The Baroque Era

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The Baroque Era
During the Baroque Era, a new form of music was created called opera. Opera is defined as “an extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet.” Around the same time that opera became popular began oratorio. Oratorio is very similar to opera except the theme of an opera normally dealt with history and mythology, including age-old devices of romance, deception, and murder, and oratorio’s were more suitably for church due to sacred topics.

An opera is a drama sung from beginning to end that consists of an orchestra, singers, and a theatrical performance. Although most of an opera is sung, there are also short dialog parts. The theatrical performance of the opera includes actors and actresses in costume and scenery to dramatize the themes. Opera first began in Italy in private performances for royalty. Soon the trend became more popular and publicly attended operas were established in Venice. Monteverdi’s Orpheus was one of the earliest opera’s and continues to be one of the most performed from the early operas.

The oratorio was an unstaged version of opera that was based on a sacred subject and an opera was a musical theatre as an oratorio was a concert piece. Oratorio’s consisted of an orchestra, choir, and soloists. An oratorio was appropriate for church as opera’s were not. The two types of oratorio’s were oratorio volgare and oratorio latino. Many composers of opera also composed oratorios. Handel’s Messiah continues to be very popular.

A fugue is a polyphonic work centered on a single theme that consists of two or more voices. It begins with one voice, and is then “followed” by supporting voices. A fugue begins with the exposition; a single voice that introduces the theme. Middle entries are parts in the fugue that deal with the subject. To the contrary, episodes if they exist in the fugue, do not...
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