Classical music refers to a style of music based in the European tradition of music, both secular and liturgical. The term has come to characterize music that is viewed as an art form rather than as entertainment or serving some other subsidiary function.
As with most Western music, classical music is generally in written form, using staff notation, such that the performance (i.e., pitch, speed and meter) of a piece is a literal interpretation, and improvisation or embellishment by the artist is limited.
Other qualities attributed to classical music include the use of a variety of orchestral instruments (e.g., piano, violin, clarinet), the use of intricate form and composition, an advanced technical proficiency in its artistic performance and exclusivity in taste and appeal.
Classical music is often described in terms of the historic period of its composition with the Medieval (6th through 15th centuries) and Renaissance (15th through 17th centuries) periods describing the Early Era, and the Baroque (1600–1750), Classical (1750–1830) and Romantic (1815–1910) eras delineating the Common Practice Period.
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