Romanticism in art and literature evolved in the second half of the 19th century. It embodied individuality, feelings, imagination and emotions, and a break from formality.

In music, the romantic period followed the trend in the spheres of art and literature. The emphasis in this style is on expressing feelings, with less restraint and formality than that of the earlier classic period. The music of Brahms and Mendelssohn builds on strong classical roots, but extending these with vaster ranges of pitch, tone colour, dynamics and tempo variation. Many Austrian and German composers were inspired by the beautiful alpine scenery of the Austrian Tyrol, as in the photo on the left, from Schmittenhohe, near Zell-Am-See..  The music of Wagner and Berlioz breaks more decisively from classical tradition, and is totally devoted to outpouring of emotion and drama.   

The romantic period is the richest period in musical history, with many new forms developed, such as the symphonic poem and tone-poem,  the music-drama, and the 'song without words'. Composers were inspired by distant lands, exotic cultures, picturesque scenes, and extreme emotions such as rapture and longing, melancholy, flamboyance, patriotism and romantic love.

Numerous superb composers wrote in this style, among them Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Chopin,  and Schumann.