The Classical era begins about 1735 and ends around 1825, overlapping a little with the surrounding periods of late Baroque and early Romantic music. Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than baroque music and is less complex.
Armide at the Palais-Royal by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin:
Variety of keys, melodies, rhythms and dynamics (crescendo, diminuendo), along with frequent changes of mood and timbre were more commonplace in the classical period. The orchestra increased in size and range, the harpsichord was replaced by the piano, and the woodwind became a self-contained section.
Forms such as the concerto and sonata were more heavily defined and given more specific rules. The symphony was a form created in this period.
Joseph Haydn Playing Quartets by Anonimous:
The best-known composers from this period are Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Luigi Boccherini, Muzio Clementi, Antonio Soler, Antonio Salieri, François Joseph Gossec, Johann Stamitz, Carl Friedrich Abel, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and Christoph Willibald Gluck.