Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 29 Early Baroque Music. Baroque: a term generally used to describe the art, architecture, and music of the period 1600-1750. Derived from the."— Presentation transcript:
CHAPTER 29 Early Baroque Music
Baroque: a term generally used to describe the art, architecture, and music of the period Derived from the word barocco (Portuguese for a pearl of irregular shape), critics applied the term "Baroque" to indicate a rough, bold sound in music and excessive ornamentation in the visual arts. Age of Absolutism: The period of Baroque art roughly corresponds with what political historians call the Age of Absolutism. The theory of absolutism held that a king enjoyed absolute power by reasons of divine right. The pope in Rome, the Holy Roman Emperor, the kings of France and Spain, and, to a lesser extent, the king of England were the most powerful absolute monarchs of the seventeenth century.
St. Peter's Square Much Baroque architecture, art, and music reflected and celebrated the absolute power of kings and popes, such as the vast palace of Versailles outside Paris and St. Peter's Square in Rome (text page 234). The music composed for such vast expanses could also be grandiose. Composers in Rome wrote choral works for up to fifty-three separate vocal parts, while the opera and ballet orchestra at Versailles sometimes numbered more than eighty instrumentalists.
Bernini's The Throne of St. Peter Another characteristic of Baroque art and architecture is abundant decoration. In creating his Throne of St. Peter for the interior of the basilica in Rome, the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini filled the vast spaces with twisting forms that energize the otherwise static architecture. Composers too created large-scale compositions, in which strong chordal blocks support highly ornamented melodic lines.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EARLY BAROQUE MUSIC Artusi-Monteverdi Controversy: A war of words in print initiated in 1600 by the conservative music theorist Giovanni Maria Artusi, who attacked Claudio Monteverdi for breaking many of the established rules of counterpoint. Monteverdi responded by affirming that the text and its meaning were to be held above purely musical procedure. He called his new text-driven approach the seconda pratica (second practice), which he distinguished from the more traditional prima pratica. Doctrine of Affections: The doctrine according to which different musical moods could and should be used to influence the emotions, or affections, of the listeners. A musical setting should reinforce the intended "affection" of the text.
Monody: Term to describe compositions for an individual vocal line with accompaniment, such as solo madrigals, solo arias, and solo recitatives. A term derived from the Greek terms meaning "to sing alone," monody simply reflected the attempts of poets, scholars, and musicians to emulate the music of ancient Greece by making the words intelligible and enhancing their effect. The emphasis on solo voice quickly led to the emergence of the vocal virtuoso, the star of the court theater and operatic stage.
A Lady with Theorbo Basso continuo: commonly called "thorough bass" in England, it consists in a bass line that provided a never- ending foundation, or "continuous bass," for the melody above. Early in the Baroque period, the basso continuo might be played by a single solo instrument such as the lute or the theorbo—a large lute-like instrument with a full octave of additional bass strings (Fig. 29-4). Later, a low melody instrument—such as the viola da gamba, cello, or bassoon— came to reinforce the bass line, while a chord-producing instrument—organ, harpsichord, theorbo, lute, or guitar— played the harmony above the bass.
Figured bass: a numerical shorthand placed with the bass line that indicates which unwritten notes to fill in above the written bass note. Like a modern jazz pianist, the Baroque continuo player was to realize (play chords above) a figured bass at sight.
Major and Minor Tonalities In the course of the seventeenth century, two scale patterns, major (the Ionian mode) and minor (the Aeolian mode), came to be employed to the virtual exclusion of all other church modes of the Renaissance and before. While earlier modal polyphony had emphasized triads only a second or third apart, the new tonal polyphony of the Baroque tended increasingly to construct chords upon notes a fourth or a fifth apart. In other words, in the Baroque period, modal harmony gradually gave way to tonal harmony.
Instrumental Color and Musical Dynamics In the Baroque era, musicians privileged a great diversity of sound. A variegated ensemble in which a theorbo, viola da gamba, cornett, sackbut, violin, recorder, transverse flute, bassoon, cello, and harpsichord played together were not unusual, while the early Baroque orchestra was not yet dominated by the relatively new violin family. Moreover, it is around 1600 that composers started to specify levels of volume in the music, at first simply writing piano and forte in the score. Setting loud against soft, winds against strings, soloist against chorus, major against minor—all these helped create the brilliant colors and strong contrasts that mark Baroque music.
Idiomatic Writing for Instruments and Voice Baroque music welcomes for the first time truly idiomatic writing for both instruments and voice. Composers recognized that the violin, for example, can play a scale faster than a human voice can sing one. At the same time, they wrote vocal lines with starkly different levels of rhythmic activity and ornaments that underlined the acrobatic potential of the voice.