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Inspired by this talk:
https://www.talkclassical.com/26-interesting-topic-romantic-vs.html

I know that the piano -specifically- is not the predominant, neither the most important instrument in the Baroque repertoire, nonetheless I'd appreciate if you go into a bit of -preferably- philosophical, historical and musical depth while explaining your preference for either of the periods of classical music.

I myself, am relatively new to the classical music and I'm still exploring the huge repertoire and songs dating back to the Medieval Ages.
Sometimes I find myself listening more of the Romantic and Modern 20th century music while other times I can only listen to the Baroque compositions.

In general though, I lean more towards the older Baroque and Medieval music perhaps because it has a sense of containment and tranquility AND a sort of transcendentalism spread across almost all of the compositions whereas the romantic music sounds to me way more darker and earthy in general and I find it to be unnecessary (especially at this point in time) personally because the human world can be considered dark already and to me sentimentalism can make it worse. However please keep in mind that this is purely an uneducated opinion and I am fully aware of dynamics in the history and its influence on arts. So yes, it can be considered deterministic and it was not exactly that Chopin chose to create dark and minor key music, rather what the circumstances back then together with his retrospective ups and downs in history and inheritance led to what we know as Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff etc.

And this particularly is the kind of discussion I'm intrigued to read on about: The development of classical music and the influence of society mindset on it.

As far as technicality goes, I'd like to copy a post from the forum linked above:
Quote
I think the Baroque era is definitely more expressive than the Romantic period. Baroque music, like you said, is more tightly knit around, what I feel, to be "technical expressiveness." What I mean, is changing the main theme. I was actually going to use the Vivaldi a minor as my example, as I'm playing it right now. Vivaldi changes the main theme, using many sequences, and using the parallel major. So phrasing is key....every time you hit a new sequence, a different level of expressiveness needs to be shown by the performer! While, like you said, Romantic pieces although impressive, keep the same feel, and don't leave the listener so fulfilled. Just my two cents.

Thank you in advance. :-)

Last edited by meghdad; 03/03/21 10:38 AM. Reason: Added quote
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A big question, which deserves a bigger answer than I can venture without some thought. However, I would suggest that there is an omission from your question: the "Classical" period, i.e. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, arguably Schubert. Which is probably (as a great generalisation) my favourite period.

So, I would suggest, which one do people like the most: Baroque, Classical or Romantic?

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Why does my preference matter to anyone?

Regards,


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I love listening to Baroque, but don't like playing it.

I love playing Romantic, but I get so bored listening to it.

I am mostly a fan of extremely modern music, as in being written right now AND music that is so old that we can barely get its history. Not a huge fan of stuff in between.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Why does my preference matter to anyone?

Regards,
Damn right, it shouldn't matter. I should have titled the thread more like "Why Baroque sounds calmer compared to Romantic" e.g so that it becomes more of an objective discussion. However, I can't edit it anymore.

@SonatainfSharp
I can totally feel you! However, I believe string instrumentalists would have different opinion.

@David-G
As alluded to in the first paragraph above, I was trying to get an idea of the reason for "stark" difference in sound and character and mood in the two distant periods of music, which the classical period kind of has a bit of each.

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Originally Posted by meghdad
Originally Posted by BruceD
Why does my preference matter to anyone?

Regards,
Damn right, it shouldn't matter. I should have titled the thread more like "Why Baroque sounds calmer compared to Romantic" e.g so that it becomes more of an objective discussion. However, I can't edit it anymore.
[...]

I think it's possible to assume that one's taste (if we are comparing only Baroque to Romantic) must surely be governed, in part, by the medium through which the message was expressed.

The sound of the grand piano of the Romantic era was already much beyond that even possible from keyboard instruments of the Baroque. Not only was the sound produced richer in overtones, volume and expressivity, the writing for the piano, encouraged by the development of the instrument, was totally of a different character. We may, therefore, be talking as much about the instrument and its production as we are about the music per se.

Similarly, talking about orchestral music of the two periods, the forces were different, inspiring composers of Romantic music to different avenues of expression.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Why does my preference matter to anyone?

Regards,

It is just a theoretical question. You can answer whatever you feel like. But of course it matters a lot. Arent you an important member of this forum ?

