The Romantic Period

Music of the romantic period was mostly based on ideas of earlier periods, especially the classical period. Though the name of the period does not necessarily refer to romantic love, composers strived to be more passionate and expressive in their music. Romantic music attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings, while preserving the formal structures from the classical period. Ideas for music was also frequently drawn from other art forms such as literature and paintings, or even from history and nature.


Events and changes that happen in society always affect music. However, no time period seemed to be more affected than the Romantic period. The Industrial Revolution had a very profound effect on music by allowing for great enhancements to musical instruments. The rise of the middle class allowed more individuals to see musical performances.

QUESTION #1: During this period, many composers wrote music that focused on a certain country or region. What is that called?

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Using classical forms like the sonata as a starting point, composers began focusing more on new melodic styles and richer harmonies in the pursuit of moving their audiences, rather than concerning themselves with just the structure of the music. Ludwig van Beethoven branched the Classical and Romantic periods. Influential composers of this period included Richard Wagner, Peter Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, and Frederic Chopin.

QUESTION #2: Which of Tchaikovsky's compositions is often played at July 4 celebrations during fireworks?

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During this period, there were major improvements in the mechanical valves and keys that most woodwinds and brass instruments depend on. Newer instruments could be played with greater ease and were often more reliable. New instruments developed during this period include the tuba, bass clarinet, and double bassoon.

QUESTION #3: Which instrument invented during this period is not really considered a member of the symphony orchestra?

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Richard Wagner
"The Ride of the Valkyries"

Video Credit: YouTube
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Frederic Chopin
"Concerto No. 2 in F"

Audio Credit: Wikimedia

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Othello and Desdemona

"Othello and Desdemona
in Venice"
Romanticism Painting
by Théodore Chassériau

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