The Classical era is one of the best eras when it comes to music! This is an era that had the greats such as Beethoven and Mozart to name a few of the major players of the era. I suppose it is easier for someone such as myself to relate to the music of these two composer power houses because this was an era where music was no longer controlled and meant for the churches and the upper class such as the music of the Baroque era. The video below has a few samples of music from the Baroque era and as you listen you can hear how the music holds a higher tone and make s you think almost instantly of royalty our of high class stature. You can also tell that the music is very complicated in some of the music making it hard for the average person to follow or try to play themselves.
During the Classical era music was no longer just for the church or upper crust of society, it was for everyone to enjoy from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. The music was much easier to follow along with so a person did have to be a prodigy to follow along and learn to play. It is because of the growing power within the Middle Class as members of society had left their squalor and began to pull in better incomes due in part to the Industrial revolution. The middle class became intrigued by music as music during the Classical era reflected slow to rapid changes in mood as the average middle class persons moods changes. Ludwig Van Beethoven was very keen and put a lot of feeling in his work. Take for example Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 written between 1804 and 1808 in Vienna, this piece gives a person a feeling of excitement with the short occasional period of somewhat relief and a victorious marching beat at the end. This composition has also been referred to as the “Victory Symphony” during WW2 because of the feel it give someone and being able to relate it to a feeling of battle and victory, you could call it a battle rhythm.This in turn is another connection made to the middle class as it was the middle class who were on the battlefields be it war or the metaphorical battlefield of everyday struggles. Below is the full version of this piece for you to make your own assumption about what feeling Beethoven is trying to convey.
Ludwig Van Beethoven’s symphony no. 14, also known as the Moonlight Sonata, written in 1801 in Vienna, is another great example of the simplistic nature and the changes in musical mood of the Classical era. This particular piece gives the listener a slow escalation in mood from a very calm, slow feeling to a moderate feeling of excitement to a heart racing feeling like as though you were running from danger. A way of relating to the tone of this piece would be to imagine you are taking a late night stroll through the park just drifting along. Then you catch what looks like a shady figure out off the corner of your eye so you pick up your pace a little and your heart rate elevate a little but you don’t want to make it look obvious that you are afraid so you put just a nonchalant skip in your step . As you move along down the path you notice the shadowy figure closing in on your position so you start to run and your heart is beating rapidly with all its got to evade what is believed to be danger. I think this is a situation that everyone has run across in their life at least once regardless of what your social standing is, although the middle and working class is more likely to run across these feelings, whether it was physical danger or running down the clock on an impending deadline. Below is the full version of this piece for you to make your own story.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was another great example of power the middle class had over music by how it’s melody brings light to the everyday mood fluctuations in the average persons life. Take Mozart’s Requiem number, created in 1785 in Vienna,for example. As you listen it puts you in mind of a day in the market trying to sell your goods in an almost begging manner. Then someone comes along and talks down to you or complains. This part would really pull in the middle and working class as it relates to their struggles of everyday life on the job. As the symphony goes on the tone goes back to the low tone as to say business as usual. The piece continues on in a slowly fluctuating pattern of lows and intermediate tones as to show the mood changes of the average person throughout the day. As with most middle class member, the everyday grind of work and home life struggles is a constant up and down of moods just as Mozart created the fluctuations in this piece. It is these feelings of highs and lows that the middle class want to hear and express as a dedication to their lives. Below is the full version of Mozart’s Requiem for you to draw your own conclusions on the mood behind the music.
Granted the descriptions of each of the 3 symphonies is my own personal thoughts but that is how I feel when I listen to the piece of music. I am of the middle class and can relate to the mood that the composers are trying to convey in their music because most of the moods produced from the tones in the musical numbers relates in some fashion to my everyday, well almost everyday, life. The first piece from Beethoven created a battle rhythm that can be related to the soldier or the everyday working man battling with tasks and obstacle of the hard working middle class until the battle is finally completed in victory. The second piece from Beethoven created a mood of being relaxed to a some what gradual sense of urgency as to evade a stalker or to the work day winding down to the end of the day and you have a deadline quickly approaching so you start to panic. Lastly the final piece by Mozart that give the feeling of the pitiful middle/working class struggling to make money to make ends meet and dealing with the rude upper crust of society looking down their noses at them and dealing with the highs and lows of everyday life. Each of these pieces were created as an influences of the growing power of the middle class to describe the feelings and moods of the average man. With the middle class gaining ground on the social stage and have more say in the art pieces such as these were created as an expression of the middle class and as a means of relating and bringing meaning to the middle class. The middle class also influence the way in which the musical numbers created by making the music easier to follow and making it possible for most middle class member to learn to play the music on their own accord.
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