Baroque Music History

What is going on during this time?
Western Art Music – Europe
At the time, baroque translates to “oddly
pear shappen”
Now, just a catch all for a diverse music
period focusing on ornamentation
Contrast in dynamics
Composer now specifies instrumentation,
performer does not choose
Single melody line and basso continuo
 Simplified complex lines of the Reniassance and
had one main musical idea
 Basso continuo – bass line with shorthand
notation indicating harmonies
The power of music to communicate
 Focus of music still on the individual and emotion, but
now the notes are the primary concern not the text
 Hired by political or religious institution
National Style
 Countries play the same kind of music in different
Public Concert invented
 Middle class musicians can start making more money
Italy: Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Corelli, Vivaldi,
Domenico and Alessandro Scarlatti
France: Couperin, Lully, Charpentier and
Germany: Praetorius, Schein, Scheidt,
Schutz, Telemann, Handel and Bach
England: Purcell
 Opera
 Oratorio
 Cantata
 Sonata
 Concerto
 Suite
A drama that is primarily sung, accompanied by
instruments, and presented on stage.
Earliest opera still performed today is Claudio
Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607).
First public opera houses opened in Venice in 1637
Altered to suit the preferences of the audience
Solo singers took on a sort of celebrity status
18th century - two subgenres of opera
 opera seria - serious subject matter
 opera buffa - a lighter, even comic tone
Most prominent country/kind of opera: the Italian
A work in several movements for one or more
instruments (most frequently violins) and basso
 Church sonatas usually comprised of four
movements alternating between slow and fast
 Chamber sonata consisted of a series of dances
akin to the suite.
 The rise to prominence of solo sonatas for
keyboard instruments begins late in the baroque
period, including those for organ (Bach) and
harpsichord (Handel, Scarlatti)
a multimovement work for instrumental soloist (or group
of soloists) and orchestra
concerto grosso alternates a small group of soloists with a
larger ensemble
solo concerto featured a single instrument in contrast with
an ensemble
The most prolific composer of the solo concerto
was Antonio Vivaldi, who wrote approximately 350 and
established the concerto’s standard three-movement
form (two fast outer movements, one middle movement
in a slower tempo).
While most solo concertos were written for violin, trumpet
concertos were also popular, and concertos were also
composed for cello, oboe, flute and bassoon
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