The Romantic Era


Start of Romantic Era


Early Romantic Era

1824 Beethoven Symphony No 9. Used contrabassoon, three different trombones and added triangle, cymbals, and bass drum. Bass and cello lines were separated. Used the timpani melodically. Vocalists used in the finale.

Early Romantic Era

The size of the orchestra was increased. Woodwind instruments were doubled and bass clarinet, contrabassoon, piccolo, and English horn were added. More brass were used and trombone and tuba were added. The percussion section was enhanced with bass and side drums, xylophone, celeste, gongs, cymbals, bells, triangle, and chimes. Harp was also introduced. More strings were used to balance the larger wind and brass sections.

Beethoven Symphony No 9.


Used contrabassoon, three different trombones and added triangle, cymbals, and bass drum.

Weber, Dei Freischutz


Innovative use of of brass and individual woodwinds. Voicing of string parts changed.

Schubert Cmajor Symphony.


Emphasized timbral qualities of instruments over unified whole.

Rossini Crescendo.


Natural crescendo used predominantly in opera overtures. It combines the use of dynamics, rhythm, and instrumentation to slowly build intensity. Example: William Tell Overture.

Hector Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique


Wrote music that emphasized the tone of individual instruments. Used harp, tuba, Eb horn, cornets, and multiple timpani

Grande traite de Instrumentation et d’Orchestration Modernes


by Berlioz (Father of Orchestration). Orchestration became more complicated and more important to musical works as a whole

Saxophone invented by Adolphe Sax


Mid Romantic Era

Richard Wagner.

1813 - 1883

Several ideas had an enormous impact on all of the arts, and his arts as a kind of religion



exceptionally gifted performers—pianists, violinists, and singers –became popular. For example, Liszt, Frank and Wagner were also virtuoso performers; their compositions would be extremely challenging to play.



One of the new forms was symphonic poem, which was an orchestral work that portrayed a story or had some kind of literary or artistic background to it. Likewise, opera became increasingly popular. This allowed an element of fantasy to be used by composers.



The music of this time period was very expressive, and melody became the dominate feature. This became a driving force in the late romantic period, as composers used elements of folk music to express their cultural identity.

A permanent repertory of operas began to emerge.


” Nationalism” style was created.



As in any time of change, new musical techniques came about to fit in with the trends. Composers began to experiment with length of compositions new harmonies, and tonal relationships. What’s more, there was an increased use of dissonance and extended use of chromaticism. At this time, romantic music more focus on the use of color.

Late Romantic Era

Gustav Mahler

1860 - 1911

Agogies, dynamics, and timbre become an important part of musical form


Mahler Introduced


utilized every possible resource for dramatic and color aspects
-sections with voice and chorus in his Lieder and Symphonies
-betrayed Romantic fascination with music’s possibilities of illustrating and enhancing literature
-had a dramatic quality and used inspiration from local folk sources and nature
-changed picturesque to vulgar or unpleasant sources
-unpretty representation using real cowbells played in and used as part of the percussion section