Music of the Classical Period

1 day 9:30 - 4:30 pm or 4 weeks x 90 minutes

James Wyatt's Pantheon, London, built 1772

Eighteenth century composers believed that music should be understood and appreciated by all, regardless of class or education. Little wonder then that the music of this period, composed by such greats as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, is so popular. This day examines the music of the classical period, its structures and forms, its historical and social context, and its principal composers.

This course part of a series of music history courses, exploring the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Impressionist periods. You may attend the courses in any order.

Course Outline

Session 1

  • What is wonderful about music of the Classical period?
  • Classes and classics: origins of the term ‘Classical’
  • Social and historical background: Europe, 1750-1820
  • The art of the Classical period: we look at art and architecture of the times, and see parallel tastes in art and music
  • Musical genres of the Classical period
  • The rise of the concert tradition
  • Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

Session 2

  • Compositional techniques: what Classical composers were trying to achieve, and how they achieved it
  • Musical characteristics: what to listen for, and how to get more out of music of the Classical period

Session 3

  • The birth of the symphony
  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 ‘Jupiter’
  • The Classical concerto: Variety and form
  • Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5
  • Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto
  • Chamber music of the Classical period: a social occasion
  • The beginnings of piano music
  • Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca

Session 4

  • Opera
  • Mozart’s genius
  • Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro
  • Choral music
  • Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis
  • Mozart’s Requiem
  • Haydn’s Creation
Book cover, Music of the Classical Period

Buy the course notes for this class

In hard copy book form, through Lulu Press
$18 + postage

A digital copy of these notes will be provided free with enrolment.


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About Susan Deas

Susan Deas is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher. She has been teaching music appreciation courses for more than twenty years, through Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education, WEA Sydney and at other venues. Her training includes a Bachelor of Music with a major in Performance (Piano) and Musicology, a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy), a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), and an A.Mus.A in Musicianship. Susan teaches piano and music theory to adults and children, and plays piano and organ at various venues around Sydney. Susan is an accredited piano teacher and musicianship teacher, and is on the Council of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW.

More about Susan’s qualifications

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