|Cultural origins||16th–18th century, Europe|
|Periods, eras, and movements of|
Western classical music
|Common practice period|
|Late 19th-century to 20th- and 21st-centuries|
Baroque music ( UK: // or US: // ) is a period or style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, and was followed in turn by the Classical era, with the galant style marking the transition between Baroque and Classical eras. The Baroque period is divided into three major phases: early, middle, and late. Overlapping in time, they are conventionally dated from 1580 to 1650, from 1630 to 1700, and from 1680 to 1750. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. The term "baroque" comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning "misshapen pearl". Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Dieterich Buxtehude, and others.
The Baroque period saw the creation of common-practice tonality, an approach to writing music in which a song or piece is written in a particular key; this type of harmony has continued to be used extensively in Western classical and popular music. During the Baroque era, professional musicians were expected to be accomplished improvisers of both solo melodic lines and accompaniment parts. Baroque concerts were typically accompanied by a basso continuo group (comprising chord-playing instrumentalists such as harpsichordists and lute players improvising chords from a figured bass part) while a group of bass instruments—viol, cello, double bass—played the bassline. A characteristic Baroque form was the dance suite. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed purely for listening, not for accompanying dancers.
During the period, composers experimented with finding a fuller sound for each instrumental part (thus creating the orchestra),made changes in musical notation (the development of figured bass as a quick way to notate the chord progression of a song or piece), and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size, range, and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established the mixed vocal/instrumental forms of opera, cantata and oratorio and the instrumental forms of the solo concerto and sonata as musical genres. Dense, complex polyphonic music, in which multiple independent melody lines were performed simultaneously (a popular example of this is the fugue), was an important part of many Baroque choral and instrumental works. Overall, Baroque music was a tool for expression and communication.
The term "baroque" is generally used by music historians to describe a broad range of styles from a wide geographic region, mostly in Europe, composed over a period of approximately 150 years.Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie : "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, and loaded with modulations and dissonances. The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, and the movement limited. It appears that term comes from the word 'baroco' used by logicians."Rousseau was referring to the philosophical term baroco , in use since the 13th century to describe a type of elaborate and, for some, unnecessarily complicated academic argument.
The systematic application by historians of the term "baroque" to music of this period is a relatively recent development. In 1919, Curt Sachs became the first to apply the five characteristics of Heinrich Wölfflin's theory of the Baroque systematically to music.Critics were quick to question the attempt to transpose Wölfflin's categories to music, however, and in the second quarter of the 20th century independent attempts were made by Manfred Bukofzer (in Germany and, after his immigration, in America) and by Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune (in Belgium) to use autonomous, technical analysis rather than comparative abstractions, in order to avoid the adaptation of theories based on the plastic arts and literature to music. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement about time boundaries of the period, especially concerning when it began. In English the term acquired currency only in the 1940s, in the writings of Bukofzer and Paul Henry Lang.
As late as 1960, there was still considerable dispute in academic circles, particularly in France and Britain, whether it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri, Domenico Scarlatti, and Johann Sebastian Bach under a single rubric. Nevertheless, the term has become widely used and accepted for this broad range of music.It may be helpful to distinguish the Baroque from both the preceding (Renaissance) and following (Classical) periods of musical history.
Throughout the Baroque era, new developments in music originated in Italy, after which it took up to 20 years before they were broadly adopted in rest of the Western classical music practice. For instance, Italian composers switched to the galant style around 1730, while German composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach largely continued to write in the baroque style up to 1750.
The Florentine Camerata was a group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi to discuss and guide trends in the arts, especially music and drama. In reference to music, they based their ideals on a perception of Classical (especially ancient Greek) musical drama that valued discourse and oration.Accordingly, they rejected their contemporaries' use of polyphony (multiple, independent melodic lines) and instrumental music, and discussed such ancient Greek music devices as monody, which consisted of a solo singing accompanied by a kithara (an ancient strummed string instrument). The early realizations of these ideas, including Jacopo Peri's Dafne and L'Euridice , marked the beginning of opera, which was a catalyst for Baroque music.
Concerning music theory, the more widespread use of figured bass (also known as thorough bass) represents the developing importance of harmony as the linear underpinnings of polyphony. [ citation needed ]Harmony is the end result of counterpoint, and figured bass is a visual representation of those harmonies commonly employed in musical performance. With figured bass, numbers, accidentals or symbols were placed above the bassline that was read by keyboard instrument players such as harpsichord players or pipe organists (or lutenists). The numbers, accidentals or symbols indicated to the keyboard player what intervals are to be played above each bass note. The keyboard player would improvise a chord voicing for each bass note. Composers began concerning themselves with harmonic progressions, and also employed the tritone, perceived as an unstable interval, to create dissonance (it was used in the dominant seventh chord and the diminished chord). An interest in harmony had also existed among certain composers in the Renaissance, notably Carlo Gesualdo; However, the use of harmony directed towards tonality (a focus on a musical key that becomes the "home note" of a piece), rather than modality, marks the shift from the Renaissance into the Baroque period. This led to the idea that certain sequences of chords, rather than just notes, could provide a sense of closure at the end of a piece—one of the fundamental ideas that became known as tonality.
