Music of the Baroque Period

Music of the Baroque Period
1600 – 1750
Part 1: Musical Form
The Meaning of “Baroque”
• Derived from:
– Portuguese word barroco
– Spanish word barrueco
– French word baroque
Refers to a “rough or imperfect pearl”
Elaborate, ornate style with many details.
Video Example 1: Baroque Artwork
Video Example 2: Versailles
Characteristics of Baroque Music
• Unity of Mood
– One mood expressed throughout (for
example: joy or grief)
– Known as the affections
• Rhythm
– Rhythmic patterns are
typically repeated
• Melody
– Embellished & ornate
like architectural décor
Characteristics of Baroque Music
• Dynamics
– Typically stable, when change does occur it is abrupt
– Sudden changes are known as terraced dynamics.
• Texture
– Mostly polyphonic
– Homophony becomes popular in the Protestant church
Characteristics of Baroque Music
• Accompaniment
– Harpsichord and organ are popular instruments
– The basso continuo depicts symbols indicating what
chords are played above the bass line.
• Words & Music
– Tradition of word painting continues
– Words are emphasized through repetition
Music in Society
• Professionals vs. Amateurs
– Music was an important distraction
– Professionals earned salary working for
nobility or church
– Amateur musicians often performed with
municipal bands
Music in Society
• Sacred vs. Secular
– Instrumental music popular in Protestant
– Sacred music tries to appeal to everyone
– Secular music becomes more sophisticated
Music in Society
• Freelance Musician
– Self-employed musicians
contract out their services
(usually as composers or
The Concerto Grosso
• The Baroque Orchestra
Strings: violin, viola, cello and bass.
Woodwinds: flute (recorder), oboe, bassoon
Brass: trumpet (no valves), Trombone, Horn (no valves)
Percussion: timpani
• Ritornello
– Form based upon alternating sections of tutti (or group)
and solo (or soli) passages
• J. S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
Composed for Prince of Cöthen
Featured the string orchestra and soloists.
Soloists: flute, violin & harpsichord
Listening Guide pp. 105-106
The Fugue (Characteristics)
Imitative Polyphony
Features 3, 4 or 5 voices
Subject and Answer
Manipulating the Subject
– Inversion
– Retrograde
– Augmentation
– Diminution
Little Fugue in G Minor
by J.S. Bach
Listening Guide
pp. 109-110
Music of the Baroque Period
1600 – 1750
Part 2: Instrumental Music
of Vivaldi and Bach
Three Baroque Giants
Antonio Vivaldi
• Italian composer, The Red Priest
• Taught at an all girls orphanage
• “Spring” from The Four Seasons (pages 126-129).
– Concerto: multi-movement work for solo instrument
(violin) and orchestra
– Three movements
• Allegro (Fast)
• Largo e pianissimo (Slow and very soft)
• Danza pastorale (Pastoral dance)
J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
German composer, worked as church musician
Performed on organ and clavichord.
Style considered “old-fashioned” during his lifetime
Prolific composer: 1000+ known compositions
Family man: married twice, 20 children, 4 who
became musicians
Bach: Listening Examples
• Suite No. 3 in D Major
– Listening guide page 133
– Instrumentation: 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, timpani,
strings and basso continuo.
– Five Movements
First Movement – Overture
Second Movement – Air
Third Movement – Gavotte
Fourth Movement – Bourrée
Fifth Movement - Gigue
Bach’s Lasting Influence
► Bach’s
music has been experienced by
musicians around the world.
► Bach’s music has been adapted to just
about every musical style imaginable.
► Two of Bach's pieces placed on the
“Golden Record” aboard Voyager.
VIDEO 1: Air on G String
VIDEO 2: Swingle Singers
VIDEO 3: Yngwie Malmsteen
VIDEO 4: Bobby McFerrin
VIDEO 5: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
Music of the Baroque Period
1600 – 1750
Part 3: Vocal Music
of Handel
Three Baroque Giants
G. F. Handel (1685-1759)
• Born in Halle, Germany.
• Later became English citizen (1712).
• England’s most important composer.
• “Air” from Water Music (VIDEO EXAMPLE)
– Performed on barges on the Thames river.
• “La Rejouissance” from Music for the
Royal Fireworks (VIDEO EXAMPLE)
– 12,000 people came to listen, 3 died.
Handel’s Messiah 1741
• Oratorio – dramatic vocal work based
on a religious text.
• Still performed today, usually at
Easter, sometimes at Christmas.
• “Hallelujah” chorus from Messiah is
widely recognized as a masterpiece.
• Listening guide on page 144.