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Thread: Romantic Music

  1. #1
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    Classical Romantic Music

    Hello guys, after listening to some classical music the other day something is on my mind. Technically speaking, which are the most representative characteristics in Romantic Music?.

    I mean, regarding:

    1)Progressions
    2)Rhythm
    3)Some other styles
    4)Examples

    Thank you so much!
    Last edited by juanf03; 10-04-2012 at 05:23 AM.

  2. #2
    BMus (Hons), MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    the romantic period

    Simply and generally speaking, I would classify the following as "typical characteristics" of "the romantic period" (circa 1820-1900) in comparison to the "Classical period". They are obviously simplistic generalisations though and will not always fit.

    - Large orchestras
    - Increasing technical difficulty
    - More complex chords and increased use of dissonance
    - Ability to evoke emotions
    - Links to other art forms
    - Wider dynamic range
    - Rise of Nationalism

    Famous composers include Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Berlioz, Wagner, Verdi, Liszt, Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Dvořák.

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    could you go more into detail about most common progressions of this period?...At least to give me an idea of which scales and degrees are used most.....is there any particular thing?......

  4. #4
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanf03 View Post
    could you go more into detail about most common progressions of this period?...At least to give me an idea of which scales and degrees are used most.....is there any particular thing?......
    Most common? That depends the tune.

    Here's Moonlight Sonata:

    i-i-VI-V/VI-V7-i-V7sus-V7 (First fragment)

    i-V7-i-iv-V/vi-V7/iii (Second fragment)

    (Tonicization begins)

    i-V7 (in C) I-V7 (B Minor) i-iv-i-V7-i ...

    As you can there are lots cadences happening.

    So, I-V(7)s:

    Moonlight Sonanta: (Beethoven)
    Fantasie Impromptu: (Chopin)
    Prelude in C# Minor (Rachmaninov)
    Claire de Lune (Debussy)
    Magic Flute/Amadeus/Lacrimosa (Mozart)

    It's more so the form/style of music whether than the progressions themselves because the same progressions are used outside of classical music (and its periods).

    V(7)-I - (Beethoven - No. 5, Movement One)

    I-IV-V (The most familiar progression: Ode To Joy (Beethoven No.5, Movement Four)

    ii-V-I (it did exist before jazz);

    I-iv-ii-V (it did exist before the periods before it become common place)

    Again, it's the way they're used as JumpingJack noted most if not all the factors that go into composing/listening to this type of music. Yet, again these progression are nothing new.

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    ok, I see your point.....but I mean, is there any tip to write something of that style?.....something that make ppl say "yeah , that's a romantic composition".......(I know that sounded so stupid LOL)....Even now I would not be able to clasify a song as romantic, I don't understand what makes a tune being catalogued in that style.....What makes you recognize a romantic song over some other that is not?.....
    It's just a historic period or a form of composition? That music was only composed in that period or other people centuries later keep composing that style of music?.....And why the nowadays silly love songs are called romantic? I just can't understand what it has to do with classical music.....
    Last edited by juanf03; 10-04-2012 at 07:27 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanf03 View Post
    ok, I see your point.....but I mean, is there any tip to write something of that style?.....something that make ppl say "yeah , that's a romantic composition".......(I know that sounded so stupid LOL)....Even now I would not be able to clasify a song as romantic, I don't understand what makes a tune being catalogued in that style.....What makes you recognize a romantic song over some other that is not?.....
    It's just a historic period or a form of composition? That music was only composed in that period or other people centuries later keep composing that style of music?.....And why the nowadays silly love songs are called romantic? I just can't understand what it has to do with classical music.....
    Well, like I said it depends on the playing style. There are many upon many of piano styles that employ romanticism.

    Pop Ballad/Ballad, Cocktail (those are the only two I can think of).

    Here's a demonstration of Cocktail Piano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UkFi3vMsTs (Blue Moon is the example used).

    Everything that Jumping Jack mentioned above is also applied to this style as well.

    He's using Blue Moon (where the I-vi-ii-V is often associated) but others could include:

    When I Fall In Love
    Saving All My Love

    Autumn Leaves
    Satin Doll
    (Take The) A Train
    Misty

    The latter four are jazz standards; however, they can be played in a cocktail piano style. He's also says that CP isn't flashy. He said, listen to showtunes as well.
    Last edited by Color of Music; 10-04-2012 at 10:33 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanf03 View Post
    ....And why the nowadays silly love songs are called romantic? I just can't understand what it has to do with classical music.....
    Well, it's a different meaning of the word "romantic", which may be at the root of your question.

