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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Periods - Classical - Genres

In this blog I’ll cover some of the forms (genres) used in the Classical Period.


What It Is: An instrumental piece for solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment.

How Many Movements: Three.

What Are The Movements: Quick. Slow. Quick.

Well Known Example: Horn Concerto No.4 - Mozart

Opera Buffa

What It Is: A humorous opera. A comic opera.

Where Did They Appear: As well as being a standalone genre they often appeared as short, one-act interludes in between acts of Opera Seria.

Opera Seria

What It Is: A serious, noble opera.

Developed From: The conventions of the High Baroque Era

Typical Opera Form: Overture (three movements fast-slow-fast), recitatives and arias. Three acts.


What It Is: A one-movement piece for orchestra. Often used as an introduction to a larger work.

How They Work: They use ideas and moods from the main work to help set the scene.


What It Is: Usually written for one instrument, but occasionally two.

How Many Movements: Three or four.

Well Known Example: Sonata Pathetique - Beethoven

String Quartet

What It Is: A musical composition for four stringed instruments.

Instruments Used: Two violins, Viola, Cello.

How Many Movements: Usually four.


What It Is: An orchestral piece of music.

How Many Movements: Usually four, sometimes fewer, sometimes more.

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