Fans of classical music including Tunde Folawiyo will more than likely have listened to music of the Classical era (not to be confused with the genre of the same name). The Classical era refers to a period of time in musical history, between 1730 and 1819; whilst it lasted for just 69 years, significant changes occurred during these decades. Composers began to place a greater emphasis on instrumental variety and melodic clarity, and their orchestral compositions became considerably more complex, with bassoons, oboes, flutes and clarinets being used frequently, in order to add colour and life to the music.
It is believed that classicism developed as a form of rebellion against a style known as Rococo, which came about just as the Baroque period was coming to an end. Rococo music was known for its delicacy, ornamentation and light texture. However, it did not remain popular for long, with many of the soon-to-be Classical composers criticising its lack of depth and unnecessary decorative details. The early Classical pieces were a defiance of this style.
Whilst today, many people consider the pieces composed during this era to be the very definition of refinement and elegance, composers of the Classical period were actually more inclined to favour simplicity and naturalness, over ornate and elaborate styles, which had been popular throughout the Baroque era. In addition to leaving behind the excessive intellectualisation of music, they also began to have a greater say in how their pieces were performed.
Whilst previously, it was considered impertinent for a composer to offer their thoughts on the structure or style of a performance, it gradually became more acceptable to do so during this period of time. Haydn and Mozart, composers whom many classical music enthusiasts including Tunde Folawiyo will surely have heard of, were amongst the first people to express their opinions on this subject. Haydn included instructions at the beginning of his scores, whilst Mozart chose to add in specific tempos and expression marks.
The style which dominated Classicism was homophony, which was one melody line with an accompaniment. Soon, composers started to develop new compositional forms which were more suited to this particular style, the most notable of which was the sonata. Choral music also came into its own during the Classical period, with three people – namely, Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart creating most of the well-known choral pieces. Haydn was a particularly prolific choral composer, creating six complex masses and two oratorios during the late 18th century.