    "Romantic" - capital R - refers to a particular period in European culture; Jumping Jack summed up the elements of the musical side of it. Here's more:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_music

    Note this sentence in particular:

    "Romanticism does not necessarily refer to romantic love, though that theme was prevalent in many works composed during this time period, both in literature, painting, or music."

    What I think you are asking about is what characterises a "romantic song" in the modern, popular sense (a sentimental love song). This would certainly be a much easier question to answer!

    If it is indeed the characteristics of 19th century Romantic music you're interested in, the wiki page has a big list (although prefaced with a wiki warning about lack of references).

    In modern terms - as Color of Music says - "romantic" may refer to a style of playing (eg "cocktail piano"), not particularly any content in the composition itself.
    As for chords, in pop ballads the maj7 chord is probably the main indicator for "romance" (a romantic ballad with no maj7s would be a rare thing, IMO...). The chord progressions won't be necessarily different from any other style of popular music. Tempo, arrangement and orchestration play a more significant part. Eg, slow tempo and massed strings will sound "romantic"; uptempo distorted guitars won't! But the chords could be the same.
    Last edited by JonR; 10-04-2012 at 09:42 AM.

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    thanks!!!....In fact, I was asking about music of 19th century.....The maj7 you said could be applied to the romantic period music also?....

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    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanf03 View Post
    thanks!!!....In fact, I was asking about music of 19th century.....The maj7 you said could be applied to the romantic period music also?....
    Ah, more difficult question. (I mean, I don't know the answer )
    I would guess not, but I'm no expert on Romantic harmonic practices.
    I was just thinking of the cliche signature sound of the maj7 chord as used in jazz and pop. Such harmonies may well have been used in the Romantic period, but probably in more complex and specific ways.

    If your question is about practices in classical music (in the broad sense), the highest concentration of experts I know of is here:
    http://forum.emusictheory.com/list.php?5

  10. #10
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juanf03 View Post
    thanks!!!....In fact, I was asking about music of 19th century.....The maj7 you said could be applied to the romantic period music also?....
    I know as little about that as JonR, but considering the interval back then, I believe it wasn't used often due to the dissonance factor (a semitone below the root). If viewed upon as a chord, such an interval would sonically exist when the chords is not in root position.

    7 clashes with 1 every time; it has, however been widely accepted since then due to the "lushness" *The Maj9 adds even more lushness). However, keep the 9 at the top because you'll get a cluster. If that's the case, the root is dropped most often.

    The texture obviously changes when the interval is raised or lowered - especially ninths:

    b7 gives you bluesy texture; b9/#9s scream immediately resolve, but the b9 is darker while the #9 is brighter/sharper. I've read the description of a #9 sounding mean while a b9 sounds VERY upset! (Well, since it's accompanies a pregnant chord - ie: dom7/13 I would guess so!

    Lots of ballads often begin and end on Maj7/9s. Previously mentioned Cocktail Piano uses 7ths and 9ths often.

    You Can't Take That Away From Me (in Eb): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExmoiGZuiFQ (Actually, it starts in Bb, but modulates a P4)

    EbMaj7-C7b9-Fm7-Bb7 / Eb13sus-Eb13b9-AbMaj9-Abm9-Db9 / EbMaj9-C7b9-Fm7-Bb13b9-EbMaj9
    Last edited by Color of Music; 10-10-2012 at 09:25 PM.

  11. #11
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
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    Another genre - subgenre - would be Latin - specifically Bossa Nova. It relies on extensions most often, but there are some very romantic tunes from this genre.

    The Girl From Ipanema - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJkxFhFRFDA

  12. #12
    Registered User urucoug's Avatar
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    It's been a few years since my History of Music class, but from what I remember, as far as classical music goes, the Classical period, people had a lot more set structure that you had to follow (not as much as Boroque). With each successive period you started hearing more instruments that were used, and it seems like the rules and cadences broke down more an more, and more was considered acceptable.

    With the Romantic period, people were obsessed with more radical dynamic and tempo changes, and with the idea of death and the macabre (most seen in the paintings of the era, but you'll notice quite a few more songs off-kilter a little more, not as much as a lot of modern classical music, though).

    Of course, these are all generalizations, and there's all kinds of music from the era. The Romantic period is usually my favorite as far as Classical music goes.

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