Orchestra Essay

Topics: Orchestra, Violin, Baroque music, Symphony / Pages: 8 (1776 words) / Published: Oct 19th, 2009
Even though the times have changed, many characteristics from the past still impact the world of art today. Characteristics from the Baroque period, Classical period, and Romantic period have had their share of impact on today’s society. In order to fully develop an overall understanding of how defining each of these eras are, one must expose themselves to the vastly varying eras’ music, and other art forms including paintings. First in chronological order of these three eras, is the Baroque Era. The Baroque Era began roughly around the year 1600 and ended during the late 18th century. Baroque is generally characterized as an era with eccentric redundancy and also an abundance of details. Many art forms throughout this period resembled the general characterization of the period. Some characteristics in Baroque music include harmony, counterpoint, polyphony(1), strong emphasis on rhythm, and attractive melodies instead of the previous use of monophony(2). During this period, a new form of musical entertainment was born which was Opera. Opera was a play where the text was sung rather than spoken. The creation of opera then lead to overtures(3) which are pieces of music introduce melodies from music to come in later in an opera, and is also an orchestral work. Also given birth from opera was the aria(4) which was sometimes sung monophonically without an accompaniment, but was sometimes sung with an accompaniment.
Many technological and mechanical improvements were being made to the instruments of the past which developed into the instruments that most of us are familiar with today. Originally, the main string instruments were of the viol family; however, the violin family began to replace them. Even though the violin family began to replace the viol family, the bass viol, more commonly known as the contrabass or double bass, was still used. Throughout this time period, the cores of the ensembles were string orchestras(5), orchestras consisting of only string

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