ROMANTIC ERA

The Romantic Era, the nineteenth century, was concerned with the ideal world expressed musically by very lyrical music often with extreme emotional contrasts. This period following the time of Haydn and Mozart wasn’t necessarily all love and romance. Named after Romance languages, the term originated during the seventeenth century.

During the nineteenth century many people believed that only instrumental music, pure and free from words, could perfectly achieve this goal of communicating emotion. Instrumental music, therefore, was known as the ideal Romantic art.

There was, however, a strong connection between poetry and music in the lieder, German songs,of Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. Piano accompaniments were written as a very important part of the whole compositional expression.

Classical forms of composition were still used throughout the Romantic Era, however they were expanded. Lyrical melodies and complex colorful harmonies were very important to express personal drama and emotional experiences.

Although there were many exemplary composers of piano music during this era here are a few samples of piano compositions from: Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Frederick Chopin, Johannes Brahms, and Edvard Grieg.

Here is one of Robert Schumann's often played short pieces from his Scenes from Childhood, called Traumerai which means Dreaming.




From Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words here is a video of this Venetian Boat Song played by Daniel Barenboim. Picture yourself in a gondola on the Grande Canal in Venice as the left hand plays the repeated rhythmic pattern (ostinato) with the gondolier singing this melodious music that is played by the right hand.




The Eb Nocturne by Frederick Chopin among his many very beautiful lyrical pieces is often heard and played. This is a composer who wrote music almost entirely for the piano. For playing his music he said that the left hand part keeps time while the right hand sings.




Edvard Grieg wrote this piece in his home town of Troldhaugen, meaning land of the trolls (legendary little human-like characters). In this magnificent piece picture the wedding with the couple reciting their vows in the middle section. See how the dynamic levels change throughout the piece to make it very descriptive.




Sit back, relax and enjoy this Romantic Era piano music. Imagine yourself playing these pieces. Then sign up for piano lessons on the Register Here page to learn how to play them.

Go from the "Romantic Era" page back to the "Historical Perspective" page