PERFORMING MEDIUM: Music during this era was commonly performed by ensembles and instruments such as chamber orchestras; symphony orchestras (expanded to include string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections); orchestra with soloist; chamber ensembles; and large choral groups for forms such as operas and oratorios.
RHYTHM: Simple, straightforward rhythms with a strong, steady beat and tempo prevailed.
MELODY: Melodies composed during the Classical period frequently employed symmetrical phrases with clearly marked beginnings and endings. Melodies with scalar patterns or melodies that outlined chords were common, and lyrical passages were often ornamented. Relatively few dynamic markings appear in music scores from this era, and when they were present, they often indicated immediate change. For this reason, many music scholars assume that the dynamics of the Classical period were generally changed or "terraced" (immediately loud or soft).
HARMONY: Simple harmonic structure prevailed during this era such as use of the primary triads (I, IV, and V, and frequently the dominant seventh). Harmony was mainly diatonic (major and minor harmonies), harmonic progressions were simple, and non-harmonic tones were not used as frequently as they were during the Baroque period.
TEXTURE: The texture of this period was primarily homophonic: a melody with chordal accompaniment. During development sections, polyphony was sometimes used.
FORM: Detailed forms frequently used during this period included sonata form, rondo, minuet and trio, and theme and variation. Large forms included genres such as concertos, string quartets, sonatas, symphonies, operas, oratorios and Masses.
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