Romantic Period Characteristics
As a generalisation, music composed during the Romantic era possessed the following characteristics:
  • A freedom in composing. With a strong importance on expressing an emotion. Also fantasy, imagination and a sence of adventure were explored.
  • Emphasis on lyrical melodies. Rich, often chromatic harmonies, with a use of discords.
  • Sense of vagueness: especially in tonailty or harmony, but also in rhythm and meter.
  • Denser textures with bold dramatic contrasts, exploring a wider range of pitches, dynamics and tone-colours.
  • Expansion of the orchestra. The development of the brass section, whose power often dominate the texture of the compositions.
  • Rich variety of types of piece, ranging from song, short piano pieces and musical canvasses with spectacular, dramatic, and dynamic climaxes.
  • Keen interest in programme music such as programme symphony, symphonic poem, concert overture.
  • Shape was brought to work through the use of recurring themes, such as, nature, reigion and nationalism (a reaction against German influence).
  • The pieces of the time also had great technical diffulcutly. This was due to the fact that many of the composers of the time were musicans themselves, main pianists.