Classical Music

The major time divisions of classical music up to 1900 are the early music period, which includes Medieval (500–1400) and Renaissance (1400–1600), and the Common practice period, which includes the Baroque (1600–1750),Classical (1750–1830) and Romantic (1804–1910). Since 1900, classical periods have been reckoned more by calendar century than by particular stylistic periods which have become fragmented and difficult to define. The 20th century calendar period (1901–2000) includes the modern musical period (1890-1930), high modern period (mid 20th-century), and the first 25 years of the contemporary musical period (1975–current). The 21st century calendar period has so far been characterized by a continuation of the contemporary musical period.

The dates are generalizations, since the periods overlap and the categories are somewhat arbitrary. For example, the use of counterpoint and fugue, which is considered characteristic of the Baroque era, was continued by Haydn, who is classified as typical of the Classical period. Beethoven, who is often described as a founder of the Romantic period, and Brahms, who is classified as Romantic, also used counterpoint and fugue, but other characteristics of their music define their period.

The prefix neo is used to describe a 20th-century or contemporary composition written in the style of an earlier period, such as Classical or Romantic. Stravinsky's Pulcinella, for example, is a neoclassical composition because it is stylistically similar to works of the Classical period.

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