The Romantic period is the musical period roughly from 1820 to 1900, in which emphasis was placed on the individual, on expression of emotion, on the idea that a work of art should be a complete entity and on the pre-eminence of the artist as genius. The music progressed to a freer, more subjective form with increasing chromaticism (see chromatic), the use of folk themes, the introduction of more virtuosic solo music, and larger orchestras. Romanticism is generally reckoned to have begun in the late 1820s and the 1830s, with Berlioz, Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt, and to have ended sometime before World War I, though its implications reverberate in music to this day. Romantic composers sought inspiration in literature and painting; abandoned or greatly modified Classical procedures such as sonata form; produced operas, symphonies, and tone poems of unprecedented duration and scope; vastly expanded the resources of the orchestra; and employed ever more complex, circuitous harmonic designs.


The Late Romantic is music of the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth century which retains the dramatic intensity of earlier nineteenth century music. The music is characterized by the use of vast instrumental forces, increased chromaticism and large-scale compositions. Composers of this period included Wagner, Mahler and Richard Strauss. Rachmaninov, in the slow movement of his Second Symphony (1908), unfurled one of the quintessential Romantic phrases, even as Schoenberg was unleashing the atonal revolution.