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Music of the Classical Era
Based on the ideals of Ancient Greece and Rome, the Classical period stressed the importance of symmetry and form in the arts. In music, the elaborate ornamentation of the Late Baroque period gave way to a new simplicity and elegance. Emotional content was still present, but it was never allowed to obscure the clarity and formal structure of the music.

The Classical period has been called the "Golden Age of Music" because it was at this time that the major forms of Classical music--the symphony, concerto, sonata, and string quartet--were fully developed.

The sonata is the most important musical form of the Classical period: It influenced the development of all areas of orchestral and chamber music. Although the sonata was used most often in the opening movements of compositions, it is also found in slow movements and finales.

The sonata is made of of three sections: the exposition, the development, and the recapitulation. Like a story with a beginning, middle, and end, the result is a musical piece that is at once clearly symmetrical and satisfyingly whole, but which conveys a sense of growth as it unfolds.

Contributed by Gifford, Katya

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