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Music in the Baroque Period

By snufflebunny7123 Nov 15, 2010 898 Words
Music in the Baroque Period
Music is in everyone’s lives these days. You always see people with headphones in their ears or jamming out in their cars. Many people listen to music in the privacy of their homes, where they can listen to music as loud as they want and can sing along and not have anyone look at them funny. But do all these people who listen to music on a daily basis really know where it came from? A lot of people will say that Michael Jackson is the king of pop or that Elvis was the invention of rock. Many people don’t know that true music started long before this. The art of classical music; and music for music’s sake. There once was a time when music was only played for the church and nothing else, no concerts to go to, or no time to just listen to it to enjoy it. In the baroque period there came a time of change for music, and music was now being played for music’s sake.

When someone talks about the baroque period many people think of the architecture from that period, but even more important than that is the music they came from this period. “Baroque’s” definition is bizarre, but when talking about the music exuberant would be a much better translation. During this period many composers started to experiment with form, styles and instruments. The biggest part of music in this period was the exploration of form.

Baroque music can be seen as highly ornate, very textured and intense music. There are a number of defining characteristics of music in this period; one is the basso continuo, which is music that is played by one or more bass instruments and a keyboard instrument. Another characteristic is the doctrine of affections, which allowed composers to express emotions and feelings in their compositions. This help lead to the emphasis on contrast of volume, like crescendos and decrescendos; texture in the music, like staccato for sharp notes; and then the pace of the music, they started using things like adagio for slower, and presto, meaning faster.

One of the well known composers of this time is Antonio Vivaldi. Antonio is mainly known for his Four Seasons, and the Opus 3, but he also wrote many works which sound like exercises for students. And this is exactly what they were. Vivaldi was employed for most of his working life as violin teacher and composer by the Ospedale Della Pietà, which was an orphanage. Vivaldi also had a great interest in the Opera. As far as his theatrical activities were considered the end of 1716 was a high point for Vivaldi. In November, he managed to have the Ospedale Della Pietà perform his first great oratorio, Juditha Triumphans devicta Holofernis barbaric. This work was an enlightening description of the victory of the Venetians (the Christians) over the Turks (the barbarians) in August 1716. In 172O Vivaldi staged new operas written by himself in the Teatro Sant' Angelo, a theatre in Venice.

The notation of Baroque melodic lines tended to assume that composers would write out only the basic framework, and that performers would embellish this framework by elaborating on it. But on the other well known composers of this time Johann Sebastian Bach was regarded at the time as being on one extreme end of the spectrum, notating most or all of the details of his melodic lines—particularly in his fast movements—thus leaving little for performers to be able to add in. Bach at times is argued to be one of the best composers of all time. Bach is widely known for his improvisation at the keyboard. His inner personal drive to display his musical achievements was evident in a number of ways. The most obvious was his successful striving to become the leading virtuoso and improviser of the day on the organ. Bach was an amazing composer and has changed the way many people see music. The Baroque was a time of a great arts were paintings saw the works of Vermeer, and El Greco -- in literature it was the time of Milton, and Racine -- modern science came into its own during this period with the work of Galileo and Newton. But what saw the most was music, with the works of some of the bests like Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach. This was the time when you were able to listen to music just for the sake of music and many new ways came about of music, with tempos, sounds, texture and many more. Also the art of Opera really began, and Antonio Vivaldi had many successful operas that he was able to compose. To this day many people don’t remember these legends in our history of music, but the few who do really appreciate it for what it’s worth. I know that I myself still enjoy playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” on the flute.

Bibliography
Estrella, Espie. "Baroque Music Timeline." Music Education. The New York Times Company., Winter 2009. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. . "Johann Sebastian Bach: Biography from Answers.com." Answers.com: Wiki Q&A Combined with Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedias. Summer 2007. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. . Sartorius, Michael. "BAROQUE MUSIC DEFINED." BAROQUE MUSIC PAGE: Biogs, Pictures, Music Samples. Autumn 2008. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. .

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