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How is Harold in Italy Romantic?

It is important to understand why the piece Harold in Italy: movement III can be considered a romantic piece. Below are reasons why it can be considered romantic. You may also want to look at The Romantic Era.

  • The music is inspired by non-musical material being a poem by Byron.
  • It is the introduction to program music. 
  • Expresses the wider range of feelings and emotions than what Baroque and Classical does.
  • Orchestra developed and expanded especially in the brass and percussion sections.
  • Unusual instruments play the melody such as the Viola part that was meant to be for a virtuoso but was claimed to not be difficult enough for a virtuoso player.
  • Melody lines are more lyrical (cantabile).
  • Use of extended chords (7ths, 9ths, 11ths, diminished 7ths and augmented 6ths).
  • The harmony is more chromatic and discordant (dissonant). This was used to portray strong emotions and feelings.
  • Rise of the virtuoso player. Rise of nationalism.
  • The use of saltarello rhythms.
  • Dynamics are more strong and varied.
  • There is a wide contrast in keys.
  • There is more freedom for the composer in the structure and form. For example, Harold in Italy can be seen as a symphony and a concerto as it contains features of both.

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