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  • Although traditional in many respects, he was fond of experimentation, particularly concerning formal structure
  • Embraced the grace and elegance of pre-classical style but also the dramatic contrasts of strum und drang
  •  a humorous or whimsical nature is revealed in many of his works, for examples Symphony no 45 “Farewell”, and Symphony no 94 “Surprise”
  •  often used a monothematic exposition in his sonata-form movement
  •  considered the “father of the string quartet”, he developed this new chamber music genre to its higher level
  •  influenced by folk music as evidenced in his use of rustic melodies, pizzicato strings(suggesting a guitar) and pedal points (suggested bagpipes)
  •  contributed to the development of sonata form; often included dramatic slow introductions
  • used vivid word painting in masses and oratorios
  • dramatic elements included sudden accents and bold changes of chords or keys( for example loud C major chord in The creation to depict the word “light”)


  • symphonies: over 100, No 94 “Surprise”, No 95 “Farewell”, No 101 “Clock”, No 104 “London”
  • concertos: for piano, violin, cello, horn and trumpets string quartets: 68, op.76 No2 “Quinten”, op.76 No 3 “ Kaiser”
  • piano sonatas: over 40
  • oratorios: The Creation, The Season, The Seven Last Words of Christ
    sacred vocal works: masses, Lord Nelson Mass, Mass in the Time of War
  • operas: 14, Armida
  • novelties: marionette theater works, compositions for the now-obsolete string instruments baryton


  • Opera in 18th was the most popular form of entertainment
  • Opera seria developed to the point that the end of the century Handel’s opera seria was undermined by the unparalleled success of the John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, ballad was sung entirely in English.
  • Comic opera opera buffa: La serva padroma, “The Servant is Master”- Giovanni Pergolesi, Il matrimonio segreto “The Secret Marriage”- Domenico Cimarosa, and also master Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.