Style is the sum of all the elements and techniques used in music, its “final” look. The concept of style includes harmonic, melodic, polyphonic and rhythmic material, methods of its use, as well as the form, instrumentation and other factors that determine the nature of a musical work, the impression it makes on the listener. Styles are usually classified by composer and by era. For example, we can talk about the “Bach style”, referring to the harmonic, melodic, polyphonic, rhythmic and other material that is characteristic of most of Bach’s works; In comparison with this norm, the features, for example, “Beethoven’s style” are more pronounced. In addition, Bach was one of the largest composers of the 18th century. and in many ways reproduced the norms that were characteristic of other authors of that era, so we can talk about the “18th century style”, meaning “the style of most composers of this time, including Bach”.
The term musical style defines a system of means of musical expression, which serves to embody a certain ideological and figurative content. The commonality of stylistic features in musical works is based on socio-historical conditions, the worldview and attitude of composers, their creative method, as well as the general laws of the musical-historical process. Accordingly, they distinguish a historical, national, individual style.
An experienced listener is free to navigate the system of styles and thanks to this better understands music. He easily distinguishes, for example, dissected, strict and harmonious, almost architectural forms of musical classicism from the flowing massiveness of baroque, feels the national character of music by S. S. Prokofiev, M. Ravel, A.I. Khachaturian, by the very first sounds, determines which piece of the composer is performed.
Musical styles are associated with styles of other arts. How similar, for example, are pieces filled with graceful and gallant decorations for the harpsichord of French composers of the 18th century. J. F. Rameau and F. Couperin on Rococo painting permeated with small curls of lines! How close is the music of C. Debussy, one of the prominent representatives of musical impressionism, painting, inspired by the vibration of light, flickering strokes, fogging solid contours of objects! These connections also enrich the understanding of music.
The originality of styles is revealed in the distinguishing features, they bring together various works of the same style, while at the same time delimiting them from music of other styles. Signs of style permeate decisively all aspects of music – texture, rhythm, melody, harmony, etc.
But style is not limited to the sum of the distinguishing features of content and form. It is a living unity, and not a mechanical set will accept. It is this spiritual depth, the uniqueness of the composer expressed in the work of the worldview that attracts us. We clearly feel, for example, the restless and dreamy soul of romance in the music of F. Chopin, R. Schumann, F. Liszt, G. Berlioz. In the energy of rhythm, the rigidity of the harmony of musical works of the 1910s. clearly the emergence of a new attitude, characteristic of the style of the XX century.
The most distinctly contemplative basis is revealed in an individual style. After all, composing music, the composer puts his whole soul into it, lives the same fate with the heroes of his works. And therefore there is nothing surprising in the fact that his mentality, temperament, character, prevailing moods, worldview, and the method of creativity itself are expressed in music. Many statements by L. Beethoven, for example, reveal the main thing in his personality – the desire to overcome difficulties, to struggle. And in his music, a strong-willed impulse is often heard, encountering obstacles that overcome them. The letters of the Russian composer A.K. Lyadov reveal him as a contemplative nature, calmly admiring beauty. Love for the finest sound recordings is also found in his musical heritage.
To better understand the originality of the musical style, you need to listen to several works. A single composition, especially a miniature, will present us with a hero in a single situation, for example, at the moment of delight with the beauty of nature. But what will he be like in a moment of deepest grief, how will he prove himself in a life struggle full of dangers? Style, however, expresses an attitude not to one situation, but to life in general, to the world. This worldview depth – the spiritual essence of style – will be revealed only when one is acquainted with different works.
In the historical development of styles, the listener will see the path of the spiritual quest for humanity, an ever deeper and more complete understanding of changing reality, the formation of new human ideals.