The Origin and Movement of Classical Style

Strom and Stress movement (Sturm and Drang 1760s- 1770s)

was preceded by the literary movement in North Germany followed by musical phenomenon in Austria.

Compositions composed in the 3rd quarter of the eighteenth century were in Major Keys. Minor Keys were used to express anger or sadness characteristics in performance. Haydn’s symphonies from No. 39 to 52 showed departure from elegance, tasteful entertainment, written to charm patrons, expressing urgency, strong emotional feeling.

This is very evident in the slow movement where rhythms are less regular and line are less smooth. From the mid 1770s, symphonies of this period are traditionally expansive and cheerful works. It stresses on strong believers in personal freedom, freedom of that of an artist. Great emotional intensity and enthusiastic, violent outburst. It can be found in certain works by C.P.E Bach some symphonies and Quartets by Haydn.

Just as ‘Galant Style,’ ‘Rococo’ and ‘Strum und Drang’ referred to a specific development in specific geographical region in certain categories of art and do not refer to general ‘periods’ in history.

Rococo often called ‘Rococo’ or ‘Rocaille’ in French. Rococo is extensively used in interior architecture but extended to arts. Ornaments like leaves, flower, candlesticks etc. were greatly used in Rococo style.


The style had been elaborated on, embellished, formalised and made ornate. Thirty years after King Louis XIV’s death, Rococo style dominantly rooted in the centuries and carried forward traditionally by King Louis XV, which had been established by his great-grandfather.

There is a strong underlying structure in art in most elements even in costumes, buildings, houses, and gardens.

Relating to interior design, furniture showed qualities of lightness and prettiness, along with elegance. Motives used were made to be like natural objects, such as leaf shapes.

White and gold colours were popular for decorating and dimensional ornaments. In a musical sense, it was more playful, less intimate, casual, and pleasing.

Galant Style referred to two national styles in the late seventeenth century. Eighteenth century styles are French and Italian.

Galant Style originated from France and was invented during the reign of King Louis XIV, but it was mostly used in later ages.

King Louis XIV

Galant Style in music was aimed towards association to the visual art. Its objective is to reach the widest audience, making it simple and natural. The shortcoming is music seems to be lack of technical demands.

Polyphony was not in use; accompaniment is solely the foundation to the principal melodic line. Alberti Bass applied, named after the composer Domenica Alberti. Alberti is the simplest form of accompaniment used.

Domenico Alberti
Alberti Bass

Galant Style represents the radical change. The over simplification gives rise to the composition written for solo keyboard instrument with accompaniment and string quartets. Basso Continuo is used for instruments for solo instruments.

Galant Style is usually lively – Vivace or Allegro. All elements of rhythms, phrasing, motive, harmony and large-scale structure become one.

Key Composers who sensitively applied Galant Style was CPE Bach and Wilhem Friedmann Bach. Both were the Sons of Johann Sebastian Bach. CPE Bach displayed the most influenced upon Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

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