Generally speaking, a composition in which the "free
flight of fancy" prevails over contemporary conventions of form,
style, etc. Naturally, the term covers a great variety of types,
which may be tentatively classified as five groups.
1) Pieces of a markedly improvisory
character; written records, as it were, of the improvisation technique
of the various masters.
Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia"
pieces of the romantic era. Here "fantasia" is one
of the various titles used to indicate a dreamlike
mood or some other fanciful whim.
Mozart's "Fantasia in D minor for piano"
Beethoven's "Fantasia", op. 77
Brahms' "Fantasien", op. 116
3) Sonatas in freer form, or of a special
Schubert's "Wanderer Fantasie", op. 15
4) Operatic potpourris of a free
and somewhat improvisory treatment, as if written
in remembrance of a performance
Schumann's "Fantasie", op. 17
Liszt's "Reminiscences de Don Juan"
5) In the 16th and 17th centuries,
a term for instrumental music that was sometimes
used interchangeably with ricercar.
These were written for the lute, for keyboard instruments, and for instrumental