The basics of classical music

I. What exactly is classical music?

The term “classical music” was first used in the early 19th century, when it was primarily Used to summarize the period from the Baroque to Classicism (c. 1750-1827), with Bach, Haydn, Mozart, the Beethoven and other representatives of the music composed. But as it has been widely used, the period it refers to has been expanded, and the broadest definition can even cover the entire West. Music.

The definition of “classical music” in both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Longman Dictionary mentions the word “serious”. “, a word that is translated as “serious” in some materials, but a more reasonable translation is “thought-provoking.” This is the most important quality that distinguishes classical music from other music.

In order to give the reader a more complete picture of Western music, this column will cover music from the ancient Greek period to the 20th century.

II. The historical period of classical music

In the long historical development of Western music, there is necessarily a problem of dividing historical periods. According to the general consensus of current scholarship, the history of Western music as a whole can be divided into the following period stages.

(i) Ancient Greek and Roman periods (8th-5th centuries B.C.)

(ii) Middle Ages (5th – 15th centuries)

(iii) Renaissance (15th-16th centuries)

(iv) Baroque period (17th century – first half of the 18th century)

(v) Classical period (18th – early 19th centuries)

(vi) The Romantic period (19th century – early 20th century)

(vii) 20th Century Music (20th Century)

The above historical phases are divided according to the musical styles, compositional techniques, creative thinking and other elements of different periods, because the artistic phases are different from history and dynasties and are not clear-cut, so there are overlapping situations, but the overall division is still relatively clear.

This column also focuses on the historical background, musical style, composers, and representative works of each historical phase according to this historical phasing. The presentation will be made in the context of different topics. Some of the more representative composers, musical works and genres will be systematically explained in relation to different topics.