Types of musical compositions
The list of types of musical compositions which follows is meant to serve as a guide for patrons new to the concert world. Links are provided for those interested in an in-depth explanation of a particular type of music
Ballad – Wikipedia
Inventions and FuguesA ballad /ˈbæləd/ is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were originally “danced songs”. Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and song of Britain and Ireland from the later medieval period until the 19th century.
Concerto | Definition, History, & Examples | Britannica
Concerto, plural concerti or concertos, since about 1750, a musical composition for instruments in which a solo instrument is set off against an orchestral ensemble. The soloist and ensemble are related to each other by alternation, competition, and combination.
Choral music is any style of composition intended to be sung by a choir. Choral music can include styles such as motets, cantatas, oratorios and anthems.
Chorale – Wikipedia
Chorale is the name of several related musical forms originating in the music genre of the Lutheran chorale: Hymn tune of a Lutheran hymn, or a tune in a similar format Such tune with a harmonic accompaniment Such a tune presented in a homophonic or homorhythmic harmonisation, usually four-part harmony A more complex setting of a hymn tune The chorale originated when Martin Luther translated sacred songs into the vernacular language, contrary to the established practice of church music.
Étude | music | Britannica
Étude, (French: “study”) in music, originally a study or technical exercise, later a complete and musically intelligible composition exploring a particular technical problem in an esthetically satisfying manner. Although a number of didactic pieces date from earlier times, including vocal solfeggi and keyboard works. Etudes for Piano (Book 1, 1985; Book 2, 1988–94) are notable later examples.
Fugue – Wikipedia
In music, a fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and which recurs frequently in the course of the composition, A fugue usually has three main sections: an exposition, a development and a final entry that contains the return of the subject in the in the fugue’s tonic key.
Mazurka | dance | Britannica
Mazurka, Polish folk dance for a circle of couples, characterized by stamping feet and clicking heels and traditionally danced to the music of a village band. The music is in 34 or 38 time. Polonaise (Mus) A stately Polish dance tune, in 3-4 measure, beginning always on the beat with a quaver followed by a crotchet, and closing on the beat after a strong accent on the second beat.
Nocturne | music | Britannica
Nocturne, (French: “Nocturnal”), in music, a composition inspired by, or evocative of, the night, and cultivated in the 19th century primarily as a character piece for piano. The form originated with the Irish composer John Field, who published the first set of nocturnes in 1814, and reached its zenith in the 19 examples of Frédéric Chopin.
Polonaise – Wikipedia
The polonaise (/ p ɒ l ə ˈ n eɪ z /, French: ; Polish: polonez) is a dance of Polish origin, in 3 4 time. Its name is French for “Polish”. The polonaise has a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin. The polonaise is a widespread dance in carnival parties.
Prelude (music) – Wikipedia
A prelude (German: Präludium or Vorspiel; Latin: praeludium; French: prélude; Italian: preludio) is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude may be thought of as a preface. While, during the Baroque era, for example, it may have served as an introduction to succeeding movements of a work that were usually longer and more complex, it may also have been a stand-alone piece of work during the Romantic era. It generally features a small number of rhythmic and melodic motifs that recur through the piece. Stylistically, the prelude is improvisatory in nature. The prelude also may refer to an overture, particularly to those seen in an opera or an oratorio.
Sonata – Wikipedia
Sonata, in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata, a piece sung. The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one .
Sonata | music | Britannica
Sonata, type of musical composition, usually for a solo instrument or a small instrumental ensemble, that typically consists of two to four movements, or sections, each in a related key but with a unique musical character. Sonata (/səˈnɑːtə/; Italian: [soˈnaːta], pl. sonate; from Latin and Italian: sonare [archaic Italian; replaced in the modern language by suonare], “to sound”), in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata (Latin and Italian cantare, “to sing”), a piece sung. The term evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms until the Classical era, when it took on increasing importance. Sonata is a vague term, with varying meanings depending on the context and time period. By the early 19th century, it came to represent a principle of composing large-scale works. It was applied to most instrumental genres and regarded—alongside the fugue—as one of two fundamental methods of organizing, interpreting and analyzing concert music. Though the musical style of sonatas has changed since the Classical era, most 20th- and 21st-century sonatas still maintain the same structure. Sonata form, also called first-movement form or sonata-allegro form, musical structure that is most strongly associated with the first movement of various Western instrumental genres, notably, sonatas, symphonies, and string quartets.
Sonatina | music | Britannica
http://www.britannica.com/art/sonatina-music The term sonatina, pl. sonatine, the diminutive form of sonata, is often used for a short or technically easy sonata.
Symphony | Description, History, & Facts | Britannica
Symphony, a lengthy form of musical composition for orchestra, normally consisting of several large sections, or movements, at least one of which usually employs sonata form (also called first-movement form). Symphonies began to be composed during the Classical period in European music history, about 1740–1820.