It is difficult to overestimate the importance of music in human life. It helps to reveal the emotion, express inner feelings of those who perform it, and obtain the aesthetic and spiritual pleasure and pacification to those who listen to it. Music is aimed at the expression of feelings and emotions, not only in times of the important historical events but also in everyday life. That is what makes it a unique way of the expression of the inner state of a person, as well as the mode of the transmission the specifics and character of a certain period through the generations. The musical works of the Baroque and the Classical periods are the most striking examples of the transfer of the age’s spirit with the help of music.
Baroque music has a number of distinctive features that separate it from the music of other eras. Crucial in the process of the music writing of that time was the expression of a variety of the emotions, which considered to be the brighter – the better. The inner spiritual life, person’s relationships with other people and God became the main objects of the attention and were used for writing the majority of the musical works. In the era of Baroque, the priorities in tastes and visions of the beauty changed bringing together the ugly and the beautiful, the comedy and the tragedy. Such features as disharmony, saturation complex images and shapes began to be inherent in baroque music. It can also be called pompous, complicated by the excessive imagery and dynamic, full of the bombast.
Speaking about the music of the Classicism, it is worth paying attention to the change of the level of its understanding and perception by people. The music became self-sufficient, full of the glimpses of the humanism. The figurative melody and dramatic development with a contrasting character were embodied in the form of sonatas, which were very popular at that time. Such genres as cassation, divertimento, and serenade were developed within this period (Wright 2014).
If to compare the aesthetics of the music of the Baroque and the Classicism, it is possible to find a number of differences. Unlike the representatives of the Baroque, who desired to combine the reality and the illusion, the Classicism composers tried to observe strictly the rules and regulations. The essential difference was the place of the emotions in music. In the Classicism, the rationalism prevailed the sensuality and in the Baroque – vice versa. Also, the desire for the harmoniously completed forms of the Classicism is contrasted to the pretentiousness and tension of the images in the works of the Baroque. One of the common features was the presence of the modulations in both eras, but in the Baroque they did not perform the structuring function.
A number of cultural events influenced the development of music of these periods. The church and the state had a huge influence on the development of music of the Baroque. The life and the career of many composers depended on the way the courtiers were supportive for him, and the music matched their tastes. It should be noted that historical events filled the Baroque music with the unstable, tense, and anxious spirit of the struggle against the feudalism. In Baroque music, one can hear the greatness of banquet halls, the sound of royal receptions. The Classicism music development occurred under the influence of the Enlightenment. Distance from religion, the prevalence of the ideas about freedom, creating the ideal world and human dignity clearly manifested in all forms of art, music, in particular. Listening to this music, one can feel the ease and, at the same elevation, some academic, philosophical moods (Wright 2014).
For objective analysis, it is reasonable to take two well-known works from every era. Tu se’ morta is an excerpt from the second act of the Monteverdi’s work Orfeo. The composition has a minor content, is not devoid of the expression. The moments of the sharp change of the sentiments, which were typical of the Baroque, is presented. If to look at this part of the work separately, one can see how the author expressed a sense of loss and compassion because those days were full of not only the celebration but also the losses among the people, who began to fight against the feudal system.
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When analyzing When I am Laid in Earth by Vivaldi, one also sees the depth of the feelings and emotions that formed the basis of this work. It was written in the form of a lyrical and tragic ballad which aimed to express the pain and bitterness. The work was imbued with the mood of deep melancholy. It is possible to assume that in such a way Vivaldi wanted to convey the pain of loss, suffering, and anguish of those who embarked on the path of confrontation against the system in his time. It proves the contrasting duality of the Baroque music, which either described the greatness and joy of the world in a court or expressed the anguish and grief of the peasants.
The piece If You Want to Dance from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart is a vivid example of the works of the Classical period with its inherent harmonious symmetry, the clarity of lines, but not without an emotional component. It carries a slightly formal, but sublime, laid-back character. One can feel a clearly structured coordination in the melody. Mozart expressed his perspective on what the aristocracy was, mocking it to a certain extent. He tried by means of his music to point to those things that needed special attention, adjustment. This work demonstrates the peak and determination of the early Enlightenment.
Pathetique Sonata, Movement I by Beethoven, is full of the expressive accents and logical, natural transition of the tonalities. One can say that this work is like a dialogue, a conversation between people. It is filled with the emotional colors, lively rhythms, but the sense of the brevity and accuracy in each step is also present.