History of Music from 1650 to 1800
History of music from 1650 to 1800 can be described by three major periods, the middle Baroque, the late Baroque / early Classical, and Classical eras. The middle Baroque can be described as a time of developing and standardizing musical forms, styles, and conventions, and then obeying those conventions in the creation of new music. The second era found the undoing of these conventions in two important areas, prompting the end of the Baroque and beginning of the Classical era. The final era describes a period of newer conventions, built from the changes presented to Baroque music by its creators. This evolution can best be understood by careful investigation of musical conventions through these three periods. For perspective, we begin before 1650, with Monteverdi. His opera Orfeo of 1607 did not redefine any new style in vocal music, but rather served to collect existing techniques and forms of the time combining such forms as recititative, airs, madrigals, ritornello, and recitativo arioso. It also was significant for its mature use of the orchestra, bringing together instruments from all consorts ñ the violins, the cornets, viols, organ, trombones, and others. Orfeo drew from all styles of secular music at the time, achieving a unity overall through the use of ritornello and the orchestra. The 1620 and 1630 saw the reinforcement of the recititative and aria in secular music with the development of the cantata. Rossi’s early cantata Mentre sorge dal mareserves as an excellent example of this development. The opera, being prohibitively expensive to put on all the time, found its forms set in the cantata, a sort of mini opera, consisting of solo voice and figured basso continuo. The cantata contained the forms of opera ñ the recitative and various kinds (strophic, bipartite, ottonario) of arias, but without the stage production and orchestra. These were written for all sorts of special occasions and became quite popular. In sacred music, a
Cited: http://musiced.about.com/od/lessonsandtips/a/operas.htm http://www.naxos.com/education/opera_intro.asp http://www.operaamerica.org/content/education/learningCenter/intro.aspx Jeremy, Y. (2008). Understanding music. (7th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.