By incorporating these new aspects of composition, Claudio Monteverdi furthered the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition—the heritage of Renaissance polyphony (prima pratica) and the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque (seconda pratica). With basso continuo, a small group of musicians would play the bassline and the chords which formed the accompaniment for a melody. The basso continuo group would typically use one or more keyboard players and a lute player who would play the bassline and improvise the chords and several bass instruments (e.g., bass viol, cello, double bass) which would play the bassline. With the writing of the operas L'Orfeo and L'incoronazione di Poppea among others, Monteverdi brought considerable attention to this new genre.This Venetian style was taken handily to Germany by Heinrich Schütz, whose diverse style also evolved into the subsequent period.
Idiomatic instrumental textures became increasingly prominent. In particular, the style luthé—the irregular and unpredictable breaking up of chordal progressions, in contrast to the regular patterning of broken chords—referred to since the early 20th century as style brisé , was established as a consistent texture in French music by Robert Ballard,in his lute books of 1611 and 1614, and by Ennemond Gaultier. This idiomatic lute figuration was later transferred to the harpsichord, for example in the keyboard music of Louis Couperin and Jean-Henri D'Anglebert, and continued to be an important influence on keyboard music throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries (in, for example, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Frédéric Chopin).
The rise of the centralized court is one of the economic and political features of what is often labelled the Age of Absolutism, personified by Louis XIV of France. The style of palace, and the court system of manners and arts he fostered became the model for the rest of Europe. The realities of rising church and state patronage created the demand for organized public music, as the increasing availability of instruments created the demand for chamber music, which is music for a small ensemble of instrumentalists.
One pre-eminent example of a court style composer is Jean-Baptiste Lully. He purchased patents from the monarchy to be the sole composer of operas for the French king and to prevent others from having operas staged. He completed 15 lyric tragedies and left unfinished Achille et Polyxène.Lully was an early example of a conductor; he would beat the time with a large staff to keep his ensembles together.
Musically, he did not establish the string-dominated norm for orchestras, which was inherited from the Italian opera, and the characteristically French five-part disposition (violins, violas—in hautes-contre, tailles and quintes sizes—and bass violins) had been used in the ballet from the time of Louis XIII. He did, however, introduce this ensemble to the lyric theatre, with the upper parts often doubled by recorders, flutes, and oboes, and the bass by bassoons. Trumpets and kettledrums were frequently added for heroic scenes.
The middle Baroque period in Italy is defined by the emergence of the vocal styles of cantata, oratorio, and opera during the 1630s, and a new concept of melody and harmony that elevated the status of the music to one of equality with the words, which formerly had been regarded as pre-eminent. The florid, coloratura monody of the early Baroque gave way to a simpler, more polished melodic style. These melodies were built from short, cadentially delimited ideas often based on stylized dance patterns drawn from the sarabande or the courante. The harmonies, too, might be simpler than in the early Baroque monody, to show expression in a lighter manner on the string and crescendos and diminuendos on longer notes. The accompanying bass lines were more integrated with the melody, producing a contrapuntal equivalence of the parts that later led to the device of an initial bass anticipation of the aria melody. This harmonic simplification also led to a new formal device of the differentiation of recitative (a more spoken part of opera) and aria (a part of opera that used sung melodies). The most important innovators of this style were the Romans Luigi Rossi and Giacomo Carissimi, who were primarily composers of cantatas and oratorios, respectively, and the Venetian Francesco Cavalli, who was principally an opera composer. Later important practitioners of this style include Antonio Cesti, Giovanni Legrenzi, and Alessandro Stradella.
Arcangelo Corelli is remembered as influential for his achievements on the other side of musical technique—as a violinist who organized violin technique and pedagogy—and in purely instrumental music, particularly his advocacy and development of the concerto grosso.Whereas Lully was ensconced at court, Corelli was one of the first composers to publish widely and have his music performed all over Europe. As with Lully's stylization and organization of the opera, the concerto grosso is built on strong contrasts—sections alternate between those played by the full orchestra, and those played by a smaller group. Dynamics were "terraced", that is with a sharp transition from loud to soft and back again. Fast sections and slow sections were juxtaposed against each other. Numbered among his students is Antonio Vivaldi, who later composed hundreds of works based on the principles in Corelli's trio sonatas and concerti.
In contrast to these composers, Dieterich Buxtehude was not a creature of court but instead was church musician, holding the posts of organist and Werkmeister at the Marienkirche at Lübeck. His duties as Werkmeister involved acting as the secretary, treasurer, and business manager of the church, while his position as organist included playing for all the main services, sometimes in collaboration with other instrumentalists or vocalists, who were also paid by the church. Entirely outside of his official church duties, he organised and directed a concert series known as the Abendmusiken, which included performances of sacred dramatic works regarded by his contemporaries as the equivalent of operas.
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The work of George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach and their contemporaries, including Domenico Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Georg Philipp Telemann, and others advanced the Baroque era to its climax.
