Classical music

Classical music (also called academic music) is the musical current that is based mainly on music produced or derived from the traditions of liturgical and secular music of the West, mainly Western Europe, and that has a fundamentally written transmission reference , which gives it a rigorous meaning and character for its reproduction or interpretation.

Although it broadly covers a period of time that goes from approximately the 11th century to the present, its use is frequently restricted to refer to Academic Music prior to the 20th century, although in essence and despite the fact that the classical music of the 20th century XX has stylistically substantial differences with that produced in previous centuries, it is considered the result of the same evolutionary process experienced previously. Although the main characteristics of the genre were codified mainly between 1550 and 1900, which is usually considered as the characteristic period of classical music production, its development extends throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. In a historiographical sense, early classical music is divided into several periods:

  • Ancient or medieval music, which covers the period comprised by the Late Middle Ages in Europe (1000-1400)
  • Renaissance music (1400-1600)
  • Baroque music, which coincides with the development of baroque art (1600-1750)
  • Classicism (1750-1800), which in Music History and Musicology is sometimes called classical music
  • Romanticism (1800-1910)
  • Contemporary music, which includes the different currents of classical music of the 20th century, which adopts atonal and dissonant composition and other trends opposed to previous currents.

Due to both its technical characteristics, the growing professionalization of the profession of musician and composer, and the socio-cultural context in which it develops (under the patronage of the aristocracy, church and bourgeoisie), classical music is usually defined as the cultured traditional music.

Academic music or classical music in general is characterized mainly by the type of language used, which is based on the broad and varied development of musical ideas from themes, motifs, subjects, countersubjects, phrases, contrapuntal structures, modulating passages, re-exhibition sections, thematic variations, etc. which are organized with the aim of creating a particular sound narrative. With this, the composer creates a descriptive environment of abstract or concrete ideas converted into melody, harmony and rhythm, aimed at shaping a sound structure with some specific meaning.

In this sense, classical music is distinguished from popular music and other non-European musical forms by its characteristic symbolic musical notation, in use since about the 16th century. Such notation allows composers to prescribe in detail the tempo, the meter, rhythm, height and the precise execution of each piece of music. This limits the space for ad libitum improvisation or ornamentation, which is prevalent in non-European art music and popular music. Another characteristic is that while most popular styles tend to develop around the genre of songs, classical music has been characterized by the development of highly sophisticated and elaborate musical forms and genres, based on complex developments and the use of a very varied and perfected instrumentation. For this reason, classical music usually requires, from both musicians and composers, a high degree of professionalization and specialization.

The term classical music first appears in the early 19th century, in an attempt to highlight the period as a golden age of music. Currently, this term is associated with the tradition of art music or academic music described above, and is sometimes substituted precisely by the terms art music or academic music to highlight its importance and character compared to popular music that has acquired status ” Classic” as an exaltation of a particular value (Classic Jazz, Classic Rock, Classic Salsa, Classic Bolero, Classic Tango, etc.). In this sense, the term contemporary music has been reserved for classical or academic music of the 20th century.