Music 32

1.) A musical shift began to unfold around 1720, as the musical world found Baroque to be too rigid and intellectual, and the late Baroque practice of applying a unifying theme, to be too restricting. It was at this point, that Europe diverged into a number of slightly varied directions, or trends in music. The three defining styles formed in different areas were, notably, France, Germany, and Italy.

France's focus was on the style galant, which is a French term that means, a "courtly style." The purpose of this style galant was primarily to be elegant, or pleasant. Consequently, the technique involved in its composition was fairly simple; it usually consisted of a single melody, with simple accompaniment and a few ornaments (such as trills) to keep it interesting. Unlike the long, unbroken expanses of music found in Baroque, style galant was often quite short, and composed of various, smaller phrases. Another defining point: to be made regarding French Classical composition is that the musical pieces were often based on non-musical images, such as flowers or things in nature.

Meanwhile, in what is now northern Germany, a new form, called empfindsamer Stil, which is German for "sensitive style,” was being used. This style was more like Baroque in both the length of its pieces and in its musical techniques. However, the deviation is in the content and imagery of the music, because the works of the empfindsamer Stil had no concrete, real-world image behind them. Its’ importance will not be recognized until much later, when the abstract music style of later years begins to make way. It was near the height of the 18th century movement that the Germans came to dominate the musical world. Expanding upon ideas started by Italian composers, German composers brought the technique of tonality to its peak, and developed the first clear distinctions between the various musical mediums, such as; such as orchestras, string quartets, string trios, and keyboard sonatas.

Of the three major forms, which emerged during this time, the Italians were the most similar to the Baroque. In fact, there was little change in the Italians' approach to music. Instead, their contributions involved mainly the refinement and redefining of existing techniques. For instance: opera, which was formerly considered drama to music, became far more abstract in the hands of the Italian composers. Over time, Italian opera overtures lost all dramatic connections with the operas they introduced. Italians were also responsible for the creation of new arrangements, such as the sonata. This might be why it is often referred to as the “so-called” Italian Style. Nonetheless, the glorious climax of the classical era came in a group of composers now known as the Viennese classical school. By the beginning of the 1800s, the style of the Viennese school was adapted all over Europe. It was so highly accepted at that time as the pinnacle of music that few composers worked outside of it for a great time.

3.) Salieri was a very religious man. Many of Mozart's compositions were so beautiful that they seemed to be the "very voice of God." Salieri was appalled by the fact that such beauty could be created by, "a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy," while at the same time, he himself called Mozart's music the "very voice of God." while a person like Salieri, who worked hard and who had an excellent education, could only compose mediocre music. Salieri objects to the fact that the gift of extraordinary talent comes from an accident of birth and has nothing to do with whether the recipient of that gift is a deserving individual. Therefore, he burns his crucifix and says to God, "From now on we are enemies, you and I. Because you choose for your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and [gave] me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because you are unjust [and] unkind, I will block you. I swear it. I will hinder and harm your creature on earth. As far as I am able, I will ruin your incarnation."

In order to understand Salieri’s affliction with God, one must first take into account the religious background from which he comes from. Salieri comes from a Judeo-Christian culture, which holds strong cultural and religious taboos against suicide;