The Romantic Period originated towards the end of the 18th century with its peak around 1850 and extending into the early twentieth century. Romanticism arose as a reaction to the industrial revolution, the Age of Enlightenment and progress in science. This shift in thinking and expression had a significant influence on politics, leading to liberalism, radicalism and more significantly, nationalism. A huge development was the rise of the middle classes, as artists were no longer living on the patronage of the aristocracy nor creating music for the taste of small upper class audience. Music began to be composed for the average person to enjoy, increasing audience numbers and making music publishing more widespread.
Romantic Music was dominated in particular by the romantic movement in Germany, where expressionism became a fundamental element in all artistic forms. Fascination with nature, myths and legends, the sublime and nationalistic sentiment were to be found in literature and the visual arts and soon became characteristics of a new era in Western music.