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What makes a piece of music Romantic?

Lara J Carim13 May 2013

Would you describe the piece of music below as Romantic, romantic, or both?

> Extracts from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 ‘Pathétique’

The answer, as with most model humanities essays, is of course ‘that depends’ – on whether we are talking strictly about the Romantic period within the history of Western classical music, or whether we simply experience the music as inspired and embodied by strong feelings.

Romantic music with a capital ‘R’ – European music composed roughly between 1810 and 1870 – can be fairly easily classified according to a set of musical characteristics, such as heavy use of stringed orchestral instruments, changes of key and unresolved chords – but capturing what makes a piece of music stir us is much harder to identify – and a challenge that Professor Christopher Peacocke set himself in the first musical event of the Festival of the Arts on 8 May.

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UCL Year 12 conference

news editor29 June 2012

UCL porticoYear 12 students interested in studying the arts, humanities or the social sciences flocked to UCL for a human rights-themed conference on 19 June.

The event programme featured lectures and seminars on philosophy, law, archaeology and history, and stimulated the following selection of student responses.

Khadija Koroma
Should the UK give an official apology for its part in the slave trade? This is just one of the many questions that was discussed in the UCL year 12 conference. To most, their initial answer to the question was “yes”, but after having discussed such a controversial issue in the history seminar and lecture, many were left undecided.

This was due to the fact that today there are approximately 12–27 million slaves in the world – a figure that far outnumbers the 3.1 million Africans enslaved during the slave trade. Therefore, instead of apologising for something our generation did not play a part in, we should be trying to resolve the issue of slavery that is getting worse everyday.

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