Composers of the Classical period, 1720 AD and 1800 AD, became less interested in the counterpoint that dominated the baroque period and opted for a simpler, more refined, melody and accompaniment type texture. The classical period saw the emergence of public concerts, and what the concert goers wanted to hear was music that was expressive, immediately pleasing, and free of technical complexity. Many of the characteristics of Classical music had their origins in Italian musical theatre, or comic opera.
During the classical period music also took on more clearly defined harmonic and formal structures. Musical phrases no longer flowed from one to the other, as the had in baroque music, but tended to have definite beginnings and ending. Composers were more concerned with form than with expression, and musical phrases where built around harmonic progressions (chord changes) rather than melody and counterpoint.
Sonata form and several important musical genres were also developed during the classical period, such as the classical Concerto, the instrumental Sonata, the String Quartet, and the Symphony. These would become the bedrock of music for the next 300 years and have made somewhat of a revival more recently.