What was going on in the world? English settle Jamestown Galileo confirms the Earth is round Louis XIV rules France Sir Isaac Newton publishes his Laws of Universal Gravitation George Washington born French & Indian War
What does the word Baroque mean? Baroque is a French word from Portugese origins that means an irregularly shaped pearl.
Originally the term Baroque was used for the art works created during this period in that there was an inherent strangeness and extravagance associated with them. Only recently has the term also been used to include the music, which is anything but slightly flawed.
Characteristics of Baroque Music Known as Europe’s Gilded Age Musicians were employees of the wealthy Returned to the Greek and Roman ideals
Characteristics of Baroque Music Use of a Basso Continuo - harpsichord and cello providing the base of the composition. Emphasized contrasts in texture, pace and volume. Strong use of improvisation in both melodies, and the embellishments of those melodies. Most importantly - if you hear a harpsichord, it’s almost always Baroque.
Johann Sebastian Bach From Germany Composed cantatas
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Famous for his fugues : Toccata and Fugue in D Minor Wrote S.D.G. at the end of all his pieces (to the Glory of God) His entire family was musical
Georg Philipp Telemann
George Frederic Handel From England Composed oratorios
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Famous for oratorios Composed “Messiah” – “Hallelujah Chorus” is in this piece Handel was a world traveler and man of the world
Antonio Vivaldi From Italy Composed concertos
Antonio VIVALDI Virtuoso violinist Ordained priest Taught violin at a girls’ orphanage in Venice Wrote over 800 concertos (500 for solo violin & orchestra) Majority of his works were unknown until the 1920s The Four Seasons (c. 1725) Wrote over 800 concertos (500 for solo violin & orch) Also wrote 100 operas Majority of his works were unknown until the 1920s (stored in a church archive)
Harpsichords & Claviers
Baroque music differs greatly from Medieval and Renaissance music.
Uses of Baroque Music Church Music Other Religious Songs Secular Songs (love, politics…) Instrumental Dances Courtly Entertainment
Baroque Music Characteristics Tried to paint pictures – music portrayed emotion. The stabilization of music as we know it today. Instrumental music is popular. It gained equal importance with vocal music. There was a transition from the church modes as represented in Gregorian chants to a major-minor system, as represented in the major and minor scales we have today.
Composers used mixed groups of instruments to perform works of great complexity. Music was no longer only functional, it was made to be enjoyed as it’s own entity. Composers began to search for inspiration for their compositions in not only the church, but in nature. Baroque music is very similar to jazz in it’s use of improvisation and figured bass.
Polyphony (“many sounds”) returned to a high status. Composers employed key characteristics in their music, including: 1)Unity of mood; 2)Continuity of rhythm; 3)The repeated use of a melody; 4)The use of terraced dynamics; 5)The use of polyphonic texture
Even More about Baroque Music The 1 st opera of note was written in 1600 in Florence, Italy. Operas often used text from Greek and Roman mythology Orchestra, chorus, soloists, staging, costumes, dancing
Baroque Music Vocabulary
Sonata Instrumental music with several movements.
Oratorio Opera-length works with a clear storyline but without the production elements.
Counterpoint Two different notes play simultaneously. This system began during the Renaissance.
Fugue This is a polyphonic composition consisting of a series of successive melody imitations or the restatement in succession of identical or nearly identical musical material in 2 or more parts. A theme is introduced by one voice, repeated by other voices, and developed throughout the piece.
Cantata Designed specifically to be used in the Lutheran church service. It is a work for vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra, and organ. Various churches today use cantatas to celebrate such holidays as Easter and Christmas.