Romantic Period Vocal Music

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What is a libretto in the context of an opera?

The text of an opera

What is the term for a solo singing part sung by a principal character in an opera?


What is the term for declamatory singing in opera?


Who is considered the last of the Classical composers and one of the first Romantic ones?

Franz Peter Schubert

What is the term for the main divisions of an opera?


What is the basic quality of the Romantic Period in music?

Emotional subjectivity

What is the German term for a composition for solo voice and piano?


What is the name of the musical composition written for solo voice and piano, inspired by poetry?

Art song

What do virtuoso performers in the Romantic Period include?

Both instrumentalists and singers

What is the purpose of understanding the past in music?

To appreciate the things we enjoy today

What is a characteristic of vocal music in the Romantic Period?

Greater range of tone color, dynamics, and pitch

What is the inspiration of Romantic artists, as reflected in their subjects?

Traditional myths, legends, and folklore

Study Notes


  • Opera became an important source of musical expression during the Romantic period.
  • It converged various arts, including music, poetry, painting, architecture, and dance.
  • Opera is characterized by elaborate costumes, scenery, and choreography.

Components of an Opera

  • Libretto: The text of an opera, written by a librettist in collaboration with a composer.
  • Score: The book containing musical notes, words, and ideas to help performers tell the story.
  • Recitative: Declamatory singing used in prose parts and dialogue of opera.
  • Aria: A solo singing part sung by a principal character, often memorable and impactful.
  • Acts: Main divisions of an opera.
  • Scene: Setting or place in an opera.

Opera Composer of The Romantic Period

  • Franz Peter Schubert:
    • Developed lieder (German songs) with a powerful dramatic impact.
    • Considered the last of the Classical composers and one of the first Romantic ones.
    • Famous vocal music works include "Gretchen am Spinnrade", "Erlkonig", "Ellens Gesang III" ("Ave Maria"), and "Schwanenge sang" ("Swan Song").
    • Born on January 31, 1797, in Himmelpfortgrund, Austria, and died in 1828 in Vienna, Austria, at the age of 31.
  • Giuseppe Verdi:
    • Associated with Romantic opera, featuring ordinary people as characters.
    • Insisted on a good libretto, emphasizing the importance of the text.

Vocal Music of the Romantic Period

  • Characteristics:
    • Emotional subjectivity.
    • Exploration of feelings, such as grandiosity, intimacy, unpredictability, sadness, rapture, and longing.
  • Romantic Vocal Forms:
    • Art song and opera, often featuring fantasy, supernatural, romance, and nature as a mirror of the human heart.
    • Virtuoso performers, including singers, who can sound like multiple characters by using different vocal registers.
  • Inspiration:
    • Poems, mood, atmosphere, and imagery.
    • Landscapes and traditional myths, legends, and folklore, often dealing with the supernatural.
  • Requirements:
    • Singers need to perform a greater range of tone color, dynamics, and pitch.

Explore the world of vocal music during the Romantic Period, characterized by emotional subjectivity and exploring feelings of grandiosity, intimacy, and more. Learn about the art song and operas of this era, which often featured fantasy, supernatural, and romantic themes. Test your knowledge of this period's unique musical expressions!

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