The Baroque Period The Baroque term comes from the Portuguese word barroom, which meaner misshapen pearl Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined baroque music as that in which the harmony is confused, charged with modulations and dissonances, the melody is harsh and little natural, the intonation difficult, and the movement constrained. The Baroque period was highly decorated and it reflects on the elaborate nature and complexity of the music compositions. Others have likened Baroque music to listening to multiple people having a conversation at the same time.
Baroque music as also applied to other forms of fine art, including architecture It was thought to have started in about 1570 as the music of the Renaissance changed to a more Baroque style There is more agreement that the Baroque period ended at the middle of the eighteenth century. The Baroque music era was a period that witnessed many advances in knowledge and changes in culture. Protestant Reformation had changed the landscape of religion and theology in Europe. Europe had turned toward rationalism and humanism to guide policies and philosophy.
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The Baroque period is he first to be among the musical pieces that people today are generally familiar with. Characteristics of Baroque Music Composers and musicians during this time thought of themselves more as craftsmen than artists. They often made their living through patrons or individuals who supported them in exchange for their music. Patrons included not only the wealthy in society, but also the nobility and the church. The music of this period was often composed for specific circumstances, whether it was a party or a religious event.
Some composers also worked as music tutors, composing easier compositions for heir students. Because of the deliberate and specific reasons for compositions, individual pieces were not generally thought of as great compositions that would be played over and over and have a lasting impact. The pieces that were like the improvised music we find in society today that unique pieces of music to be played, but not generally remembered beyond today. Figured Bass The music during this time was actually quite diverse and varied.
Scholars often separate and categorize Baroque music into early, middle, and late Baroque music or into Italian, German, French, and English music. In both music and art of the period, artists were concerned with describing emotions and feelings. Figured bass- A musical notation using numbers to indicate chords, intervals, and other aspects in relation to the bass note of the music. Basso continuo- a harmony of the music, an instrument that was capable of playing chords played the basso continuo, such as a harpsichord, organ, or harp.
The musician playing the basso continuo structure would play the bass note indicated in the harmony and then add in other notes on the chord as needed. The figured bass then helped the musician playing the basso Antonio by giving numbers under the bass note to indicate which chords should be played in that spot. Ornamentation and Orchestras Ornamentation- the use of non-necessary musical flourishes, such as trills and grace notes, to the basic melody or harmony. Many composers used extensive ornamentation in their pieces. Grace notes are notes that are not counted in the total time value.
Baroque music also tends to focus on one emotion in a single piece. The emotion that the piece is trying to capture or describe is the music’s effects. Orchestras- larger instrumental ensembles or groups that contain brass, string, recursion, and woodwind instruments. Forms of Baroque Music Baroque music featured a number of different forms or types of music. Music scholars call the plan that a composer has in mind when composing a piece of form a form. Form helps to give structure to a composition, and composers often combined one or more forms of music as they created new types of music.
Opera Poppers can be defined as a dramatic work in which singers and musicians use both a musical score and a text or libretto. Composers combined a broad comedy with tragic elements. The comedic operas come to be known as opera buff Opera series- A very stylized and puts a greater emphasis on the experienced and masterful singer. Oratorios- Similar to operas. They are concert pieces rather than a form of musical theater. They tended to be more serious and dramatic. They were large-scale compositions, including soloists, choirs, and orchestras.
The Instrumental Suite Instrumental suite- A series of dances Prelude: This is a shorter piece that comes before the other parts of the instrumental suite. Allemande: This piece is a moderate tempo dance which derived from German dances. Originally, this was the first piece of the instrumental suite, but over time, the ruled took the first spot. Often regarded as a serious dance, the allemande was characterized by couples forming two lines and parading back and forth in the room. Current: This piece is a triple meter, fast-paced dance.
Literally, the word current meaner “running. ” Serenade: This piece is usually a slow triple meter dance, slower and more grave than the original Spanish dance that it is based on. Segue: This piece is a fast dance in 6/8 time. Originating in the British Isles, it is somewhat reminiscent of the Irish Gig. Some compositions included additional pieces, such as some of the ones listed here: Hornpipe: This piece is a fast, lively dance. It is said to have been created aboard English sailing vessels and the movements are those that a sailor might do as part of his duties.
