Romanticism Roughly from 1815 to 1910, this period of time is called the romantic period. At this period, all arts are transforming from classic arts by having greater emphasis on the qualities of remoteness and strangeness in essence. The influence of romanticism in music particularly, has shown that romantic composers value the freedom of expression, movement, passion, and endless pursuit of the unattainable fantasy and imagination. The composers of the romantic period are in search of new subject matters, more emotional and are more expressive of their feelings as they are not bounded by structural rules in classical music where order, equilibrium, control and perfection are deemed important (Dorak, 2000). The characteristics of romantic music are influenced by the Romantic Movement, where the arts of literature and painting play a great role in influencing romantic music. Other evidence of non-musical influences in romantic music is the popularity of romantic poetry during that era.
Poems, opera arias and works form great romantic poets are transformed into instrumental works and composers like Schubert uses musical elements such as melodies inspired by poetry in his works (web). The musical language itself has shown that romantic music is different from the rest of the music before its time. Extended tonal and harmonic elements are noticed in romantic music compared to those in the classical era, where chromaticism, the usage of dissonance, and modulations are used extensively. Other societal practice during romanticism is the Romantic Opera. In comparison to the classical and baroque opera, romantic opera has a continuous flow of music in each scene and soon, people pay less attention to tenors and pays equal attention to choruses. To name a few of many composers for romantic operas, Wagner and Bizet are known for their works for romantic opera during the romantic era.
Romantic music is also influenced by folk music, tunes, rhythms and themes as many romantic composers wrote nationalist music, which is inspired from folk dances and songs, during the romantic period (web). Another factor that contributed to romantic music in defining its traits is the instrumentation. There is massive use of orchestral tone colours in romantic music and instrumental virtuoso became a focus and important. Instruments that were rarely used in the classical era are used in romantic works. As technology advances, more instruments are created and it was then, the romantic era, the composers experimented with musical instruments and chords. Some of the chords that are used extensively for modulation are the diminished seven chords, the German sixth (augmented sixth chord on the flattened submediant) and the Tristan chord (Dorak, 2000)..