Baroque & Classical Era Composers Term Paper
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Music is itself a structure, based upon a certain accepted range of tones that are pleasing, or intentionally discordant, to the ear. Even modern popular music obeys certain conventions that are determined by the demands of the marketplace and music executives. Like composers of the past had to please patrons and the public, as do musicians of today. Even things we take for granted, like the length of popular songs are often demanded by questions of radio playtime, the need for a song hook, and the decreased importance of CDs and the increased importance of downloadable singles.
Of course, it is true that modern music has certain innovations that would be unrecognizable to Baroque and Classical composers, like atonal music, music that makes use of Eastern as well as Western instruments and melodies, and even more experimental uses of
sounds that defy what most people would call music. However, the reason that such changes are particularly striking to listeners -- such as the unresolved chord at the end of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" -- is because, like all listening audiences, we have our own expectations that we bring to a musical piece of sound and structure, and the greatest composers will find a way to satisfy our needs for pleasure yet circumvent these expectations to some degree and take us by surprise. Baroque and Classical composers like Handel and Beethoven were able to do this, and this is why they are considered great artists and were also greatly popular in their day and age.
Baroque music." Musopen. 2007. 10 Apr. 2007. http://www.musopen.com/learn/history/baroque.html
Sonata." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press. 2003. Answers.com. 10 Apr. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/sonata
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