We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Classical Music?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Classical music, strictly defined, means music produced in the Western world between 1750 and 1820. This music included opera, chamber music, choral pieces, and music requiring a full orchestra. To most, however, the term refers to all of the above types of music within most time periods before the 20th century.

In its limited definition, classical music includes the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. From Mozart alone, there are a huge range of pieces to enjoy, as he wrote symphonies, music for quartets and quintets, chamber orchestra pieces, choral pieces, piano concertos, and entire operas. In total, he wrote over 600 musical pieces. Mozart is perhaps best known for his opera, The Magic Flute, although most people also recognize Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, as well as a number of his symphonies and concertos.

Classical music would not be quite the same without Beethoven, who is particularly known for his symphonies. Beethoven’s sixth symphony is probably most recognized because of its pastorale, a section of music used in the Disney film Fantasia. The achingly beautiful Moonlight Sonata was also written by him. Beethoven wrote only one opera, Fidelio, and his genius rests in his symphonies and piano concertos.

Haydn has often been referred to as the “father of classical music,” as his work during this era forms the basis of influence for many others. Ironically, though he is considered the progenitor of the classical era, he is less familiar to most audiences than the composers mentioned above. His Symphony no. 94, The Surprise Symphony, is among his best known works.

Classical music in the broader definition evokes such composers as Bach, who preceded the more rigidly defined era and is more rightly classed in the Baroque period. Vivaldi, perhaps best remembered for The Four Seasons is also of the Baroque period. Handel’s Messiah is well known to the many who participate in sing-alongs during the Christmas season.

The Romantic Period, which follows directly after the classical period, is known for its emotive qualities. Mahler and Sibelius stand out and tend to be familiar to most. Wagner is perhaps the most frequently recognized of the Romantic composers, his work stormy and grand, and his many operas still performed regularly today.

"Classical" music may also refer to the native and folk music of any country, although the styles vary greatly, depending upon available instruments. For example, the classical music of Indonesia, with its use of the gamelan, is vastly different from what most would consider classical in the western world. Folk traditions in other countries were often quite influential to western music, however, as musicians of the baroque and classical periods often adapted their works from folk music.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Musical Expert contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon260838 — On Apr 12, 2012

@musicshaman: You should include Clair de Lune by Debussy. That one is a lovely piece. Even though I'm 17 years old and I may not know much, I know that this piece is relaxing and lovely and it has so much emotion put into it. That's just my opinion.

By zenmaster — On Sep 11, 2010

I love classical music, and try to get classical music Mp3 recordings whenever I can.

I do agree with firstviolin though -- so many classical music reviews are written only for classical music lovers, with a lot of jargon and fancy terms, so it can be hard for "outsiders" to get into the genre.

But if you're even the least bit interested in classical music, I would really say to go get some recordings, or heck, it you're a musician and prefer playing to listening, then get some classical sheet music.

It is really a great genre of music, and well worth the effort to get into it.

By musicshaman — On Sep 11, 2010

I am trying to put together a basic classical music guide for the kids in my 3rd grade music class, and was wondering what some good classical piano music pieces I should include.

I don't want to put them to sleep with a bunch of serenades or sonatas, but I'd also like to give them a good overview of different recordings and artists.

If there are any music teachers reading this post, what would you include in a basic guide to classical music?

By FirstViolin — On Sep 11, 2010

A very informative article, especially given your space constraints.

I think that classical music is so very underappreciated nowadays, and I think that this is in part because of elitism on the part of those who listen to it.

Have you ever considered how expensive classical music tickets are?

No wonder people avoid going to symphonies and the like -- they're just too pricy.

Classical music definitely doesn't deserve the flak it gets for being boring though. If people would actually get some classical music, and listen to it with an open mind, they might see that it's actually very passionate.

And I'm not talking about those old classical music songs that everybody has to sit through in their elementary school music class.

I'm saying, bring on the Bartok, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff -- the really interesting classical music recordings, and then maybe people would get over the idea of classical music being elitist and boring and actually enjoy a great cultural heritage.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Musical Expert contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.