Around the mid-1700s, the Baroque style began to seem old-fashioned. People now preferred music that was more restrained and balanced. These qualities were characteristics of the art of ancient Greece and Rome, the 'classical' civilizations, which gave this period which lasted into the 1820s, its name. However, some of the musical forms from the Baroque period remained popular, evolving to suit the new taste and improved instruments. Among them was the solo concerto, a piece of music written for an orchestra but featuring a specific instrument. New forms were created too. The symphony, a work fot the orchestra, usually in four contrasting movements, was developed. Like the concerto, it attracted large audiences to public concerts. The string quartet and other pieces written for small groups also became very popular.
During the classical period, though music was still an important part of court life, the middle class had a great influence on music. Prosperous merchants, lawyers and government officials not only organized public concerts, but also wanted to be surrounded by music at home. As a result, the demand for printed music, instruments, and music lessons vastly increased. Composers were also influenced by folk and popular music.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CLASSICAL PERIOD
DIFFERENT FORMS OF THE CLASSICAL PERIOD
THE CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA
THE CLASSICAL SYMPHONY
THE CLASSICAL CONCERTO
THE CLASSICAL CHAMBER MUSIC