<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
This module represents a discussion of the music of the Romantic Period. The qualities of the music are discussed and composers and several representative choral works are given.

The romantic period (1820-1900)

Heralded by the French Revolution, the Romantic period was one of subjectivity. The artist, no longer supported by the aristocracy, enjoyed the role of a castoff, meagerly existing in a garret as a rebel against society. The music is intensely emotional, deriving its strength from massive forces and vivid orchestration.

Choral music takes a back seat to the symphony and opera. However, a number of composers contributed great choral works to the repertoire, and works for large chorus and orchestras rank among the finest works of the century. A cappella repertoire is found in small amounts but several composers, including Brahms and Bruckner, wrote beautiful and moving unaccompanied settings. Again, dating the period is arbitrary. It extends beyond 1900, well into the twentieth century. However, using the twentieth century as a marking point for other contexts is valuable. Other contemporary styles appeared about that time and are combined in various ways. There a many musical examples of music we would label Romantic being written at the end of the twentieth century and even into the twenty-first century.

Characteristics of Romantic music include:

1. Less emphasis on form

2. More emphasis on texture and color (orchestration)

3. Subjectivity is important to both composers and performers

4. Chromaticism

5. Wide contrasts in dynamics and tempos

6. Composers explored the limits of the major-minor harmonic system

7. Program music became important

8. Almost completely vertical structure

Rhythm and tempo

One does not find the technique of changing meters used as it is used in the twentieth century, but the effect of changing the meter without changing the meter signature was achieved by displaced accents. Other methods of syncopation and intricate rhythm problems were a part of the subjectivity of the music.

Tempos ranged from extremely slow to extremely fast and were related to the mood of the music. Where tempos had been moderate before, they were excessive in the Romantic period. Fast tempos were very fast and slow tempos were taken very slow. Abrupt changes of tempo were also found often.

Tempo rubato was employed often and to the fullest possible extent. Every opportunity to exploit the mood of the music was taken. Accelerando and ral-lentando were also employed frequently and with greater abandon than in previous periods.


The harmonic possibilities of tonality were explored by the Romantic composers. As a result, more chromaticism and dissonance are found in the music. Late in the century cadences were obscured or avoided entirely. The texture was a rich full one that employed every instrumental and vocal possibility. The music is vertical and opportunities to color the vocal sound should be taken to achieve the rich sonority demanded. Full, mature voices are needed for the best performances of this repertoire. Without a contrapuntal element, much of the choral music is static, relying on beauty of tone for its success.


The dynamic scheme is the broadest yet, from pppp to ffff. Excessive dynamics are employed in many instances. Sharp contrasts of dynamics are also found often. The short, but far-reaching crescendo is commonplace (p to f in a measure or less). The dynamic scheme of Romantic music allows greater freedom for the conductor to achieve the greatest possible contrast with an ensemble. The difficulty of such a freedom is that the proportion of the dynamics is often lost. When does ff become fff? A judicious balance must always be maintained dynamically, so the full impact of each level can be felt and heard.

Romantic music is very expressive. Where the Classic composer's goal was formal objectivity, the Romantic's was personal freedom of expression. Tone color was most important to their compositional style, and is always an important consideration to conductors.

Composers of the romantic period

Karl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) M.I. Glinka (1804-1857) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Franz Lizst (1811-1886) Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) Robert Franz(1815-1892) Charles F. Gounod (1818-1893) Cesar Franck (1822-1890) Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Theodore Dubois (1837-1924) John Stainer (1840-1901) Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) Gabriel Faure (1845-1924) Leos Janacek (1854-1928) Edward Elgar (1857-1934) Mikhail Ippolitox-Ivanov (1859-1935) Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) Paul Tschesnokov (1877-1944)

Suggested works for study

Create in Me, op. 29 no. 2, Brahms (G. Schirmer #7504) Liebeslieder Walzer, op. 65, Brahms (Lawson-Gould) Salvation is Created, Tschesnokov (J. Fischer #4129) He Watching over Israel, Mendelssohn (G. Schirmer) Mass in E Minor, Bruckner (C. F. Peters) Requiem, Faure (G. Schirmer) German Requiem, Brahms (C. F. Peters) Mass in G, Schubert (G. Schirmer)

Questions & Answers

how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Choral techniques. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11191/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Choral techniques' conversation and receive update notifications?