Bringing sexy Bach

By Denebola
Published: February 2008

By Amalia Lieberman

Classical music, a musical genre traditionally unappreciated by adolescents, differs from other forms of music because of its emphasis on the style of the composers, and the historical context which inspires it. It is beautiful, emotional, fiery, and rambunctious, all in the confines of period and structure.
Classical music is built around a variety of strict and complicated forms. It is a very intellectual kind of music that is often hard to appreciate if one does not happen to have a strong classical education. Classical music, even though it can be very emotional, is very much about making the listener and the performer think.
To the average ear, all classical music sounds the same, but to a classically trained ear a piece that was written in the Baroque period sounds very different that a Romantic period piece or a classical period piece.
Additionally, a piece’s sound varies from composer to composer. For instance, musicians must play Vivaldi differently from Bach, even though they are both baroque composers.
It’s not just up to the composer to determine the style of a piece though, some of the musical integrity is determined by the musicians themselves. Like composers, each musician develops his or her own style.
Classical music is a challenge, because first a person has to understand what the composer wanted and then they must be creative with it while staying true to that composer.
Another aspect of classical music is the symphony orchestra. The symphony orchestra contains up to about thirty different instruments playing in harmony with each other. The result is a richness and fullness of sound rarely found in any other type of ensemble playing.
The symphony orchestra ranges from the low instruments like the string bass, the tuba, and the timpani, which give depth and gravitas to the sound, to the high instruments like the flutes, violins, and trumpets, which add sparkle and often have the melody, with a full spectrum of instruments in between. Added to this sometimes, are singers. The sound that comes out of such an ensemble can be everything from exhilarating to incredibly beautiful.
Classical music is very much still a live art form. Not all classical music was composed by men in cravats and wigs. There are many classical composers who live and compose in the 20th and 21st centuries, but their music is often very different from earlier classical music. Composers like Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a classical composer. In 1957, he wrote the music to West Side Story which  is still a very popular musical today.
The beauty of classical music is that it can be so varied. Each time period has its own sound, each conductor has his or her own sound, each performer has his or her own sound, and each listener gets something different from it.

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