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There is beauty and inspiration in 'all periods' - well, probably. I'm not keen on much 'modern stuff' but tbh I've not really tried listening to it. I like both classical and romantic periods and what I listen to or play depends entirely on what I fancy at the time. It's great to have a choice!
On 'discovering' romantic period music I did prefer it for a time, but that wore off, and going back to the likes of Mozart, Gluck and others was a pleasure. My brother does some early medieval music with his choir - no, I can't provide links, but it is great too.
Composers between the two eras, perhaps Schubert are a nice compromise I suppose. There's a whole spectrum out there to suit every mood and whim. If I fancy a 'blast' then there is Charpentier's 'Te Deum,' something a bit 'heavier' and 'immersing' I can go for a Respighi Symphonic Poem (I think it's 'The Fountains of Rome' that I particularly like), there's a bit of well-structured Beethoven or two....the list is endless. "No preference," is the short answer, the longer one was a bit tedious!


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Originally Posted by meghdad
I'd appreciate if you go into a bit of -preferably- philosophical, historical and musical depth while explaining your preference for either of the periods of classical music.
As I've always believed that philosophy is overrated (as is intellectualism) - sweet grapes, as I can't find anything in my ancestry to link myself to Socrates, Aristotle, Archimedes, Plato, Confucius, Nietzsche, not even Machiavelli smirk (nor anyone else of no note) - as well as history (because it keeps repeating itself, and no-one learns anything), I'll just confine myself to a few statements of facts:

Baroque music is flowery; Romantic music is, er, romantic.

Hence, I prefer singing Baroque but I prefer playing Romantic.


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Playing: definitely romantic. And the choice is purely emotional
Baroque: love to hear it when it is played well. Then, it reminds me of a kaleidoscope with a lot of little pieces that fit together


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by bennevis
... - as well as history (because it keeps repeating itself, and no-one learns anything), ...
To me, that's exactly what you learned from human history and why knowing it is important ... as regards the history of the universe, we do learn a lot of things in a very short time, even though we still don't know if the universe repeats itself.

But I agree with you about philosophy, I much prefer astronomy and the best show on Netflix is the Universe series :-)

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I dont think I really prefer one or the other. What is certain though is that the baroque period is very long. Starting in the last quarter of the 16th century and ending mid 18th century, there is a great variety of styles during that period, as well as many differences by country.

For example the orchestral music of Lullly which had such a strong influence is quite characteristic of a french style. Corelli on the other hand is representative of the style of the mid baroque in Italy. Both are very different. Just like the very expressive style of italien madrigals of Marenzio and Gesualdo followed by Monteverdi, Jacopo Peri (probably the author of the first opera, with Caccini), Caccini and others evolved into the more lyrical vocal music of Legrenzi (unkown by many but who was extremely famous in his time and had long lasting influence), Porpora, Scarlatti, .... Each country and period contributed with largely different stylistical evolutions. That is probably what is the most interesting in this period.

Thus it is really difficult to generically talk about the baroque music. The compositional methods also evolved a lot, going from modal toward the system of keys and major/minor system.

I agree with you that it is interesting to understand how the changes in the society influenced the music.

Regarding philosphy, I have a great admiration for many of those great thinkers, of which many were also great scientists and mathematicians. Some of them influenced and are at the origin of the principles on which are built our societies. There are too many to be all named, Leibnitz, Hobbes, Locke, Descartes, Montaigne, Voltaire and many others should be honored for their contribution.

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I wonder what the voting would be like if the choice was between Contemporary music and Baroque, or Contemporary and Classical, or Contemporary and Romantic, etc.

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Love your replies Sidokar. Thanks.

I think that with a "Which one do you like the most" type question, I can get away with a subjective, superficial answer.

I love both periods both to listen to and play. I've just been having a look at the G min English Suite of Bach. Both fun to listen to and play. Well, maybe not when I'm playing it.

And just the other day I picked up a Chopin Scherzo. Those octave D's sound so good in the bass!! Such fun to play, using the entire range of the piano.

To listen to, I'd probably go more for Baroque. To impress the neighbours (who know nothing) you can't beat a Chopin Scherzo.

I love both, and can't decide which I prefer.

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I know this is a side issue, but....

Originally Posted by CharlesXX
...And just the other day I picked up a Chopin Scherzo. Those octave D's sound so good in the bass!!

