The Eras of Western Music 

Baroque Period: 1600 - 1750
Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann and Handel composed during the Baroque Period. Baroque music is tuneful and very organized and melodies tend to be highly decorated and elaborate.

 

Classical Period: 1750 - 1827
Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven composed during the Classical Period. Music from the Classical Period is orderly, balanced and clear.

 

Romantic Period: 1827 - 1900
Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann composed during the Romantic Period.  Music from this era sounds almost boundless and free from any limitations of form. Much of this music is programmatic—that is, it is meant to describe something, perhaps a scene in nature or a feeling.

 

Impressionist
Debussy, Ravel and others compose music of mystery, magic and wonder.

 

Modern Period: 1900 to the Present
Prokofiev, Stravinksy, Copland and today's composers wrote the music of the 20th century - and beyond. Modern music allows composers to emulate traditional musical ideas while implementing their own creative approach with complete freedom in all dimensions.

from http://www.classicsforkids.com/music/musical_periods.php

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