The Classical period (1750-1810)
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The Classical Period 1
The Classical Period was the period after the Baroque Period and before the Romantic Period.
The most important musical town was Vienna, the capital of Austria. Therefore, the music of this period is sometimes called the Viennese Classical period.
Two famous composers were both living in Vienna at the time. It was Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You can read more about Mozart here at the Museum.
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The Classical Period 2
The church and aristocracy own everything
Until now, society had been divided into three categories: the aristocracy, the church and the general public.
The aristocracy and the church owned all the land and all the houses. And they made all the decisions in the country.
The rest of the population did not own anything, and they did not have the right to vote.
You were a part of the aristocracy - a nobleman - if your parents were noblemen.
During the Classical Period, the towns began to grow and the people rebelled against the aristocracy.
Revolutions started. One of the most well known revolutions is the French revolution (1789) where the people killed the noblemen and the King.
Slowly, people got more rights.
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The Classical Period 3
Before the Classical Period people could only hear folk music at parties. Or they could hear the organ in the church. The beautiful orchestral music and the opera were only for the King and the nobelmen because a large orchestra was needed and it was very expensive.
But now, ordinary people also wanted to hear orchestral music. And the first public concerts were held. Everybody could go in and listen to music.
But it was not cool for a composer to write music for ordinary people. Therefore, it was a scandal when Mozart in 1791 wrote the opera 'The Magic Flute', and everybody could go in and listen to it. Mozart was the emperor's composer.
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The Classical Period 4
A market for music
Composers and musicians used to be seen as craftsmen, like bakers and tailors.
Now, people began to see them as artists. And the music were art. A good composer could now become a star and Mozart became a star already as a child.
Now you could buy music. The composers put their music up for sale and people wanted to buy notes from famous composers.
The Classical Period was, however, only the beginning. The composers were still mere servants at the courts and composed for the King to earn some money.
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The Classical Period 5
Inventions and science
Big inventions were being made. The hot air balloon, the power loom, army rockets and a vaccine against the dangerous disease smallpox.
James Watt from Scotland invented the steam engine that would change the world forever. It could be used in trains, factories, ships and so on.
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