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Classical Music 1/2

In the playlist below you will find music tracks from our music catalogue for royalty-free Production Music or Stock Music with the keyword "classical music", which can be licensed directly online via the Proud Music Library as background music for commercials, ads on TV, In-Stream-ads or movie and radio spots. It is also possible to download mp3 files in reduced quality for free to present them internally. Use is only permitted after the purchase of a license. If you have any questions regarding licensing, please contact us by phone at ++49 (0)6132 43 088 30 or by email at

The songs on this page may NOT be used without a license. Please purchase a license according to the intended use! Thank you very much!


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48 tracks, registered with a PRO

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1 tracks, not registered with a PRO
48 tracks, registered with a PRO
 1    of 2

Classical music is the skilled music produced by, or rooted in, Western ecclesiastical and secular music traditions, roughly from the Middle Ages to the present day. The core rules of this tradition were established in the period 1550-1900. The majority of the compositions are notated in one way or another. More strictly, classical music is understood to mean the music from the period of classicism, ca. 1730-1820. The term classical music is used as a synonym for art music or serious music, as a counterpart to popular music (light music) and folk music. In terms of a qualitative classification, the term is no longer used today. Classical music is not only meant to be 'serious', but has many forms of consumer music: for music education, entertainment, dance and musical theatre. In addition, music tradition and modern musical forms, in particular jazz and electronic music, influence each other and produce a large number of hybrid forms that can no longer be fitted into the classical-popular scheme. Non-western musical cultures are also referred to as classical music, in order to distinguish the older traditions from modern popular music, as in Indian culture (Indian classical music) and China (Chinese classical music).

History of classical music

The history of classical music is divided into a number of periods.


The current scale used in Western music, consisting of 12 tones, has developed in general historically from 3 tones around 1 tone, to 5 tones (the pentatonic), then to 7 tones (the diatonic) and finally to 12 tones (chromatic). The history of Western music begins with a diatonic from the (middle)-east and around ancient Greece.

No scores of Ancient Greek music have been preserved, although reconstructions can be made on the basis of surviving descriptions. An important composer, of whom some hymns have been preserved, is Mesomedes of Crete (first century AD). Much less of Roman music has been preserved: only one phrase, reconstructed in the Renaissance from a play by Terentius.

The most important influence that Antiquity had on the development of classical music is of a music-theoretical nature. Pythagoras constructed his diatonic scale with pure pure fifths. Aristoxenos was the first music theorist to distinguish between different scales.

Early Middle Ages (500-1000)

In the early Middle Ages, the development of classical music was linked to the development of church music. The melodies sung in the church came mainly from Asia. These melodies underwent a change: they were stripped of their decorations, so that only the most important tones remained. These chants were collected and codified from the 6th century onwards by order of Pope Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604). Since then, this collection has been known as Gregorian music: all unison songs.

Middle Ages (1000-1450)

The most important innovation in the Middle Ages is polyphony, the polyphony. Since in polyphony the third is the most important interval, a new scale had to be constructed, based on the consonance of thirds. A system of musical notation was also gradually developed, in which the note was scored as a point (Latin: punctus) on a bar with lines. In polyphonic music, several notes sound simultaneously, note to note (Latin: punctus contra punctus); with the counterpoint, the profession of composer was also born.

The following styles can be distinguished: Organum (11th century), Ars antiqua (ca 1100-1300), Ars nova (ca 1300-1450), Trecento (Italian music from the 14th century) and Ars subtilior (ca 1425-1450).

Renaissance (1450-1600)

The musical developments in the Renaissance can be summarised as follows: changes in the notation system (more 'open', white notation than black); in addition to religious, more and more profane and instrumental music; stricter rules regarding consonance and dissonance; more attention for the relationship between text and music; international distribution of the polyphonic repertoire, among other things due to the rise and success of the music print. In the Renaissance it was mainly the composers from the Low Countries (Belgium and Northern France) who were responsible for these innovations. Important names - out of more than a hundred that can be quoted - are Guillaume Dufay, Johannes Ockeghem, Pierre de la Rue, Jacob Obrecht, Nicolas Gombert, Clemens non Papa, Adriaan Willaert, Orlandus Lassus (Roland de Lassus, Orlando di Lasso), Josquin des Prez and Philippus de Monte. The last great Renaissance composer was the Roman Palestrina (1525-1594).

Baroque (1600-1750)

Around 1600 the style of the composed music changed in less than five years time. The monody with its system of basso continuo, and the harmony are introduced, and so are the cadenzas. In this period most modern musical instruments are developed: the bowed instruments (albeit with a shorter bow) and the wind instruments (albeit without the modern valve system). Until the Baroque era, the most important developments were always linked to a predominantly vocal performance practice. From the Baroque period, instrumental music took over this leading role.

The baroque period in music is generally considered to end with the death of Bach in 1750.

Classicism (1750-1820)

Classical music takes its name from the period of classicism. In music history, however, it is very short, and consists mainly of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven (First Viennese School).

One of the most important innovations, originally from the so-called Mannheimer Schule, is the integral use of signs to note the dynamics (such as p for soft and f for strong, loud). Furthermore, the music remains mainly tonal, but undergoes a major change: the counterpoint is gradually being replaced by harmony and the pianoforte is making a strong advance, paving the way for the piano's triumphal march.

In the period of classicism, new forms emerge: the sonata form, the symphony; and new formations: the string quartet and the (then still small) symphony orchestra.

Romanticism (1815-1910)

In the romantic period of classical music, composers make ever larger compositions with ever more notes, more difficult rhythms and ever more complex harmonic developments. They use many and strange musical instruments that have not been used before. A lot of drama and emotion can be heard. It's all about what people feel, fantasy and nature.

The tendency of musical developments in the 19th century came from the idea of progress in the Enlightenment, and led to ever larger works, larger orchestras, more virtuoso playing techniques on improved musical instruments and ever more complex harmonic developments.

Classical music from the 20th century, the European classical music from after 1900 has a wide variation, starting with the late romantic style of Sergei Rachmaninov, the impressionism of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and continued by Béla Bartók and the Neoclassicism of Igor Stravinsky to the opposite serialism of Pierre Boulez, the minimalist music of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, the musique concrète of Pierre Schaeffer, the microtonal music of Harry Partch and the aleatory music of John Cage, the electronic music of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The general similarity of all these different genres is the increasing use of dissonance in the composition. For this reason, the 20th century is sometimes called the dissonant period.

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