D-flats?

(I don't know of any big-time octave D's in any of those!)

In fact, I even wonder, did you mean B-flats?
But anyway, something flat. smile

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Originally Posted by BruceD
The sound of the grand piano of the Romantic era was already much beyond that even possible from keyboard instruments of the Baroque. Not only was the sound produced richer in overtones, volume and expressivity, the writing for the piano, encouraged by the development of the instrument, was totally of a different character.
The dominant keyboard instrument of the Baroque era was the pipe organ, capable of tremendous volume and diverse tonalities. The golden age of the organ lasted 400 years.

Most pianists only play the harpsichord music of Baroque composers born in 1685, but there is a wealth of Baroque keyboard music playable on piano by composers such as Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Froberger, Rameau, and Sweelinck.


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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I know this is a side issue, but....

Originally Posted by CharlesXX
...And just the other day I picked up a Chopin Scherzo. Those octave D's sound so good in the bass!!

D-flats?

(I don't know of any big-time octave D's in any of those!)

In fact, I even wonder, did you mean B-flats?
But anyway, something flat. smile

Mark, if anyone other than me had written such provocative comments, I would have responded as you did!

To clarify. the piece I was thinking of was Scherzo #3 Op 39.

Low octaves as follows: (a) br 104, D natural (b) br 148, E flat (c) br 159, and brs 192-6, D flat (d) br 197, B flat, noting that the low B flat on the 6th ledger line was not available on Chopin's piano.

All sound glorious on the old Yamaha C7. What I lack in playing accuracy I make up for in volume of sound. grin

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You can't really say 1 type of music is more expressive than another. Music from different periods used different instruments & are stylistically very different.

In my younger days I took up violin playing and joined the school orchestra. The students played different genres of music from Bach, Mozart to musicals by Andrew L Webber & arrangements of Beetles tunes. The teacher got us into playing a Bach fugue arranged for an orchestra. The counting was all over the place but somehow we managed to end the piece together. The experience made me appreciate listening to Bach. I eventually learned several Bach fugues on a keyboard.

Before the 19th century, composers didn't sell the music to the public by giving performances like Jazz & Rock musicians. They wrote music for the nobility & wealthy patrons. Composers had lifetime employment. The music reflected the kind of social order before the French and later the Russian Revolution. Kings & nobles were born into a life of privilege.

By the 19th century, composers were more expressive in their own way. Music were less structured and sounded freer. In the earlier periods you rarely hear music about people's sufferings or music that had to do with war. When composers were employed by absolute monarchs like J-B Lully for King Louis 14 of France, you rarely have to think about composing music on the human condition & human suffering. Like Handel who composed the Water Music Suites for King George II's garden parties.

Personally I don't mind listening to later composers although I prefer Renaissance & Baroque music. When you listen to Beethoven, you're not just listening to nice sounding pieces but you're feeling his emotional outbursts in his music. Go back 2 centuries and listen to pieces by Bach you hear nice melodies & harmonies that challenge you intellectually. The fact that Bach was harsh on other musicians playing his music and had a bad temper never showed up in his music.

A few years ago I met a man who got into playing piano after he retired. He would only play pieces from the 19th century including Chopin. He hated anything that sounded structured including Mozart Sonatas. At the time I was learning Bach Little Fugue in Gm but couldn't get him to like early music.

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My understanding is before and during the Barogue era, musicians can work in the fashion and be treated like craftsmen. This was what made Mozart very unhappy and caused him to abandon his job in Salzburg.

In other words, many of the music before the Romantic era has the characteristics of craftsmanship.

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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
...To clarify. the piece I was thinking of was Scherzo #3 Op 39.

Low octaves as follows: (a) br 104, D natural....

Thanks for that, but.....again I know this is a side issue (if an issue at all) grin but, I don't have handy a score with measure numbers and from looking through the score in what I think is that general area, I only see D-sharp and D-flat octaves -- no D octave.

Not important, of course -- it's just that when you said "octave D's in the bass," it jumped out at me because it didn't feel like there are any such in the scherzi.
(Not that Chopin scherzi 'couldn't' have them, of course, just that they seemed not to.)

Tell you what: Here's a video of the piece. Can you specify the time-point of the measure you mean?
(Just curious -- that's all.)


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