Music in the Romantic Period

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The Romantic Period, lasting from about 1825 to 1900, saw the beginning of great individualism in music styles. The era consisted of great contrasts in both musical literature and musical esthetics, the branch of philosophy that deals with beauty and taste. The Romantic Era was the period marked by distinctive character of such music forms as the short intimate preludes, music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera, and the extraordinarily big concertos of Liszt. Romanticism derives its name from medieval "romances," which were tales and poems about heroic people written in the languages of those peoples instead of Latin which was used by scholars. The approach to life represented by romanticism greatly differed from that in the Classical Period. Classicism was objective and impersonal, operating under rules. Romanticism usually expressed freedom, tending to be personal and subjective. The entire nineteen century is generally referred to as the Age of Romanticism because the personal element in creative expression was so apparent.

        The Romantic Era began as a literary movement in Germany during the late eighteenth century. Romantic Ideas spread throughout Europe through about the next forty years. It became the philosophy of not only poets, but of dramatists, painters, dancers and composers. Because of poetic inspiration, musical compositions were often named with descriptive titles and or complied to literary programs like paintings that attempted to illustrate stories. Romanticism can be thought of as a subconscious rebellion against the increasing Industrial Revolution and machines taking over work which some believed threatened mankind's dignity.

        Artists got their inspiration in stories of distant lands and times. They would also turn to nature, examining the raging sea and storm. The work of Romantic composers seemed to always be reaching for something out of the writer's reach, like a woman,