Classical Music Forms

Classical Music Forms
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Duos, Trios, Quartets, Quintets,
Sextets, Octets
Music for small groups of instruments
They can include any types of instruments in
combination, and the focus again is on the
interplay between the instruments.
The most famous style is the string quartet,
which is made up of 2 violins, viola and
cello.
These are usually very complex,
serious pieces.
Sonata
The equivalent of a symphony
but for just one or two
instruments
A piano sonata is usually a piano alone
(Beethoven wrote 31 of them) while a violin
sonata usually has a piano accompaniment.
Chamber Music
A quaint definition is that chamber
music is for a small group of
listeners
More precisely, it is for a small
group of performers
ranging
for one (eg a sonata)
to about six or eight (a sextet and octet)
They can include any types of instruments in
combination, and the focus again is on the
interplay between the instruments.
Opera
Operas are very large scale pieces
that are a mixture of music and
theatre
Operas usually contain a full orchestra, solo
singers and choir, who are required to act as
well as sing.
Operas can also be enjoyed for
their music content alone.
Well known operas are
Mozart's Magic Flute
Bizet's Carmen
Wagner's Ring cycle
a huge set of four operas
Puccini's Madame Butterfly
Suite
A collection of short musical pieces,
usually dances, to form a larger
work.
Can be for orchestra or solo instrument.
Best known are
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite
Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances.
Concerto
Also a large-scale work for full orchestra
but with the addition of an instrumental
soloist
Most commonly this is a piano, violin or
cello, but can be any instrument of the
orchestra.
The interplay between the orchestra and the
soloist is the distinguishing feature of the
concerto.
Vivaldi's Four Seasons is a
collection of four violin
concertos.
Other great concertos include:
the piano concertos of
Mozart
Beethoven
Tchaikovsky
the violin concertos of
Beethoven
Brahms
Tchaikovsky
Sibelius
the cello concertos of
Dvorak
Elgar
Symphony
A large-scale work for full orchestra.
Usually consists of four movements
or sections, often alternating
fast-slow.
Beethoven's ninth symphony was the first to
break with tradition in that he included vocal
soloists and a full choir into the final movement.
Other composers who wrote
well-known symphonies are:
Haydn (wrote 104 of them)
Mozart
Schubert
Brahms
Tchaikovsky
Mahler
Prokofiev
Shostakovich
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