Baroque -

The Baroque Era
Music, art and architecture
What should I know
about the Baroque Era?
 Music:
 Counterpoint: Structure & Ornament
 Bach, Vivaldi, Handel
 Art:
 Drama! Drama! Drama!
 Lush and fanciful: Stuff the canvas
 Bernini, Rubens, Velázquez
 Architecture:
 Symmetry
 Swarming and swirling spaces
 Trevi Fountain, Ottobeuren Basilica
The Age of Reason
 New modes of thinking and scientific
discoveries arose in the 17th century
 Two schools of thought:
 Rationalist: all knowledge can be gained
through reason alone
 Empiricist: all knowledge must be
gained through the senses, experience
ART in the Baroque
Emphasis on the drama of experience. Bernini
turned a Nun’s Spiritual Experience into a real
emotional climax.
Contemplate the St. Theresa below, painted in the
Renaissance Period, BEFORE the Baroque.
Bernini: The Ecstasy of St. Theresa
 Velázquez
 Painted portraits for
Spanish royalty
 Importance of the
 Attention to detail
Baroque Architecture
 Symmetry and structure are key
 Baroque Architecture reads like an episode of
“Pimp My Cathedral”
 EVERYTHING must be Decorated!
Trevi Fountain, Rome
Baroque Music
 Expresses the Order of the universe
through highly structured musical
 Lively: Many forms were taken from
old dances like the Minuet, Gigue,
and Gavotte
 Counterpoint: two independent
voices weaving together
 Johann Joseph Fux, Baroque
composer and theorist states the aim
of perfectly Baroque music:
"A composition meets the demands of
good taste if it is well constructed,
avoids trivialities as well as willful
eccentricities, aims at the sublime,
but moves in a natural ordered way,
combining brilliant ideas with perfect
Baroque Instruments
 Organ
 Harpsichord
 Strings!
 Limited winds, brass, percussion
The Organ
The harpsichord
J.S. Bach
 Over 1,100
 BWV: his own
opus system
for numerating
his works
Not to be
confused with
“Sebastian Bach”
of Skid Row
… or the Terminator
J.S. Bach Facts
 God, Music, Family
 Most compositions were of a sacred
nature, as he worked for the church
 Prolific father: 20 Children!!!
 Organist by trade
 1685-1750: these dates also mark the
height of the Baroque era
 Never left Germany!
He didn’t get around
 This map reflects the
100 mile area in which
Bach traveled in his
 The Red Priest - on account of his
red hair
 Worked with orphan girls at the Ospedale
in Venice, Italy
 Many compositions were exercises for
these young musicians
 Over 400 violin concerti! Yeah!
Not your normal orphanage:
Many noblemen had illegitimate
children in Venice. Because of
their proximity to the city, they
could still take care of their
offspring by giving money to the
orphanage, thereby sponsoring
quite a fancy music program.
Follow-up Questions
1. How is music from the Baroque era
different than music written today?
2. Are any of the pieces we have
played in class from the Baroque
3. How are the instruments you play
today different from those in the
Baroque era?