Discuss the Aesthetic and Musical Characteristics of the Baroque That Distinguish It from Other Periods

Topics: Baroque music, Claudio Monteverdi, Baroque Pages: 3 (1137 words) Published: October 30, 2010
The Baroque era began as an exploration of new and interesting ideas to invoke a due sense of excitement in succeeding the seemingly stale and worn period of the Renaissance. The era had been labelled during the mid-eighteenth century as Baroque, derived from the Portuguese Barocco meaning ‘misshapen pearl’. This term would seem perfectly fitting for something that should be so perfect, smooth and naturally rounded but yet is deemed tarnished and distorted - a contradictory term being grand and imperfect. The period is most often described to have begun around 1600 and ending with the death of J.S. Bach and Handel in the 1750s. But what is it that separates this Grand yet imperfect era from others before and after? To be able to conclude, it is required to research and analyse the stylistic traits typical of this period. There is indeed a basis in which all music should be played to in order to sound coherent and that is pitch. In order to form a universal standard, musicians must first of all strive to establish the paradigm. It was within the Baroque period that secularised instruments such as the violin and cornett were allowed to enter the church and play alongside the once solo standing organ. Thus a problem of pitch soundings entailed. This was apparent in the mezzo punto, tutto punto and tuono corista pitch in northern Italy in the early 17th century. It was apparent pitch standards across Europe could be up to a minor 3rd different. It was because of this, the musicians of the Baroque era had to take the first steps forward in finding a united pitch through transposition. The Baroque era had produced many composers but the most important figure considered is Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). Rameau had written many theoretical writings explaining the theory behind music and most eminently his Corps Sonore. After all, this was the time of the Enlightenment. In the late-eighteenth century, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant believed ‘Enlightenment...
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