Comparison Essay: The Romantic Period

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However, the definition of these time periods is fuzzy, at best. Nearly every publication describes different dates for each period. For example, the "Classical" period is defined in various sources as ending in either 1800, 1820, 1825, or 1830! Even more inconsistency exists concerning the Romantic period, which starts sometime between 1800-1830, and ends between 1850-1920, depending on the source. There is also much inconsistency in which composers are regarded as belonging to which time period. For example, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) is often cited as being in the "Romantic" genre, by some of the same sources who claim that the classical period lasted until 1825, e.g. his entire life! Likewise, there is no consistent description of Vienna's Franz Schubert (1797-1828) - sometimes considered "classical" and other times "romantic". This time period is the most critical for the guitar, however, since Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829), Ferdinando Carulli (1770 - 1841), Fernando Sor (1778-1839), etc., lived during this era. Some guitarists speak of Sor's "Classical Period" to describe his early works, compared to his more romantic works of the 1830's. Stylistically, the guitar's early composers are "inbetween" classical and romantic - thus "late classical" or "early romantic" would be suitable descriptions.…show more content…
By looking back in history, we cannot avoid applying our own filters and regimented classifications when in fact this was a continuum of steady evolution with no clear start and end. But for the purposes of looking back, it is helpful nonetheless to classify time periods in a general sense to limit the scope, even if it means imposing artificial classifications like "early romantic guitar." Back then, they were writing "contemporary" and "modern" music. It is only later on that we have imposed these artificial classifications upon this time

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