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Period: Classical

1750-1820 - A revolution against the musical trends of the preceding era.

Classical Classical

The end of the Baroque period is generally associated with the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750.

There follows a transitional time known as the Rococo period, whose major composers are Bach's sons Carl Phillip Emanuel and Johann Christian, and the opera composer Christoph Willibald Gluck.

The Classical period occurs in the late Eighteenth Century, and is personified by its two greatest composers, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Here we find the basis of modern orchestral composition, including clarity of instrumental sound, concise melodic expression, and the inclusion of new instruments, such as the clarinet.

Mozart modernizes opera by composing his characters into the score, rather than relying on the vocal virtuosity of the singers, and by introducing contemporary social commentary into the plots.