Bach's elder sons and pupils:
A characteristic of the Baroque form was the dance suite. Some dance suites by Bach are called partitas, although this term is also used for other collections of pieces. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed for listening, not for accompanying dancers. Composers used a variety of different dance movements in their dance suites. A dance suite often consists of the following movements:
These four dance types (allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue) make up the majority of 17th-century suites; later suites interpolate one or more additional dances between the sarabande and gigue:
Additionally, there are numerous other dance forms as well as other pieces that could be included in a suite, such as Polonaise, Loure, Scherzo, Air, etc.
The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 and 1820.
A suite, in Western classical music and jazz, is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral/concert band pieces. It originated in the late 14th century as a pairing of dance tunes and grew in scope to comprise up to five dances, sometimes with a prelude, by the early 17th century. The separate movements were often thematically and tonally linked. The term can also be used to refer to similar forms in other musical traditions, such as the Turkish fasıl and the Arab nuubaat.
An allemande is a Renaissance and Baroque dance, and one of the most popular instrumental dance styles in Baroque music, with notable examples by Couperin, Purcell, Bach and Handel. It is often the first movement of a Baroque suite of dances, paired with a subsequent courante, though it is sometimes preceded by an introduction or prelude.
The six Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012, are suites for unaccompanied cello by Johann Sebastian Bach. They are some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello. Bach most likely composed them during the period 1717–23, when he served as Kapellmeister in Köthen. The title given on the cover of the Anna Magdalena Bach manuscript was Suites à Violoncello Solo senza Basso.
Pachelbel's Canon is an accompanied canon by the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel in his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo. It is sometimes called Canon and Gigue in D or Canon in D. Neither the date nor the circumstances of its composition are known, and the oldest surviving manuscript copy of the piece dates from the 19th century.
The sarabande is a dance in triple metre, or the music written for such a dance.
Johann Hermann Schein was a German composer of the early Baroque era. He was born in Grünhain and died in Leipzig. He was one of the first to import the early Italian stylistic innovations into German music, and was one of the most polished composers of the period.
Hans Leo Hassler was a German composer and organist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, elder brother of composer Jakob Hassler. He was born in Nuremberg and died in Frankfurt am Main.
Alessandro Grandi was a northern Italian composer of the early Baroque era, writing in the new concertato style. He was one of the most inventive, influential, and popular composers of the time, probably second only to Monteverdi in northern Italy.
Giulio Romolo Caccini was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the most influential creators of the new Baroque style. He was also the father of the composer Francesca Caccini and the singer Settimia Caccini.
Chorale settings refer to a wide variety of musical compositions, almost entirely of Protestant origin, which use a chorale as their basis. A chorale is a simple melody, often based on Gregorian chant, written for congregations to sing hymns. Chorale settings can be vocal, instrumental, or both.
In music, a chorale monody was a type of a sacred composition of the very early German Baroque era. It was for solo voice and accompanying instruments, usually basso continuo, and was closely related to the contemporary Italian style of monody. Almost all examples of chorale monodies were written in the first half of the 17th century.
Johann Christoph Demantius was a German composer, music theorist, writer and poet. He was an exact contemporary of Monteverdi, and represented a transitional phase in German Lutheran music from the polyphonic Renaissance style to the early Baroque.
Andreas Hammerschmidt, the "Orpheus of Zittau," was a German Bohemian composer and organist of the early to middle Baroque era. He was one of the most significant and popular composers of sacred music in Germany in the middle 17th century.
In music, homophony is a texture in which a primary part is supported by one or more additional strands that flesh out the harmony. One melody predominates while the other parts play either single notes or an elaborate accompaniment. This differentiation of roles contrasts with equal-voice polyphony and monophony. Historically, homophony and its differentiated roles for parts emerged in tandem with tonality, which gave distinct harmonic functions to the soprano, bass and inner voices.
The French Suites, BWV 812–817, are six suites which Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the clavier between the years of 1722 and 1725. Although Suites Nos. 1 to 4 are typically dated to 1722, it is possible that the first was written somewhat earlier.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. Historically, the term 'classical music' refers specifically to the musical period from 1750 to 1820. In a more general sense classical music refers to Western musical traditions considered to be apart from or a refinement of western folk music traditions and encompasses the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1650 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.
The term galanteries is sometimes used for movements in the Baroque dance suite whose inclusion is variable, unlike the fixed core of allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue. These pieces usually follow the sarabande.
Charles Dieupart was a French harpsichordist, violinist, and composer. Although he was known as Charles to his contemporaries, his real name may have been François. He was most probably born in Paris, but spent much of his life in London, where he settled sometime after 1702/1703. A prominent member of the Drury Lane musical establishment, Dieupart was active both as composer and performer and actively participated in the musical life of the city. However, after about 1712 he earned his income mostly by teaching, and in his later years lived in poverty. He is best remembered today for a collection of six harpsichord suites which influenced Johann Sebastian Bach's English Suites.
Suite in E minor, BWV 996, is a musical composition written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) between 1708 and 1717. It is probable that this suite was intended for Lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord). Because the lautenwerk is an uncommon instrument, it is in modern times often performed on the guitar or the lute.
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