orn9.gifheart.gifROMANTIC 1820 - 1900heart.giforn9.gif

The Romantic era was a period of time in which composers allowed their emotions to pour into their music. Frederic Chopin, Antonin Dvorak, and Claude Debussy are all composers of the romantic time period. Queen Victoria also became the new monarch of England during this musical age. Other notable people from this time period are Vincent Van Gogh, painter of Starry Night and Sunflowers; and the author of the world famous book Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. Two major events that occurred in this time period are the first photograph being taken and developed, and the first version of the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

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Musical Evolution
The last songs of Beethoven were among the first of the new Romantic Era which lasted from the early 1800’s to about 1900. No longer working for churches or nobles, composers became free and expressed personal emotions through music. Instead of simple titles composers began to use descriptive titles like “The Witches Dance”. More instruments were added to orchestras, including instruments used today, making them larger. The music that the composers wrote had difficult and complex music and featured “colorful” instrument combinations and harmonies. Nationalism was an important trend in this era. Composers used folk music and folk legends to identify their music with their native lands. Additionally there was an increased use of dissonance, and extended use of chromaticism. Today’s concert audiences prefer the drama of Romantic music to any other music.

Sousaphone - in 1893 and named for famous band leader John Philip Sousa, it is a large brass wind instrument similar to the tuba but made for a player to "wear" during marching performances.

Armonica - also known as the glass harmonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It is made of different sized glass bowls on a spindle and played by running moistened fingers along the edge of the spinning bowls.

Click on the picture to play a virtual armonica!
Harmonica - a small rectangular instrument that consists of a row of free reeds set back in air holes, played by exhaling or inhaling.

Accordion-- is similar to the keyboard except it has single-note buttons including keys.

Arpeggione-- is a six-stringed musical instrument of the nineteenth century, tuned like a guitar but bowed like a cello.

Saxophone-- Invented in 1841 by Adolphe Sax, the saxophone is a wind instrument that consists of a conical, usually brass tube with keys and a mouthpiece with one reed.

Important Composers

Charles Ives
external image charles-ives.jpgCharles Ives was born on October 20, 1874 in Danbury, Connecticut and would soon become one of the first well-known American composers. At a very early age, Ives’ father gave his son music lessons. However, Ives instead pursued a career in insurance and eventually opened up his own insurance firm. Ives composed in his spare times, some of his most famous works being The Unanswered Question and Symphony No. 4, but his work was ignored while he was alive. Charles Ives went into a prolonged sleep on May 19, 1954 in New York, New York.

Frederic Francois Chopin
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Frederic Chopin was born on February 22, 1810 in Poland. He began to take piano lessons at a very early age and soon excelled the skills of his teacher, and was compared to young prodigies Mozart and Beethoven. Although he grew up and studied in Poland, he knew that he had to expose himself to other musicians so he often traveled to be inspired. Some of Chopin’s most famous works include Funeral March and Nocturne in E Flat. Chopin finished his final chapter in Paris, France, on October 17, 1849 at the age of 38.

Peter Tchaikovsky
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Peter Tchaikovsky was born in 1840 in Russia. He began to take piano lessons at the age of five and showed soon surpassed the skill of his teacher. When his mother died in 1854, Tchaikovsky turned to music to relieve his grief and began to be serious about writing compositions. A year later, his father asked a music teacher to evaluate Tchaikovsky’s music skills, but the teacher said he showed no potential. In 1861, Tchaikovsky began to take some music classes and began to write music again. Some of Tchaikovsky’s works include The Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Fairy, and March Slav. He danced the last dance on December 6, 1893.

Cultural References
Clair de Lune, a song written by Romantic composer Debussy, is mentioned in Twilight the first book of the Twilight Saga, written by Stephanie Meyer. It is brought up when Bella is being taken home by Edward after she faints from the blood testing that was going on in her science classroom. It was brought up because Bella was trying to stay mad at Edward for taking her home, but then she remembers that her mother used to play Clair de Lune around her house often as she hears a Debussy CD being played in Edward's car.

999978_com_awmovies.jpgAlice in Wonderland was written and published during the romantic period by Lewis Carroll and has become a timeless piece. Since its writing, Alice in Wonderland has been the inspiration for many things in the media, such as movies, songs, and cartoons. Songs that have used Alice in Wonderland as an inspiration include Alice by Avril Levigne and The Poison by the All-American Rejects. In fact, there is an album called Almost Alice that is a compilation of songs inspired by the book. This album was released as the soundtrack for the most recent movie version of Alice in Wonderland. At least six major motion pictures have been made based on the Alice series. Also, many television cartoons have been inspired by the books, including Disney's Adventures in Wonderland.

Don McLean sings a song based on "The Starry Night", one of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings. The song is called Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) and was written in the fall of 1970. McLean was inspired by a copy of the painting "The Starry Night", and realized that the painting could be used to write a song about Van Gogh. The song became widely popular, reaching number one in the UK charts and being used in a museum dedicated to Van Gogh.