Common Practice Period 1600-1900 Baroque (1600-1750) – birth of opera. Very dramatic period. Extreme contrasts. [romantic]
6 Features of Baroque Music 1. terraced dynamics – dynamics change suddenly 2. unity of mood – a movement will stay in one mood only 3. continuous melody – the melody continues to unfold and keep going. Hard to find a cadence (resting place) 4. continuous and driving rhythm – a rhythm pattern is usually repeated throughout, and builds momentum
6 Features of Baroque Music 5. chords and the basso continuo – strong bass line played by two players (harpsichord/organ and cello). Chord progression, a set of tones that all belong to the same key 6. polyphonic texture – more than one melody is usually going on at the same time
Vocal Music Cant- or Chant- having to do with singing
2 Types of Singing Aria - the singing style in operatic works that is a "song". Action stops and characters reflect on emotion that has just occurred. Recitative - the singing style in operatic works that is the dialog/action. This type of singing is not usually very tuneful.
Opera A large-scale, multi-movement work for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. It is secular (not religious), acted out on stage with scenery and costumes, performed in a theater, and sung in Italian. G.F. Handel started his very successful career writing operas.
Cantata A small-scale, multi-movement work for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. It is sacred (religious), NOT acted out on stage with NO scenery and costumes, performed in a church during a service, and sung in German. J.S. Bach wrote many of these types of works.
Oratorio A large-scale, multi-movement work for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. It is sacred (religious), NOT acted out on stage with NO scenery and costumes, performed in a theater, and sung in English. Handel began to compose this type of work when the London theatres were closed during Lent. Messiah is an example of an oratorio.
Libretto - the words of an opera exactly as they are set to music. The libretto is NOT a plot summary, but the lyrics of the opera (like a script to a play or movie). Literally, it means "Little book".