Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

The Romantic Historical Time Period

Saturday, August 10, 2019 by Paula Augustine | Music History

The Romantic Period

Fall 2019 History Focus

Those who attended the fall "Back to Music" Studio group class were introduced to the Romantic time period in music history. We had fun playing two games that focused on this historical time period from 1820-1910. (some scholars divide this period into an early 1820-1850, and a late 1850-1910) We also created a piece together called "Joy" which featured one student at a time playing an improv on the piano, while everyone else played on various instruments to harmonize. 

The Romantic Historical time period was not about romance as we know today. Romantic meant expressing feelings and composers tried to express feelings in their music. The feeling could be love, but it could also be anger, fear, happiness, joy, etc. During the Romantic period music became 'bigger', bigger orchestras, bigger and more elaborate piano pieces, bigger range of pitch and dynamics, as well as pieces that reflected a specific country or nation. 

During the group session we learned about one famous composer, Frederick Chopin.  He came from a musical family and, similar to Mozart, began performing at the piano very young and composed his first piano piece, a Polonaise, at the age of 8. Chopin was born in Poland, but moved to Paris, France when he was 20 and never returned home. Chopinn spent most of his life teaching and composing. Chopin was physically frail and did not perform much. Instead he would play and perform with friends in their homes. He moved to England to see if he would get better, but this did not help. He died October 17, 1849 at only 39 years old. Chopin composed many pieces for the piano and was called, "the poet of the piano."

Here is our Improv piece on Joy

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