The Classical Period, 1750–1827

As a rule, when people talk about 'classical music' they are usually referring to any music that is played by orchestras and musicians wearing white tie and tails, or any other 'serious' music that doesn't automatically fall into the specific categories of pop, rock, jazz, ethnic or new age. However, this is not strictly the case. The term actually describes the music that was written between 1750 and 1827 encompassing the works of composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, although the umbrella title encompasses many different styles: Baroque, Romantic, Impressionistic and Nationalistic schools are just a few examples. The great masters of the Classical period are Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven and there is no doubt that, without them, the music of today would be very different. Their works have formed the standard repertoire of classical musicians around the world for the last hundred and fifty years.

By 1750, the orchestra had come into its own as a medium for which it was worth writing music and, with the invention of the modern pianoforte (literally meaning 'soft-loud' ) in 1709, composers found that they could produce increasingly expressive and varied music which could then be orchestrated and performed. Music became more dramatic and emotional, with powerful instrumental displays being the norm.

By listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, for example, one can get an idea of the basics of the Classical period and appreciate how it differs from other categories of music. Because the term definitely describes its own particular era it proves that one cannot simply sum up largely different styles with the word 'classical'.


Composer Home Country Born Died
Joseph Haydn Rohrau-on-the-Leitha Austria 1732 1809
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Salzburg Austria 1756 1791
Ludwig van Beethoven Bonn Germany 1770 1827
Franz Schubert Vienna Austria 1797 1828
Strauss Family Vienna Austria 1804 1916