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I am in the middle of composing my first keyboard sonata. It is in a classical era style, as I imagine all my other pieces will be. Here in the past, I was given note of Classical Form by William Caplin, which focuses on the form and functions exclusively of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

 

However, I don't want to be limited to only those three composers when I study classical era styles. It would be just like people wanting to compose in a baroque style being limited to compositions of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi; or those wanting to compose in a romantic style being limited to compositions of Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.

 

And besides, I have a problem with Beethoven. You see, I consider his middle and late works to be far more a part of the romantic style and era than that of the classical style and era. CPE Bach, Gluck, Soler, and even Scarlatti were truer to a classical style than Beethoven ever was, and Beethoven was as true to romanticism (especially in his middle and late works) as was Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms.

 

You know, I think the best way to learn to compose in a classical style (in my case) is to get some hands-on experience with sheet music of composers that came from the classical era. And I'll bet my life savings that those composers didn't need to study all that mathematical crap to create works of their own. They, like JS Bach of the baroque era, were largely self-taught and learned to compose from reading previous musical works, listening to them, and using their own imagination.

 

I prefer looking at sheet music, but finding classical sheet music online for free I find hard to find.

 

Currently, I am trying to compose the second movement to my first sonata. I will need sheet music for the following works to help me:

  • CPE Bach's Keyboard Concerto in C minor, H. 448 Wq. 37
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck's ballet Alessandro

In the meantime, have a look at the first movement of my sonata in PDF and MIDI format.

 

As a side note, the 96th keyboard sonata of Antonio Soler (1729-1783) sounds like an early frigging Mozart! Only Spanish, though.

Keyboard Sonata in C minor, I.pdf

Keyboard Sonata in C minor, I.mid

Edited by Marcus2
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Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are simply the finest composers of so-called "Classicism era". Of course, there were many more composers but you will probably not learn anything new from them. Some of these "other" composers are associated with a specific compositions but that's it.

You cannot compare this to the trio of composers of Baroque you have mentioned. Baroque era was much longer and there are lots of composers which are mentioned today as the great masters of Baroque, while the Classicism era maintains focus on the super trio Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven. Probably not without reason.

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imslp.org is your friend. And I agree, studying those scores would be greatly beneficial to your understanding. I don't know what you meant by composers studying "mathematical crap"....is that a dig at serialism?

 

Also, I don't think its fair to say Bach was self-taught...he came from a family of musicians, who passed on their knowledge and experience to young Johann Haydn, on the other hand, was "self-taught" 

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Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven are simply the finest composers of so-called "Classicism era". Of course, there were many more composers but you will probably not learn anything new from them. Some of these "other" composers are associated with a specific compositions but that's it.

You cannot compare this to the trio of composers of Baroque you have mentioned. Baroque era was much longer and there are lots of composers which are mentioned today as the great masters of Baroque, while the Classicism era maintains focus on the super trio Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven. Probably not without reason.

Thanks, but no thanks.

 

And you'd be surprised at how under-appreciated composers other than Haydn and Mozart [1] have become. I've been listening to lots of other composers of the classical era other than those two, and take my word for it: there's a lot to explore in them. Not only that, but you missed the entire point of my post! ;)

 

[1] I said something like it once, and I'll say it again: Beethoven belongs better in the context of the Romantic era than the Classical era. Here's why: Beethoven's early major works span roughly from 1795 to 1803 (although he did compose a little bit between 1780 and 1795); those of his middle and late periods span from about 1803 to 1826, the year before his death. His early works should be considered classical, while his middle and late ones I consider to be pretty darn Romantic. 23 years of Romanticism easily beat 8 years of classicism for Beethoven.

 

imslp.org is your friend. And I agree, studying those scores would be greatly beneficial to your understanding. I don't know what you meant by composers studying "mathematical crap"....is that a dig at serialism?

 

Also, I don't think its fair to say Bach was self-taught...he came from a family of musicians, who passed on their knowledge and experience to young Johann Haydn, on the other hand, was "self-taught" 

Those are some pretty good points you made there, danishali903! JS Bach did learn to compose in part from studying works of his predecessors, though. But you're on the right track!  :)

 

I shall see what imslp.org has to offer!

 

EDIT: I can't find either piece I've mentioned in the bullet points on imslp.org. I thank you very much with gratitude, danishali903, for your input. I might need a Plan B, though.

Edited by Marcus2

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You know, I think the best way to learn to compose in a classical style (in my case) is to get some hands-on experience with sheet music of composers that came from the classical era. And I'll bet my life savings that those composers didn't need to study all that mathematical crap to create works of their own. They, like JS Bach of the baroque era, were largely self-taught and learned to compose from reading previous musical works, listening to them, and using their own imagination.

 

You'd lose your life savings. All of the masters you listed received extensive training. You can even find Beethoven's counterpoint exercises preserved for posterity on the internet.

 

You're a fool if you think you can forego theoretical study and still achieve a thorough understanding of classical techniques and forms.

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The development of Beethoven's style after 1803 indeed marks a massive expansion of the classical style into something unrecogniseable, but it is not Romanticism in the contemporary sense as was practiced by composers such as Rossini, Weber, Schubert and Voříšek (among others), and apart from a few compositions written around 1813-16 (the piano sonata Op. 90, An die ferne Geliebte and the last two cello sonatas) there is very little in Beethoven's music that even acknowledged the new Romantic trends. His late works in particular are practically reactionary, looking back past Mozart to Bach and Handel as models, while at the same time retaining the individual elements of his own style derived from Classicism. (How far this style went can be exemplified by pieces like the Grosse Fuge and the Heiliger Dankgesang, which would remain unparalleled until the 20th century.)

 

He is very much an adherent of the Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven trinity, but Charles Rosen's books may prove useful—The Classical Style as well as Sonata Forms (which does discuss other composers as well, though not at as great length). Also Leonard Ratner's Classic Music

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You will have to study the form of Galant music. (You mentioned many Galant composers by name so I am assuming you prefer this time period). First you need to understand that this music is based off of formulas that are easily recognizable once you learn them. Do NOT look at it from a modern/romantic theory perspective, it will take you forever to write and come out sounding incorrect. You need to understand scale degrees as opposed to roman numeral analysis which is useless in this time period. For instance, I skimmed over your .pdf and found 2 converging cadences, a Fonte and a Quescienza. (All are formulas from the book I mention below). These are Galant Era formulas .

 

Check my article I wrote here in advice on Italian School of Music Prinner, this will show you one of the formulas. I also HIGHLY recommend the book "Music in the Galant Style" by Robert Gjerdingen, this teaches you most of the common formulas used in the Galant Period and is a great primer. I can try to help you out with my knowledge, though mine is geared towards non keyboard music such as strings and woodwinds. I specialize in Baroque and Galant. 

Edited by Sacchini

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