Baroque means: very fancy, elaborate, over decorated, or ornamented.
Musical Life Music during the Baroque era was performed in: Courts of the Nobility / Royalty Churches Opera Houses Churches and the Nobility controlled music during this time.
One way for a musician to earn a living was to be employed by Royalty. The nobleman, duke, or king paid musicians to provide music exclusively for events in his court. This is called the patronage system.
A Court composer was employed by Royalty full time to: Compose music for entertainment in the court Coordinate and conduct musical events held in the court Give music lessons to members of the royal family
Court musicians were treated the same as other servants. They entered the palace through the back door and ate in the kitchen.
Another way for a musician to make a living during the Baroque Period was to be employed by the Church. If you are a musician (composer or performer) being paid a steady income by a king or the church, what could be so bad about that?
Church musicians were very busy. They were hired full time to: Compose (and copy) music for each Sunday service Compose (and copy) music for special days of the church calendar Rehearse and direct choirs for each service Play the organ Rehearse and conduct church orchestras Educate the boys in the choir school
New! Opera Houses The only place the general public could go to hear music, if they can afford it, was the Opera House. Opera in the Baroque Period was all about: Elaborate sets Fancy costumes Virtuoso performers (very highly skilled singers & instrumentalists)
Music of the Baroque Period What did it sound like?
Timbre (tam-ber): tone color; the unique sound each voice and instrument makes Before the Baroque Period, vocal music was most important During the Baroque Period, instrumental music became as important as vocal music Orchestras were small with mostly string instruments and a few woodwinds
More and more music was written for these instruments: Flute Oboe Bassoon Trombone Trumpets and French horns without valves Timpani - the only percussion instrument used in serious music Why do you think no music was written during this time for saxophone, drum set, or electric guitar?
Popular keyboard instruments of this time were the clavichord (top photo) and the harpsichord (bottom photo). There were also great pipe organs built in churches. The harpsichord has a unique sound. When a key is pressed it causes a quill to pluck the corresponding string. No matter how hard or lightly the key is pressed, the sound is always the same. What do you see on each instrument that reminds you of the architecture, clothing, or art of the Baroque?
Listen to excerpts from each piece. In your notes, write the instruments or voices performing - the timbre. Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach “Autumn” from The Four Seasons by A. Vivaldi “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah by G.F. Handel
Melody: a series of pitches written one after the other that is sung or played on an instrument During the Baroque period, the melody written by composers was just a guide for the performer Performers were expected to add their own ornaments to the melody
When performers were free to add their own ornaments to a melody, they were able to show off their talent. This is much like improvising in jazz music of today. If you were the composer of a melody you really liked, how would you feel about having a performer you may or may not know embellish your work?
Harmony: the result when two or more notes are played or sung at the same time Monophonic music is a single melody. It can be performed by one or many people. - “Mono” means one. - “Phonic” means something to do with sound. Homophonic music has a melody and harmony parts that move together. Most hymns are homophonic. - “Homo” means alike. - “Phonic” means something to do with sound.
Polyphonic music has two or more melodies that weave together to create harmony. “Poly” means more than one. A lot of music composed during the Baroque period is polyphonic. The fugue is a sophisticated kind of polyphony. It is composed from a single melody layered on top of itself. In the example to the right, there are 4 layers of the same melody. (The melody doesn’t always have to start on the same note.)