Romantic music? Is this music all about love?

Well it could be. But it could also be about hate. For romantic music is all about feelings. It is about trying to express strong feelings in music.

Haven’t people always tried to express feelings in music? Well, yes. What is different about romantic music is how strong the feeling are. The whole reason for writing the music is also different. Earlier music (such as baroque, or music from the classical period) was often written for the church or simply for entertainment. If this music happened to express feelings as well, then all the better! On the other hand, many romantic composers were not too worried about entertaining (or the church for that matter). They simply wrote their music to express their feelings, and that was it. The audience was left to take it or leave it!

Romantic music is the type of music that comes after the music of the classical period. It is music from about the years 1820 to 1910. This time is known as the romantic period. Like other the earlier types of music, not all romantic music belongs to the romantic period. Some composers lived outside the romantic period but still wrote romantic music. One example is Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943). On the other hand, composers who lived near the beginning of the romantic period were very confused indeed! Or rather, we are very confused about them today because we don’t know where they belong. One example is Franz Schubert (1797–1828).

And it’s all Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770–1827) fault! He started it off. Beethoven wrote the first romantic music. Beethoven wrote the first music where he didn’t really care what the audience thought. And the audience was shocked! It’s hard to imagine now, but they really were. Beethoven’s first piece like this was his Symphony No. 3, commonly called the Eroica Symphony (heroic in Italian). You can a video of part of this on the Beethoven page.

Apart from Beethoven, it’s hard to choose the greatest romantic composer. My preference is Richard Wagner (1813–1883), but a lot of people would say Johannes Brahms (1833–1897).

Other famous romantic composers include

I have listed a lot because romantic composers are probably the most famous composers of all (after Mozart and Bach).

So what is romantic music like?

What are the common features? Well, there is a short answer to this question. Romantic music has all features of music from the classical period, but with much more of it! This means:

  • The tunes get longer and stronger.
  • The louds get louder and the quiets get quieter.
  • The mood changes are much bigger and happen more often.
  • The orchestras get bigger.
  • The music goes on for a longer time.
  • There is more music with the same names as music from the classical period. So there are a lots of symphonies, sonatas, and concertos. There is also music with some new names, such as symphonic poems.

Try listening to some romantic music and see if you can begin to recognise the style! This is the only way to understand any style of music properly. Here’s an example to get you started. It’s Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1

Picture credits:
  1. An example of romantic art. This painting is called ‘The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ and was painted in 1818 by Caspar David Friedrich. The image is in the public doman. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. Yuja Wang_Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (Op. 23)
    Yuja Wang (piano)
    Hannu Lintu (conductor)
    Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Helsinki Music Centre Concert Hall (7 September 2012)

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Olivia 19th April 2013

Cool how Beethoven started the Romantic Era and ended the Classical Era… looked up this website for a school assignment. 😉

2 josh 30th April 2013

Hi im researching romantic music for my class and it is AMAZING!!!

3 fred 29th May 2013

Needed this for my School Report on Romantic era and it really helped!

4 Ally 16th August 2013

this really really helped with my essay on Romantic Period music, thank you

5 Jeffrey Huang 18th November 2013

Im researchying and my teacher found this Goood job this will help.

6 abby 14th March 2014

I had to do a report on the Romantic era and this helped a ton!!!!

7 daisy 5th June 2014

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8 Tia 30th October 2014

Thank you I had a assignment for choir and this really helped!!

9 ayomide 16th November 2014

i have to reasearch a genre of music and this really helped.thanks!

10 Jhovie Sabz.. 17th November 2014

I’ve research Romantic Music and this example was very wonderful. It really help for my report.

11 Adam Clark 24th November 2014

love this era of music. brings a tear to my eye 🙁

12 Joshua Garcia IV 26th November 2014

the information helps so much, I have to do an assessed poster and this helps me soo much.

13 sally 26th November 2014

wow this was amazing thank you so much

14 Jack McVey 1st December 2014

makes my heart melt with every note . Well done Mr. Beethoven 🙂

15 John McGlobe 11th December 2014

My son told me about this website and i have gave him credit where credits due. I was mesmirised by the work of Beethoven and the others from this musical time frame. Brava to whom ever created this Wonderful site!!!!!!!!

16 Sharon Clark 11th December 2014

This is my favourite era of music, right up there with Baroque. I wish that I had lived during the days of Beethoven so that I could go see on of his performances live 🙂

17 Pheobe 15th December 2014


18 Eve 23rd February 2015

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19 Josie 2nd March 2015

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20 bob 13th March 2015


21 shayla 21st April 2015

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22 Liyah 23rd April 2015

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23 Amy 25th April 2015

Thank you so much! I am doing a piano competition and this helped! You translated it to a language I actually understand!

24 Dylan 28th May 2015

This is an amazing website for music teachers to show their students!

25 Ellen 28th November 2015

I needed to find some interesting facts about the romantic era for my music project and now I have tons, thanks.

26 Nathalia 10th December 2015

This is really wonderful! Thanks!

27 Benni 10th January 2016

this website helped a lot for my school project on the different music eras

28 Tara 25th March 2016

I have to write a paper on the Romantic era, and this helped a TON! So glad I found this website

29 Isabela 28th March 2016

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31 Afonso 2nd April 2016

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32 jane 4th April 2016

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33 milky 28th April 2016

hello, thankyou for this website

34 Jack 16th May 2016

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35 Nafi 21st May 2016

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36 Safi 21st May 2016

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37 Ayman 23rd May 2016

Thanks so much I was doing the same assignment as nafi and safi

38 Nailah 25th May 2016

Thanks so much! I’m doing the same assignment as Safi, Nafi and Ayman.

39 Raidah Skye 30th May 2016

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40 Bob 4th June 2016

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41 lou lou 23rd July 2016

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42 Hope 25th July 2016

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43 Lydia Schlobekco 8th August 2016

Great website for a school assignment 🙂

44 Bella 9th August 2016

I love this music!!!!

45 Niya Love 20th September 2016

I like this website because it gives me a lot of information on the Romantic Time Period. I had to this as an assignment for General Music. I had got an 100 percent too. It is very easy to put in your own words as of music. Use this website for any assignment or project!!

46 Alexander McAdams 29th November 2016

I found this really helpful in general music. I felt like i was in the romantic period.

47 Troy 25th January 2017

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48 Rhianna anoymous 25th January 2017

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49 Bailey L 26th January 2017

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50 David 16th February 2017


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