Minuet or Minuet: This piece is one of the best known of the Baroque instrumental suites. The minuet is a social dance for a couple. Gavotte: This piece has a moderate to fast tempo. The dance is French in origin. Air or rare: This piece is simple and written for either instrument or voice. English lute Ares were popular in the court of Elizabeth I during the sixteenth century. Bourne: This piece is played at a moderate to lively tempo. Handel often used a fast tempo in the pieces that he composed. Of French origin, the Bourne is similar to the Gavotte.
Paean: This piece is a slower processional dance. Baroque Composers Claudio Monteverdi- His work serves as the point where Renaissance music ends and Baroque music begins. He was a transitional figure between the two eras, using characteristics of both musical time periods in his work. He also wrote one of the earliest operas. He was born in northern Italy and his early learning in music came about through his participation in a cathedral choir. His earlier pieces includes sacred madrigals He composed and published a book of this musical form.
The Taboo Libra, was his eighth madrigal publication, and it is regarded by some to be the perfect example of this form of music His music is divided into different parts covering the themes of love and war. For many years he served in the court of Mantra At first he served as a musician and singer, before becoming a court conductor Later in his life he became a priest and he continued to compose He died in 1643 Antonio Vivaldi- Is regarded by many to be one of the greatest composers during the Baroque period. His influences spread across Europe and he was well known for his instrumental concertos.
One of the most famous violin concertos is The Four Seasons He was born in Italy in 1678 He was ill child but still managed to learn how to play the violin and began to study for the priesthood at 15 years of age. He became priest in 1703, when he was 25 years old. With the color of his hair he got the nickname “The Red Priest” Vivaldi At age 27, he published his first sonatas He was well known for working at an orphanage teaching the children there music ND composing works for them to play He created forms there and the forms included solo motets as well as large scale composition.
In Venice he wrote several operas as well as “The Four Seasons” It features the sounds of birds, running creeks, ice skating, storms,and winter fires. At the end of life he experienced financial issues and moved to Vienna, and became a pauper. He died in 1741 at 64 years old He died of internal infection His music is characterized as innovation and creativity J. s. Bach He composed music in many different forms, including both sacred and secular works.
His works are mastery of the compositional techniques of the time, and many feature expressive melodies. He grew up in Germany, he was born in 1685 He family was all composed of musicians. He was orphaned at the age of ten and moved back in with an older brother before he got a scholarship to a music school at 14 years old Johann Sebastian Bach Graduated in 1703 He became the court organist in Whimper and later the choirmaster for Duke Wilhelm When he took a position at SST.
Thomas Church he composed mostly religious works, including a few masses, even though Bach himself was ;Lutheran By 1749, Bach Egan to experience failing eyesight After the surgery, it didn’t work so he ended up being blind after the surgery He died in 1750 at 65 years old from a stroke complicated by pneumonia Stages of his life Early work 1708-1717 Bach’s organ music Middle work 1718-1723 Bach’s instrumental works Late work 1724-1750 Sacred choral music His work was mathematically precise, his work had technical mastery that many other composers could only hope for.
He tended to write down the basic notations on the melody, giving musicians and singer the ability to add embellishments of their own music. He tended to write out most of the notation in his scores. This gave him greater control over the complex textures and embellishments that he added to his music. He also tended to leave some of the instrumental notations more basic in his work, particularly some of the longer pieces.
George Frederica Handel German born Known as best composer Born 1685 He began studying law, his father’s profession After his father died he gave up law and studied music 1704 He began working at Hamburg Opera house His first two operas were performed He was involved with the founding of the Royal Cad. Of Music in London In April 737, he experienced a stroke, but lost strength in his right arm but ended up recovering and performing again He died in 1759 and was buried at Westminster Abbey His accomplishments 42 Operas more than 120 cantatas, duets, and trios Conclusion In this module, we learned more about the music of the Baroque period.
In doing so, we learned about some of the influences on Baroque music and the characteristics of Baroque music. We learned about several of the popular forms of Baroque music, including operas. Finally, we examined four composers who exemplify Baroque music and who helped to influence and direct the creativity of this time period.