What is Classical Music?

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Classical music refers to a type of art music, which originated in the traditions of music produced in the West. This covers a long period that starts from the 11th century to the present time. However, the core norms were codified in the common practice period that occurred between the 1550s to 1900s.

There are several time divisions or periods of classical music, including the early music period, the Common Practice period, and the modern contemporary period. The early period of classical music includes the Medieval and the Renaissance, while the Common Practice period involves the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. Finally, the modern period encompasses the 20th century up to the present day.

Classical music is well-known for its sophisticated types of instrumental music, such as the sonata, opera, concerto, etude, symphony, symphonic poem, and suite. The kinds of musical instruments that are used in classical music were devised before the middle of the 19th century and were codified during the 18th to 19th centuries. These instruments are those which are typically found in a concert band or an orchestra. Aside from these, solo instruments including the piano, organ, and harpsichord are also used for playing classical music.

The most popular medium for this music genre is the symphony orchestra, which involves string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Another ensemble which plays this type of music is the concert band, which is composed of percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments. Compared to the orchestra, this ensemble has a wider variety and greater amount of brass and percussion instruments. However, the concert band has no string instruments.

During the 20th to 21st centuries, electric guitars and other electric instruments are also used in playing classical music. In the recent years, musicians have also experimented with other electronic instruments and digital techniques. An example of electronic instrument is the synthesizer, while digital techniques include computer-generated sounds.

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