Main Eras of Classical Music: Classical, Romantic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern

4 Musical Eras

There are 4 main eras of classical music.

The Classical era (1450-1750) was led by composers Haydn and Mozart. Orchestras began to take on a more dramatic sound, the harpsichord gave way to the piano and piccolos and bass clarinets joined the strings.

Music became more structured and clear, with composers deliberately writing how loud or soft they wanted the piece to be. The Renaissance brought a new sense of independence to religious music with the rise of polyphonic choral compositions.


This period embraced personal expression, a desire to break rules and to appeal to the emotions. The themes of Romanticism were often dramatic, including extreme perceptions of nature, mysticism, exoticism and the supernatural.

Ludwig van Beethoven bridged the Classical and Romantic periods with his music and pushed the boundaries of musical style. He expanded the strict symphonic rules established by Mozart into more emotional and expressive pieces.

Composers of this era were heavily influenced by literature and included themes, motifs and stories in their musical works. Hector Berlioz and Franz Schubert both wrote symphonies inspired by poetry, and composers like Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Weber wrote nocturnes, which are piano compositions evocative of night time.

This era also saw the rise of the musical virtuoso. Many musicians became celebrities and relied on flamboyance and intensity to attract ticket-buying audiences.


The harpsichord and organ gave way to the piano, which allowed composers to express emotion with greater flexibility. Instrumental music grew in popularity, and composers such as Beethoven, Chopin and Tchaikovsky created works that conveyed intense emotions from joy and ecstasy to melancholy and despair.

The rise of the middle class during this era had great impacts on society and the arts. This meant that art was no longer focused solely on the church and wealthy people. Music was more egalitarian and had a sense of community.

Composers such as Mozart merged Italianate brilliance and Germanic cohesiveness into the classical style. He was also the first composer to write music that he expected other people would play and enjoy. This led to a rise in long cantilena melodies and more virtuoso flourishes.


The Renaissance saw the development of a number of musical forms that would become staples in music over the following centuries. This includes the opera and the concerto (music featuring one or more soloists paired with an ensemble). It also marked the transition from medieval tonality (which relied on modes for harmonic structure) to functional tonal music, which used major and minor scales.

Towards the end of the Renaissance, there was a growing tendency towards complexity in musical composition, known as mannerism. This is exemplified by the madrigals of composers such as Luca Marenzio, Carlo Gesualdo and Claudio Monteverdi.

The Renaissance also influenced instrument design. The hurdy-gurdy (also called the wheel fiddle) and the slide trumpet developed during this period. These instruments allowed for greater virtuosity and the ability to play more complex music.


The Baroque era, which began around 1600 and ended in 1750, is known for its intricate melodies and expressive harmonies. The composers of this era, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi, created masterful compositions that continue to impress audiences today.

One of the most significant developments of this era was the use of a basso continuo, which added new depth and stability to music. These harmonic foundations, often played by harpsichord, violin or organ, helped to establish key tones in the musical scale.

It was also a time when composers began to experiment with different ways of conveying emotion in music. They used a wide variety of musical forms, including fantasies, suites, sonatas and sinfonias. These patterns established the template for the musical styles that would be used in later eras.


During this era, instruments expanded to include new oboes, clarinets and bassoons. Composers shook off the restraints of Renaissance music, writing more creative pieces for their own sakes. Religious music remained popular, but there was a move towards secular compositions too. This period also saw the development of musical harmonies closer to functional tonality.

The Romantic era was full of passion and emotion; composers really let their hair down and got stuck into it. Many created 'programmatic music' - musical descriptions of events or places, like Beethoven's pastoral symphonies and Smetana's Ma vlast (My Homeland) pieces. Experimentation and innovation were key with composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Claude Debussy using techniques like dissonance and unconventional scales. Other styles of music emerged, such as Impressionism and Expressionism.

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Korea’s Versatile Music Artists: From Clazziquai to NCT 127 and more

Top K Music Artists

From the swaying acoustic ballads of Clazziquai to the rambunctious dance pop of NCT 127, Korea's most boundary-pushing groups thrive on experimentation. Nursery-rhyme kitsch mixes with warped bass wails, while a parade of electronic effects collides with over-digitized raps.

Psy's "Gangnam Style" may be K-pop's most recognizable hit, but the genre is far more varied. From the icy R&B of 2PM's Jay Park to BoA's sincere love odes, here are some of Korea's most versatile artists.


Chanyeol is a popular K-pop singer who has left an impact on the music scene. He has a flawless blend of old and modern sounds and writes lyrics that move fans. His unique style and moving words have inspired many aspiring artists. He has pushed the boundaries of pop music and continues to push himself as an artist.

He is also a talented musician and plays drums and guitar. He has been in the industry for several years and is a member of EXO, a boy band that includes members from different countries. He was a contestant on the talent program of SM Entertainment and has since become one of the most famous names in Korean entertainment.

He recently released a new solo single called “Good Enough” and it is a song about finding peace and comfort in life. He has written the song himself and it will surely touch the hearts of his fans.


G-dragon is a rapper, singer and entrepreneur. He debuted in the kids’ group Little Roora at the age of 7 and later joined YG Entertainment where he was trained for 4 years. He eventually became a member of the boy band Big Bang along with T.O.P, Seungri, and Daesung. He has a huge fan following worldwide and is considered as one of the best-paid K-Pop stars. His music and performances are energetic and exciting.

He has also released an extended play titled KWON JI-YONG in 2017. The album soared high on the iTunes chart and other music charts including Billboard’s World Albums chart and Japan’s Oricon Digital chart. He has performed internationally and has collaborated with other popular musicians including Missy Elliott and Diplo. His first world tour ONE OF A KIND in 2013 was a success and fans are eagerly awaiting his upcoming tour ACT III M.O.T.T.E in 2024.


Hyukoh are a South Korean indie band, formed in May 2014 by leader, singer and guitarist Oh Hyuk. The band is also composed of bassist Im Dong-geon, guitarist Lim Hyun-jae and drummer Lee In-woo. They have been featured on numerous programs and music festivals across the world.

They are renowned for their melodic guitar rock and multilingual lyrics. Their first EP 20 and later 23 both topped the charts in Korea. They have performed internationally at notable festivals such as Coachella.

In a nation where K-pop stars spend years molding media-friendly images to match their pop sound, Hyukoh offers a welcome alternative. Their songs resonate with a disillusioned generation that feels like it has been given up on by a rigid job market and over-priced education system. Their pierced lips and tattooed visual aesthetic are an extension of their lyrics, which often express frustration and desperation. Their mild sound is an antidote to the perfectionist streak that dominates mainstream culture.


Jackasoul, born Mayson the Soul, is a rookie R&B singer who debuted earlier this year with Joosuc on the project “One Way Ticket.” His music is a journey into mature love. It evokes the nervous energy of starting a relationship and moves into companionate love as it becomes routine. He describes his music as British pop soul meets original soul from African Americans.

He is known for his soulful voice and profound lyrics. He also performed on a number of television shows and has amassed a large social media following. His debut EP, titled Car the Garden, was ranked in the Gaon Chart.

Kumho Art Hall is a venue that features a different artist every Thursday to spread classical music culture in Korea. This week, it will feature pianist Fabian Muller from Germany. He is one of Europe’s best piano players and has won many international awards. He has a number of concert performances with some of the world’s leading orchestras.

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