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MUSC3007 Studies In Western Art Music

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Just like any other aspect prone to development, music has gone through the process over centuries. The Classical era forms a period from which the origin of the music can be traced. During this era, the composers were largely concerned about the orderly arrangement of their song to make their music entertaining and accessible by the listeners. However, with the entry of Ludwig van Beethoven, there was rapid improvement in song composition. Beethoven focused on including emotions and feelings to his song, a technique that led to the shift of classical era music to romantic era music. Besides, Beethoven was a major contributor to the musical styles that were later practiced in the 20th century.  

This paper agrees with the argument that “Beethoven’s music contributed to the transition from the classical era to the romantic era." Beethoven was born during the era of the classical music. That was the period between a mid-18 century and the early 19th century. During this time accessibility, entertainment and elegance in music were in vogue (Grieg, 2015). Throughout the Europe, the composers were largely focused on writing strict and predictable musical forms whereby the composing of the music followed specific orderly sounds without putting the emotions of the audience into consideration. According to Grieg (2015), a good composer should ensure the flow of his song goes hand in hand with the emotions of the listeners. The song should have the capacity to arouse the feelings and emotions of the listeners.  

The entry of Beethoven in the music industry brought in new song composition techniques. Beethoven was more focused on involving the audience in his music rather than coming with the lines of a song that followed a particular procedure. Beethoven was a crucial pillar in inspiring the romanticism music whereby emotion and narrative originality were the fundamental aspects. The style of romanticism remained popular for almost a century. Therefore, it clear that Beethoven was a major the shift of music from classical era into romanticism era. To understand Beethoven's contribution to the romanticism music, this paper relies on some of his symphonies is he applied in his songs during the classical era. Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (2014) defines symphony as an orchestra work meant for multiple sections known as movements. During the entry of Beethoven into music, symphonies used by the musicians were conventional, entertaining and short. However, he came up with different symphonies that changed the classical music into romanticism music as illustrated below;

Symphony No. 3 Eroica

This was Beethoven first symphony subtitled as erotica that meant heroic. Many scholars thought that this symphony expressed Beethoven's struggle against his disability and depression. Even though this symphony had some aspects of the classical music, its clashing dissonances and intense rhythms came as a shock to the audience who had been predicted that his music would be accessible and predictable. This was the beginning of new symphony genre of more powerful emotions.

Symphony No. 5

This was the most famous of the Beethoven’s music. It was composed between 1804 and 1808. This music, amazed classical era listeners who had got used to tuneful melodies in symphonies, unlike the Beethoven's tunes that were repetitive and in line with the story of traveling from dark to light. Symphony number five is one of the famous classical music of Ludwig van Beethoven. The lyrical melodies applied in the song and the booming strings formed a core ground of migrating from classical era to romantic era of music. Classical music era that than started from 1750-8120 formed the basis of ushering romantic era that lasted from (18-1910)

The two above scenarios are just mere examples of Beethoven role in the romanticism music trend. His music was always longer than that of the classical era. He used innovations to improve classical music era and avoid long wideness and boredom among his listeners as it was the case among his fellow classical era musicians.  Beethoven continued to apply more innovations to enrich the new classical forms to make the music more enjoyable, memorable and exciting than before. In fact, Beethoven was building on his improvements step by step until he reached the romanticism music era (Sherrane, 2012). The expansion and the growth of the traditional music forms as exhibited by the classical era is what made Beethoven a key pillar for the development of music from the classical era to romanticism era.

The major composers of classical era music just like Beethoven, applied a variety of techniques that acted as the ground of creating a foundation whereby the romantic music era will be founded later. Some of the notable changes that Beethoven applied during the classical era included the performance of the more than one part of the rhythm simultaneously. This approach was referred to as homophonic texture. Another, technique of the adoption of lyrical melodies that involved the variation of the dynamic changes in the volume of the music. Many scholars have argued that the introduction of this new aspect by Beethoven in the field of music did not only usher the romantic music era but is also contributed to the musical techniques that were quite dominant in the 20th century.  

During the 20th century era, there was a rapid increase in the variety of both music and new musical styles. In fact, the 20th century was referred to as “age of musical diversity (Estrella, 2017). This is because the composer had freedom and was more creative than the previous century. Also, there was the availability of technology and other resources that helped them apply the new musical styles. However, this rapid shift of music cannot be discussed with acknowledging the contribution of Beethoven into the 20th-century musical style.

Bluegrass Music:

Bill Monroe was the initiator of the bluegrass music in the late 1930s. This style was later developed by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs who originally were the members of Monroe Blue Grass Boys (Macarthur, 2013).

Popular Music:

Popular music commonly known as pop music brings together some different musical styles of the 20th century. It was aimed at the people who are already popular, and it was propagated through radio and other media. Although it is classified as the 20th-century musical style, pop music found its roots in the mid-19th century and developed from folk music and black culture (Feld, 2015). It included singers such as Frank Sinatra, Mike Jackson who used broad tunes and ballads.


Blues evolved from African America spirituals. It is both an instrumental and vocal music. It entailed work chants and song and had its music stylistic roots from West Africa. According to the scholar, Blues music had a major influence on pop music, rhythm, big bands jazz, ragtime, country music and rock and roll. W.C Handy was the key pillar behind the development of blues (Sherrane, 2012).

Country Music:

Country music has its roots from blues and traditional folk music. It was developed in the Southern United States. In 1924, Vernon Dalhart became the first country music singer who song gained national recognition. The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodger are referred to as founders of the country music when their songs were first recorded during Bristol session in 1927 (Estrella, 2017). Since then, the country music continued to receive a boost from the new technology.


Has roots in West Africa and comprises the expressions of African American music traditions. It gained popularity in the 1920s. Bessie Brown "Song from Cotton" is a perfect example of the early Jazz music (Estrella, 2017).


The Beethoven contribution to the music has been an impactful one. He has not only contributed to shifting of Classical era to the Romantic era but has contributed to the 20th century musical styles. Therefore, it undisputable to argue against the contribution of Ludwig van Beethoven in the current music of the 21st century. His creativity, originality, and connection with the audience through feelings and emotions has proved to be the best musician of all times.


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Feld, M. (2015, June 3). Summary Of Western Classical Music History. Retrieved from

Green, A. (2017, March 25). Where Did Opera Originate? Retrieved from

Grieg, E. H. (2015, August 22). The transition from the Classic to the Romantic Period. Retrieved from

Macarthur, S. (2013, November 25). Music is the loser in the quest for ‘innovation.' Retrieved from

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. (2014, February 24). Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827). Retrieved from Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra:

Sherrane, R. (2012, December 8). Music History 102: A Guide to Western Composers and their Music from the Middle Ages to the Present. Retrieved from

Victoria and Albert Museum. (2016, April 2). The Early History and Development of Opera. Retrieved from Victoria and Albert Museum:

Weinstock, H., & Hanning, B. R. (2017, April 21). Opera. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.:

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