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People today have diverse tastes in music and listens to different musicians. You can easily enjoy songs from Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, or any artist you love at the comfort of your laptop or smartphone. You may ask, however, what about the 18 century and who are the top performers at the time? 

Musicians then used different instruments for their works, such as the harp, violin, and most importantly, the piano, where you can check out for more info here. Now, let’s take a look and know the most significant musicians of the 18th century.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91)

A prominent figure of the Viennese classical school, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is often regarded as the greatest musical genius of all time. Mozart is the only composer to create output and excel in almost all of the musical genres during his time. Rumored to be a child prodigy, Mozart began his career playing music at the age of three and writing music at the age of five. His works were enormous, considering his short life. These outputs include 16 operas, five violin, and 27 piano concertos, 41 symphonies, 19 masses, and 25 string quartets. Famous compositions include Elvira Madigan, The Marriage of Figaro, and Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K 581.


Handel George Frederic (1685-1759)

A musical atlas of the latter part of the baroque period, the  German-born composer became famous for his oratorios, operas, organ concertos, and anthems. While born in Germany and came from a family indifferent to music, George Frederic Handel spent most of his life in England. Handel first gained intensive training in Hamburg, Halle, and Italy before resolving to stay in London in 1712.


Handel’s music was greatly influenced by the middle-German polyphonic choral music and the Italian Baroque period. With that, he successfully incorporated French, German, English, and Italian musical styles in his creations. These outputs consist of 20 oratorios, 40 operas, a vast number of vocal pieces, instrumental compositions, and church music.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

The German pianist and composer Ludwig van Beethoven is widely considered as the greatest composer of all time. Beethoven connected the 18th-century Classical influence to the start of the Romantic period by extending the Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classical traditions and spiced it up with personal expression. This characteristic became the standard for Romantic musicians who followed him. Music wasn’t easy for Beethoven though unlike his predecessors.


His life and work were marred by progressive deafness. This condition, however, did not hinder him from creating a few of his most significant works on the last ten years of his life. That was the time when it was almost impossible for him to hear. Beethoven’s notable compositions consist of a broad scope of the symphony, concerto, sonata, and quartet. These works include Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, Für Elise, and Moonlight Sonata.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Although he was renowned as a master of many instruments during his life, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach was not placed with high value after his death till the beginning of the 1800s. His compositions signaled the climax of the Baroque period in which new styles and forms sprouted. Bach created thousands of works, mostly in instruction or for churches. His music was formed incorporating parts of the Italian and French orchestral styles, Lutheran chorale and the baroque organ music.


Some of Bach’s notable compositions are the ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ for keyboard, ‘Brandenburg’ concertos for orchestra, the ‘St. John’ and ‘St. Matthew’ passions. Moreover, he also produced around 200 cantatas, the ‘Mass in B Minor,’ and hundreds of other outputs.


Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Dubbed as the father of the string quartet and the symphony, the Austrian composer became instrumental in the rise of Classical music during the 18th century. Joseph Haydn started what the Viennese classical school, along with his colleague Mozart, and his student Beethoven. Haydn lived at the climax of the Baroque period to the start of the Romanticism period, leading the transition between the two musical styles. His unique music blended noble style from France and Italy, elements from the baroque, the sensitive style of the North Germans. As a prolific composer, some notable compositions are the  Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Emperor Quartet, Symphony No. 92 in G Major. His works are often regarded as light, whimsical, and elegant.


Johannes Brahms (1833–97)

While Johannes Brahms was a German pianist and composer during the Romantic era, he was more inclined to the Classical style of music. He produced works on a wide array of genres, which consists of concertos,  symphonies, piano works, choral compositions, chamber music, most reveal the impact of folk music. Some of his notable compositions include the Hungarian Dances and the Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4.


Frédéric Chopin (1810–49)

Frederic Chopin was a Polish-French pianist and composer from the Romantic era. Chopin was part of the limited number of composers who focused work on a single instrument. This choice brought benefits to him as he developed a fine-tuned approach to the keyboard. Through that, Chopin was able to utilize all the potential of the piano and brought innovations such as the pedaling and the fingering. His well-renowned works include the  Heroic Polonaise, Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, B. 49, and the  Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 2 in E-flat Major.


Claude Debussy (1862–1918)

The French musicians Claude Debussy is often dubbed as the father of modern classical music. He created fresh and advanced musical structures and harmonies that fired up comparisons to the complex style of his Symbolist and Impressionist counterparts. His famous works include Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, La Mer, Clair de lune, and the popular opéra Pelléas et Mélisande.


These are the top musicians that brought great contributions to music during the 18th century. They incorporated numerous styles, personal expressions, and used a variety of instruments, which you can check out, that produced the classical we still enjoy today.