Romantic/Nationalistic Period

Romantic from c. the start of the 19th century
Nationalistic from c. 1840


Mid 19th century onward.  Music which, instead of relying solely on its
melodies and harmonic structure as an appeal to the listener, attempts
by use of more modern harmony (one might say ‘lush’ chords),
big passionate tunes (e.g. the melodies of Tschaikowsy and
Rachmaninoff) and terraces of tone to draw out the
emotions of the listener.

Much of this genre of music often has a descriptive (programmatic) element to it -
attempting to describe a person, scene, place or idea etc..


Same time period.   In addition, the composer is trying to portray in his music
the soul of his country for which he bears great regard and love.
He will use, then, perhaps some folk melodies or dance rhythms
of his race and will portray in his work passages which possibly
describe rivers, vast plains, mountainous terrain, bustling cities
and great architecture as well as the mood of his people.

So, every nationalist is a romantic BUT
every romantic composer is not necessarily a nationalist.


Schubert (Austrian)
Weber (German)
Rossini (Italian)
Bellini (Italian)
Berlioz (French)
Mendelssohn (German)
Schumann (German)
Verdi (Italian)
Liszt (Hungarian)
Gounod (French)
Wagner (German)
Parry (English)
Franck (French)
Brahms (Austrian)
Bizet (French)
Tschaikowsky (Russian)
Faure (French)
Elgar (English)
Puccini (Italian)
Debussy (French) IMPRESSIONIST
Ravel (French)     IMPRESSIONIST
Chopin (Polish)
Smetana (Czech)
Dvorak (Czech)
Wagner (German)
Greig (Norwegian)
Brahms (Austrian)
Borodin (Russian)                 ]
Cui (Russian)                        ]
Balakirev (Russion)               ]  "The Five"
Moussorgsky (Russian)          ]
Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian)   ]
Albeniz (Spanish)
Janacek (Hungarian)
Sibelius (Finnish)
Granados (Spanish)
Parry (English)
Elgar (English)


art songs of various nations
opera (especially the
music drama of Wagner)
concert overture
tone poem
programme music

variation form
ballet as part of an opera
ballet as a separate art form


full symphony orchestra - often augmented
the pianoforte
the saxophone family
brass band intruments
(e.g Bb euphonium, Bb baritone, Eb horm)


leit motif of Wagner
l'idee fixe of Berlioz
the whole tone scale

embedded track: Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G min. (Dvorak)