5.8 Chapter Summary

As we have seen, around the 75 years that span the musical compositions of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven were rife with innovations in musical genre, style, and form. In many ways, they shaped music for the next 200 years. Composers continued to write symphonies and string quartets, using forms such as the sonata, theme, and variations. A large portion of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century society continued playing music in the home and going to theaters for opera and to concerts at which orchestral compositions such as concertos and symphonies were performed. Although that live performance culture may not be as prevalent at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we might ask why it was so important for Western music culture for so long. We also might ask if any of its elements inform our music of today.

5.9 Glossary

Section of a concerto in which the soloist plays alone without the orchestra in an improvisatory style
Chamber music
Music—such as art songs, piano character pieces, and string quartets—primarily performed in small performing spaces, often for personal entertainment
Optional final section of a movement that reasserts the home key of the movement and provides a sense of conclusion
Da capo
Instruction—commonly found at the end of the B section or Trio of a Minuet and Trio, to return to the "head" or first section, generally resulting in an A–B–A form
The middle section of a sonata-form movement in which the themes and key areas introduced in the exposition are developed;
Double-exposition form
Form of the first movement of a Classical period concerto that combines the exposition, development, and recapitulation of sonata form with the ritornello form used for the first movements of Baroque concertos; also called first-movement concerto form
First section of a sonata form movement, in which the themes and key areas of the movement are introduced; the section normally modulates from the home key to a different key
The momentary shifting from a duple to a triple feel or vice versa
Minuet and trio form
form based on the minuet dance that consists of a Minuet (A), then a contrasting Trio (B), followed by a return to the Minuet (A)
Opera Buffa
comic style of opera made famous by Mozart
Opera Seria
serious style of eighteenth-century opera made famous by Handel generally features mythology or high-born characters and plots
the plucking of a bowed string instrument such as the violin, producing a percussive effect
third and final second of a sonata-form movement, in which the themes of the exposition return, now in the home key of the movement
Instrumental form consisting of the alternation of a refrain "A" with contrasting sections ("B," "C," "D," etc.). Rondos are often the final movements of string quartets, classical symphonies, concerti, and sonata (instrumental solos).
Form that prominently replaced the minuet in symphonies and strings quartets of the nineteenth century; like the minuet, scherzos are ternary forms and have a triple feel, although they tend to be somewhat faster in tempo than the minuet.
Sonata form
A form often found in the first and last movements of sonatas, symphonies, and string quartets, consisting of three parts—exposition, development, and recapitulation
String quartet
Performing ensemble consisting of two violinists, one violinist, and one cellist that plays compositions called string quartets, compositions generally in four movements
Multi-movement composition for orchestra, often in four movements
Ternary form
Describes a musical composition in three parts, most often featurings two similar sections, separated by a contrasting section and represented by the letters A–B–A.
Theme-and-Variation form
The presentation of a theme and then variations upon it. The theme may be illustrated as A, with any number of variations following it – A', A'', A''', A'''', etc.