The Baroque Period

Topics: Baroque music, Music, Musical notation Pages: 6 (1820 words) Published: March 4, 2014
The Baroque Period

The Baroque Period
The Baroque term comes from the Portuguese word barroco, which means misshapen pearl Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined baroque music as that in which the harmony is confused, charged with modulations and dissonances, the melody is harsh and little natural, the intonation difficult, and the movement constrained. The Baroque period was highly decorated and it reflects on the elaborate nature and complexity of the music compositions. Others have likened Baroque music to listening to multiple people having a conversation at the same time. Baroque music was also applied to other forms of fine art, including architecture It was thought to have started in about 1570 as the music of the Renaissance changed to a more Baroque style There is more agreement that the Baroque period ended at the middle of the eighteenth century. The Baroque music era was a period that witnessed many advances in knowledge and changes in culture. Protestant Reformation had changed the landscape of religion and theology in Europe. Europe had turned toward rationalism and humanism to guide policies and philosophy. The Baroque period is the first to be among the musical pieces that people today are generally familiar with. Characteristics of Baroque Music

Composers and musicians during this time thought of themselves more as craftsmen than artists. They often made their living through patrons or individuals who supported them in exchange for their music. Patrons included not only the wealthy in society, but also the nobility and the church. The music of this period was often composed for specific circumstances, whether it was a party or a religious event. Some composers also worked as music tutors, composing easier compositions for their students. Because of the deliberate and specific reasons for compositions, individual pieces were not generally thought of as great compositions that would be played over and over and have a lasting impact. The pieces that were like the improvised music we find in society today that unique pieces of music to be played, but not generally remembered beyond today. Figured Bass

The music during this time was actually quite diverse and varied. Scholars often separate and categorize Baroque music into early, middle, and late Baroque music or into italian, German, French, and English music. In both music and art of the period, artists were concerned with describing emotions and feelings. Figured bass- A musical notation using numbers to indicate chords, intervals, and other aspects in relation to the bass note of the music. basso continuo- a harmony of the music, an instrument that was capable of playing chords played the basso continuo, such as a harpsichord, organ, or harp. The musician playing the basso continuo structure would play the bass note indicated in the harmony and then add in other notes on the chord as needed. The figured bass then helped the musician playing the basso continuo by giving numbers under the bass note to indicate which chords should be played in that spot. Ornamentation and Orchestras

Ornamentation- the use of non-necessary musical flourishes, such as trills and grace notes, to the basic melody or harmony. Many composers used extensive ornamentation in their pieces. Grace notes are notes that are not counted in the total time value. Baroque music also tends to focus on one emotion in a single piece. The emotion that the piece is trying to capture or describe is the music’s effects. Orchestras- larger instrumental ensembles or groups that contain brass, string, percussion, and woodwind instruments. Forms of Baroque Music

Baroque music featured a number of different forms or types of music. Music scholars call the plan that a composer has in mind when composing a piece of form a form. Form helps to give structure to a composition, and composers often combined one or more forms of music as they created new types of music. Opera

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