proceeded from one-step voice inflections through combinations of such small intervals as minor 3rds and major 2nds to pentatonic patterns (i.e.based on a five-note scale) such as are found in many parts of the world (including some quite highly developed forms of Western art music where they often serve as a basis). get download songs here Melody can also be a name.Preferably a ladies name. would not be very suitable for men.

Interesting question, I'll make a go of it and hope others add on.To start with, music probably always reflects class differences, except where A) we have big pieces of the picture missing (such as the Middle Ages, when most of the music of the peasant majority wasn't written down), or B) where mass media blurs such differences, such as the "urban cowboy" phenomenon in the 1980s or the popularity of hip-hop in both the inner city and the suburbs. (I think there's also an argument to make about the tendency in the U.S. to pretend we don't have class differences, but that's another question!)Where I would start on this question is by identifying major class/cultural shifts in the 19th century, and then looking for correlation. Two instances come to mind:In 19th-century European classical music you see the continuation of the "artist-hero" template set by Beethoven--the visionary above the plane of lesser mortals. Many of the Romantic-era composers lived outside of the norms of the middle-class majority--Schubert, Paganini, Liszt, Wagner--and identified with the intellectual elite that was following the philosophers away from a traditional Christian worldview. On the other hand you had what the Germans call the "Biedermeier" (roughly equivalent to "Joe Sixpack"), the traditional middle class that listened to music to be entertained, not to be shocked or provoked or lifted into a transcendental experience.In his book Nineteenth-Century Romanticism in Music, Carl Dahlhaus proposes that this explains the dichotomy in classical sacred music during the 19th century. On the one hand you have the cutting-edge compositions--Berlioz's titanic Requiem that almost needs a stadium just to hold the performers, Verdi's smaller but highly operatic Requiem, Mahler's massive 8th symphony with its texts combining the Gregorian chant "Veni creator spiritus" and the redemption scene from Goethe's Faust (!?), and even more vaguely spiritual-philosophical music such as Strauss's Death and Transfiguration or Wagner's Parsifal and Tristan.But this isn't church music by the definition Biedermeier knew it--being performed in a church. On that side we find Felix Mendelssohn, whose oratorio Elijah is an excellent work in the Handel tradition, Bruckner, who revitalized the motet genre with an infusion of chromaticism, and a huge host of lesser-known composers writing masses, oratorios, cantatas, anthems, and hymns for churches and amateur choirs. Dahlhaus's point is that there were two different kinds of "sacred" music in the 19th century, written for very different audiences, and it isn't hard to see that there were fewer composers of the first rank writing church music for Biedermeier. (Much as it pains me to say it, because I love the Mendelssohns, I think he's right.) An exception to this might be Brahms's German Requiem, which could easily appeal to both audiences.Another example of musical class differences in the 19th century comes from the field of sacred music in the United States. During the colonial era, isolation and lack of opportunity for formal musical training led to the cultivation of a home-grown institution, the singing-school, with its own rough-and-ready music that grew out of the English psalm-tunes and anthems but had its own rules of counterpoint and harmony.But in the early 19th century, as the east-coast cities began to flourish and build up their own cultural institutions in imitation of European cities, many felt a sense of embarrassment over this "vulgar" tradition of church music and wanted to replace it with music written on proper European models. In Boston, the very city that had produced William Billings, a leading singing-school composer of the Revolutionary era, the new-founded Handel and Haydn Society (the name says enough!) was devoted to "elevating the public taste" in church music. The leading light of this movement was Lowell Mason, who was also essential in the introduction of music instruction into public schools in the United States. The singing-school music survived further west, however, and took solid root in the Midwest and south, where it survives in various folk traditions such as the Sacred Harp singings.I think this was pretty clearly a matter of class distinctions; as the east-coast urbanites began to flex their economic muscle, they wanted to be culturally equal to their European associates as well, and considered the music of their less-educated ancestors something of an embarrassment. It survived on the frontier and in rural areas, however, where attachment to these traditions was a point of pride. It was an early example of one of the fundamental divides in the United States--the urban-vs.-rural paradigm--which shapes culture and politics to this day.

