Difference Between Classical and Romantic Music

Classical vs Romantic Music

For music lovers, knowing the history and finding the difference between classical and romantic music that originated in the same period can be of great interest. First of all, let us have a look at the history of western music. The western music today which we all listen to has not always been this same. It was created at one time, and over a long period gradually evolved from one different style to another with numerous contributions by many people who dedicated their lives to music and its development. Since it has a long history, western music is classed into several periods or eras: medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, modern, 20 th century, contemporary and 21st century music periods. Music of each period share specific features and thereby are distinctly different from music of one period to that of another. This article explores romantic and classical music.

What is Romantic Music?

The term romantic music denotes an era of western music which was brought into being in the late 18th or early 19th century; to be specific, from 1815 to 1930 AD. Romantic music is associated with the movement Romanticism that occurred in the eighteenth century Europe. Romanticism was not only a movement related to music; it was a comprehensive movement of art, literature, music and intellect. The music of the romantic era had a number of features: themes of romantic music were often linked to nature and self-expression. Some famous composers of the romantic period include Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann.

Franz Shubert

What is Classical Music?

Simply put, classical music is the music of the classical period that began in 1730 to 1820 AD. Although that is the original reference to the classical music in the history of western music, the term is now being extensively used, rather colloquially, to refer to a variety of western music from the ancient times to the present; a kind of music which is neither modernized nor complex, but light, simple, and soothing. Classical music is linked to classicalism, a style of the arts, literature, and architecture in the mid-eighteenth century Europe. One main characteristic of classical music was that it gave more significance to instrumental music. Famous classical music composers include Ludwig Van Beethoven, Joseph Hayden and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The expression of classical music was mainly of emotional balance and restraint.

Difference Between Classical and Romantic Music

What is the difference between Classical and Romantic Music?

• Romantic music is associated with romanticism in the Europe while classical music is related to Classicalism, also in Europe.

• Romantic music began in the late eighteenth century while classical music began in the mid-eighteenth century.

• The themes or expressions of romantic music include nature and self-expression while themes of classical music include restraint and emotional balance.

• Instrumental arrangements of classical music include symphony without solo piano works while that of romantic music include larger symphony with solo piano works.

• Harmony of romantic music consisted of chromatics while classical music consisted mostly of diatonic harmony.

 Judging by the differences, it is obvious that romantic and classical music differ from each other.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Classical and Baroque