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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Music History
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Programmatic Music

  • Liszt coined the term
  • Music that pulls in outside elements to help tell a story without words
  • Composers did this in many ways from instruments to titles to musical themes
  • Berlioz included program notes to be read along with the performance of Symphony Fantastique
  • Resulted in a debate between the programmatic movement and absolute music that was still referring back to the classical period

Programmatic Music

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  1. Intro
    • They Call it Romantic for a Reason
    • So Why All of a Sudden?
    • Berlioz
    • Liszt and Wagner
    • Some Famous Leitmotifs Through the Ages
    • Review
    • Intro 0:00
    • They Call it Romantic for a Reason 0:29
      • Finally Getting Some Emotion
      • Programmatic Music: Narrative or Descriptive Content that Attempts to Represent Extra-Musical Concepts without Text
      • Uses Referential Elements or References to the World Outside of the Composition
      • Franz Liszt Coined the term, But It Originated with Beethoven
      • Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony Was an Expression of His Feelings
      • Music Governed by a Poetic Idea
    • So Why All of a Sudden? 2:57
      • Arts were Becoming Unified Across Europe
      • Particularly the Rise of the Narrative
      • Composers Found They Wanted to Tell Stories Through Music Without Text
      • Descriptive, Narrative, Evocative
      • Used Titles, Instruments, Imitation, Harmony, and Text Painting
    • Berlioz 6:37
      • Symphony Fantastique: 1830
      • Narrative Work Associated with a Text
      • Subtitled: An Episode in the Life of an Artist
      • Provided an Autobiographical Program at the Work's Premiere, Considering the text an Essential Part of the Work
      • Idee Fixe: Represented the Motive That Appears Throughout the Piece
      • Listening to Symphony Fantastique
    • Liszt and Wagner 11:38
      • Liszt Invented the Symphonic Poem: One-Movement Piece for a Symphony Orchestra
      • Wagner: Opera
      • Wagner Came Up With the Leitmotif
      • Leitmotif: Using Music Material to Represent People, Places, Events, Emotions, Etc.
    • Some Famous Leitmotifs Through the Ages 14:01
      • Think TV, Film, Advertising That Make You Think of Something
    • Review 17:13
      • Programmatic Music
      • Began to Dominate Classical Music and Still Does Today
      • Telling a Story Through Music Without Text
      • Very Emotional, Vivid, Imagery
      • Gave Composers Yet Another Outlet for Experimenting
      • Eventually Became a Battle Between Absolute and Program Music