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General definition: The Pre-classical Style

The pre-classical style can be defined as:

A term applied to what came before and led up to the 'classical' synthesis achieved by Mozart and Haydn; more loosely it has been used to signify any music before the late 18th century. (Grove Music Online)

New musical developments appeared and overtook the popularity of the prevailing musical style in approximately 1720. The younger generation of musicians found that baroque counterpoint was too stiff and rigid, preferring a more lively and light musical expression. Even during the post-Baroque period, the restriction of a piece of music (even on movement) to a single emotional quality and maintaining it throughout without change seemed limited to these young composers.

The term is in fact one that applies to what had came before, finally leading to the Classical period (of styles achieved by Haydn and Mozart), or simply, any music that came before the late 18th century.

There are two main characteristics of the pre-classical period, empfindsamer stil and style galant.







Why wasn't the pre-classical style significant enough to become a definitive classical musical period of its own? Discuss this in our forums together with other issues as well!

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