Romantic artists try to share feelings and tell stories with their art. Opera and ballet were loved in the Romantic Era because they combined story telling with music. Nature and folk stories were favourite themes of Romantic artists and freedom and love were the highest values.
To show different feelings in their music, composers tried all sorts of new ideas. Long melodies often included big jumps. New sounding chords were used, often with many “unusual” (chromatic) notes. Freedom in music meant many changes in time signature, key signature, tempo and dynamic. Extremes (high/low, fast/slow, loud/soft) were very common. Composers began to use ff, pp and even fff or ppp!
Music on Naxos Online:
The Story of Classical Music (This is really fantastic, listen to the whole thing over and over if you can!)
Fawkes History of Classical Music (Romantic is Disc 3)
Discover music of the Romantic Era (More of the Discover series here)
Classical Music Start-Up Kit: Vol 2
Carnival of the Animals, Peter & the Wolf, Young Persons guide to the Orchestra
Listen to music on YouTube: (excerpts of famous pieces with a picture of the composer)
History of Music – Part VII (Classical to Romantic)
Hisotry of Music – Part VIII (Romantic)
History of Music – Part IX (Romantic)
History of Music – Part X (Romantic)
History of Music – Part XI (Romantic)
Info for adults:
This powerpoint is pretty dry, specifically about literature but applies equally to music. The first 2min and last minute give you a good idea of the content.