Inevitably there's going to be some kind of subjectivity to any answer. I'll take your word "innovative" to mean "unprecedented". These are my suggestions:The anonymous author and composer of Musica Enchiriadis, a 9th century treatise devoted partly to polyphony. It didn't actually invent polyphony (strictly, the simultaneous sounding of more than one note; more accurately, two or more musical lines or melodies that are complementary but also independent in both pitch and rhythm), but it attempted to codify its practices. The polyphonic principle underlies practically all subsequent Western music except monophony (i.e. a single unaccompanied melody), which proportionally speaking is fairly thin on the ground.The composers of the late 14th century avant garde, a style known as the Ars Subtilior ("most subtle art"). This is a highly mannered style whose exponents went far beyond contemporary practice in terms of pitch and rhythmic complexity, using extreme chromaticism and combining different time signatures. Composers include Solage, the music of whose piece Fumeux fume par fumee ("The smoky one smokes through smoke") can only be described as being as bizarre as the text.Gesualdo (1566-1613). An Italian prince who murdered his wife, her lover and (possibly) their son when he caught them in flagrante dilecto. He remarried, by all accounts quite happily. Then he wrote his last two books of madrigals, which are way off the scale of what was normal for the time. They're chromatic to the nth degree, a degree that presages Wagner.Edgard Varese (1883-1965). The first composer to write a piece consisting entirely of unpitched sounds: Ionization, for 13 percussionists. This was a contradiction of the most basic constituent of Western music since Gregorian chant: determinate pitch. It paved the way for the electronic music of a few decades later.Charles Ives (1874-1954). He pioneered many techniques such as polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric music (in which the performer rather than the composer determines some of the piece's elements) and quarter tones (intervals smaller than the semitones you see on a keyboard).Doubtless others would chip in with such luminaries as Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), the first composer to break with the Renaissance polyphonic musical traditions and to launch what is now known as the Baroque period; Beethoven (1770-1827), who realised the potential for the personally expressive and the titanic in music; and my own beloved Wagner (1813-1883), who revolutionised both opera and the orchestra and - in the view of many - pushed music to the boundaries of tonality, making Schoenberg (1874-1954) inevitable. Speaking of which - Schoenberg, Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Debussy (1862-1918) each played their part in breaking some boundaries. Schoenberg finally ditched the major-minor tonal system that had been the norm since about 1650; Stravinsky turned the previous Romantic century around completely; and Debussy was one of the first to bend the tonal system beyond breaking point, leaving only its remnants in his work. However, all of the above could be seen as relying on their predecessors rather than being truly independent of them.For my money, however, the most innovatory composer of all time is Franz Liszt (1811-1886). No, not the Liszt of the Liebestraum, but the Liszt of the late piano music. He pioneered techniques that were decades ahead of his time. He was the first to write a piece of whole tone music (one based on a scale consisting purely of tones, not a mixture of tones and semitones as are the major and minor scales of tonality). Much of this late stuff is atonal - in fact, one of the pieces is his Bagatelle without Tonality. His dissonances are simply inexplicable in terms of any conventional tonal treatment; they include a tone cluster, a la Ives and Cowell. Liszt himself wrote on the cover of one of these experimental pieces, the Czardas Macabre (which consists of a string of parallel 5ths, a progression forbidden for about half a millennium), "Is it allowed to write such stuff, or listen to it?" As an index of how revolutionary this late music was, iconoclasts and progressives one and two generations later - namely, Debussy and Bartok respectively - were gobsmacked when they discovered this stuff. Very dark music, most of it, and thus very much an acquired taste. Enjoy!

Eras and Movements in Western MusicMusic historians traditionally divide the development of Western music into several major periods and movements.Medieval (c. 500-1400)The Medieval era was the first time that composers in significant numbers began to write down music to preserve it and communicate it to others. The earliest examples of this written music come from the medieval Catholic Church, in the form of Gregorian chant. By the1400s, composers began to write polyphony. Polyphonic writing became more sophisticated as composers changed styles from the Ars Antiqua to the Ars Nova. In the 1100s and 1200s, troubadours composed the first secular music unaffiliated with the church. Gregorian chant: A single-line melody sung in unison by one or more people. Chant used religious text for its words and was written by monks in the Catholic Church.Polyphony: Music that combines two or more lines, which are more or less independent of each other, at the same time.Ars Antiqua: The earliest movement of written polyphony. It originated in the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris in the 1200s.Ars Nova: A French movement of the 1300s that greatly refined notation and polyphonic writing from the era of Ars Antiqua.Troubadours: Wandering musicians in Medieval France who sang songs of courtly love. The troubadours made important musical innovations and were the first main source of secular music.Renaissance (c. 1440-1600)The Renaissance heralded a breakthrough of new ideas and techniques to Western music and brought innovations at a faster rate than ever before. The printing press enabled easier duplication and distribution of music and musical treatises, and the study of music became more common, not only for members of the church. Composers began to view music more as an expressive art than as a science. They further developed and codified the conventions of musical notation, began to write four-part polyphony as standard practice, and began to use imitation regularly. By the end of the Renaissance, composers had mastered the art of counterpoint. Instrumental music rose in prominence relative to vocal music, and the complete Mass was commonly set to music. Four-part writing: A common configuration of four parts, often abbreviated SATB (short for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, the four standard voice registers).Imitation: A device used in polyphony in which one part follows another by repeating a similar or same passage played first by the other part.Counterpoint: A device in which two (or more) melodic lines run simultaneously but neither becomes dominant over the other, so both can be heard independently.Baroque (c. 1600-1750The 