Classical music offers something on a large scale
Very few art forms offer something as big as an orchestra—one hundred people playing music that can last over half an hour.
To start with, try to identify some of the different things you hear.
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Classical vocal music is either loved or really hated.
The piano is a classical instrument, and the keyboard will give you a variety from all over the world, from Bach's Goldberg Variations to Beethoven's 32 sonatas to Frederic Rzewski's contemporary variations on "The People United Will Never be Defeated." Listen to Chopin's piano works (mazurkas and waltzes and nocturnes) and his set of 24 preludes.
Solo works on other instruments include Paganini's 24 caprices and Ysaye's six sonatas for violin, Philip Glass's "Songs and Poems", or Tania Leon's "Four Pieces" for cello.
Classical music makes a particular kind of musical statement longer than other forms and in a complex manner. It cannot be understood quickly or conveyed in any other form.
You have to think about what it is or isn't, listen to the distinct sounds it offers, recognize earlier themes, weigh the pauses and the crescendos, think about what you do get and making it your own.
Following a gifted artist might be a better way to get into the field than singling out performances of masterpieces.
Particular artists whose concerts are almost always memorable are pianists Daniil Trifonov and Yuja Wang, violinists Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz, Jennifer Koh, and the singer Julia Bullock.
The term "classical music" is a catchall for everything from solo piano works to Gregorian chant to contemporary instrumental sextets.
To help orientate yourself, start with some of the traditional smaller ensembles where three or four musicians play together.
Cantata comes from the Italian word cantare, which means "to sing." It originated in the early 17th-century, but, as with any musical form, it has evolved through the years.
At the very beginning, cantatas referred to a music piece that is meant to be sung. Loosely defined today, a cantata is a vocal work with multiple movements and instrumental accompaniment; it can be based on either a secular or sacred subject.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was called the immortal God of Harmony by none other than Beethoven himself. The composer’s music inspires a feeling of love, reverence and even spirituality.
His most popular piece of organ music is Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which is a soundtrack used in many movies. A popular wedding sound is Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring while a cigar company used Air on the G String in a primetime TV ad when TV could advertise such stuff.
Music has probably played an essential role in humans. Evidence shows that early man developed primitive flutes from animal bones and used stones and wood as percussion.
Surviving Greek notation has given scientists a clue to how the music of the early Greeks and later the Romans might have sounded. Instruments featured during these times include the trumpet as an instrument of announcement and the lyre as an integral player in the songs of poets.
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