GCSE Music‎ > ‎

AoS 1 Western classical music 1600-1899

This Area of Study covers about three hundred years of music. During this time musical styles and conventions changed enormously.

There was development at all sorts of levels: 

  • new instruments were invented or evolved, and existing instruments were developed or improved; 
  • the formation of musical ensembles, like the orchestra and string quartet; 
  • and there were developments in musical structures:such as binary, ternary, rondo and variation forms and the symphony, sonata and concerto and the vocal forms of opera, oratorio and cantata. 

From about 1600 Western composers stopped writing modal music. Instead they used major and minor keys to write tonal music.

There are three principal musical periods: 

  • the Baroque era, 
  • the Classical era and 
  • the Romantic era.