1600s saw the rise of instrumental music as composers explored techniques and new instrumental forms. The sonata and concerto were born during this period, and growing virtuosity of performance emerged to accompany these forms. Keyboard music flourished, specifically for harpsichord. The Baroque era also saw the dawning of new vocal forms, including the cantata, opera, and oratorio. Music became a central part of daily life, and composers found new ways to express themselves dramatically, sometimes in extreme fashion. In addition, patrons unaffiliated with the church began to support composers in large numbers. Common practice period: The period in music from the early Baroque to the end of the Romantic in which composers used a well-defined common harmonic language. Composers from this period wrote in a style we usually associate with traditional concert music.Classical (c. 1750-1810)Although many people use the term "classical music" to denote a broad category of instrumental or vocal music that is different from "popular" music, this usage can be confusing because the term also refers more specifically to the Classical era. In the Classical era, composers reacted against what they saw as unnatural and exaggerated in the Baroque style. As they sought balance of both expression and form, formal structures grew in sophistication and became more central to composition. Music grew increasingly homophonic, and composers reserved use of counterpoint only for specific situations that demanded it. Orchestral and chamber music became more important, and the symphony and string quartet were born as music grew increasingly secular in nature. The fortepiano -the precursor to the modern piano-was invented shortly before the Classical period and became very important, for it was capable of greater dynamic expression than the harpsichord. Wind instruments that had developed in the Baroque era came into more widespread use and prominence. Homophony: A musical texture distinct from polyphony in that it sets one melody together with a subordinate melody against an accompanimental background.Romantic (c. 1810-1890)Beethoven opened the door to the Romantic period by defying conventions of the Classical era and expanding possibilities in his own music. The Romantic composers were more interested in pure expressive content in their works and used larger dynamic ranges and longer melodic lines. As a result, composers' individual voices became more distinct from each other, often strikingly so. Some composers relied on nonmusical subject matter to write program music in less rigid forms, like the orchestral tone poem. At the same time, nationalism became an important factor in composition, as composers began to draw on folk tunes, local dance forms, and other musical material native to their homelands. The size and scope of music also expanded: Some composers specialized in very short chamber works, while others wrote lengthy pieces for massive ensembles. Program music: Music written to follow a plot or describe a nonmusical idea. Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, for instance, follows the course of a troubled artist's life with musical illustrations of people and events.Nationalism: A turn toward native forms and ideas. Nationalist composers used folk melodies from their native lands and often wrote patriotic music.Modern (c. 1890-1950)At the end of the Romantic period, composers pushed the boundaries of musical development so far that they eventually "broke" and a common harmonic language no longer existed. Harmonies became more dissonant as chromaticism was used to a greater degree. Impressionist composers prioritized color and texture. Others invented their own rules of counterpoint and harmony, such as serialism. Others, the neoclassicists, turned to music from the past for inspiration. Many composers broke away from traditional major and minor scales and used other scales, such as the whole-tone scale and octatonic scale. Chromaticism: Use of harmonies that do not exist naturally in a key. Chromatic music sounds denser and more dissonant and often modulates to a number of keys within a single piece.Impressionism: In music (as opposed to the visual arts), a movement founded by Debussy, who made color and texture central elements in his musicNeoclassicism: A movement, pioneered by Stravinsky in the 1920s, in which composers brought a modern perspective to older music. Frequently, composers writing in this style used traditional forms and musical language and then altered it to create a new sound. Neoromanticism is another movement that came into being a short time later.Serialism: A method of composing, invented by Schönberg, in which all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are used in an ordered succession. Serialism can effectively destroy the feeling of key and tonality. It is also called twelve-tone, dodecaphonic, or atonal music.Contemporary (c. 1950-Present)As the 20th century progressed, composers took more liberty with form and technique and pushed the frontier of music further. Experimentalists tried extended techniques to create new types of sound. The first electronic music opened a new range of possibilities. Composers introduced graphic notation to achieve new effects like indeterminacy. Although some critics have felt that these new methods have distanced composers from their audiences, there are still many active contemporary composers all over the world contributing to a living music history. Experimentalism: A movement that sought to explore the very idea of music by seeking new ways to create sounds outside of traditional instrumental playing. Experimental composers tried to create new definitions of music and redefine the audience's listening experience.Extended techniques: Unconventional playing techniques (e.g., knocking the back of a cello, putting an oboe reed in a trombone mouthpiece) that experimental composers pioneered in their attempts to create new sounds.Electronic music: Music created with electronic devices instead of acoustic instruments. The first electronic instrument was the Theremin, a box that emitted radio waves and produced a unique sound similar to a violin and human voice combined. In the 1950s, composers experimented with audiotape pieces called musique concrète, which often incorporated sounds from nature with human sounds. Today, nearly any sound imaginable can be simulated electronically. Some composers work in electroacoustic media (combinations of electronic devices and live performers on instruments), while others work in exclusively electronic means.Graphic notation: A new approach to music notation that emerged in the middle of the 20th century. Graphic notation incorporates images, charts, and shapes not found in traditional music notation to communicate the composer's wishes.Indeterminacy: A technique in which the composer leaves certain choices to the performer, including what notes, rhythms, or speed to play. Indeterminacy introduces a level of randomness and improvisation in performance.

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