The development of the Orchestra

Topics: Baroque music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony Pages: 4 (1123 words) Published: May 1, 2014
The orchestra as we know it now did not exist before the 17th century. At the start of this century the orchestra was just beginning and developing on from the renaissance era where orchestras had only just began to be used rarely and only in tiny groups, with a small range of instruments.

The main factors influencing this development include: instrumental technology, different classes of the public, playing techniques, economics, the role of music directors and changes in musical tastes. The violin family, violin, viola, cello and bass, replaced the viols that were previously used in the renaissance era, and this new kind of string section became central to the Baroque orchestra, the next era of music. This century also showed the favoring of strings for their particular sound, which developed into the heart of the orchestra. Improvements occurred in the construction of instruments, the progress of music compositions, and the development in the technique of performance.

We are unable to accurately identify the date of each period, but using knowledge of key features of each era we are able to give an informed estimate. The Baroque period is during the years of 1600-1750. The music of the Baroque period reflects the decorative art during the time using to create melodies. Complex polyphonic texture is shown in many composers’ works. A sense of drama and urgency is demonstrated in vocal forms such as the cantata, mass, opera, oratorio and passion, and in instrumental forms such as the concerto, concerto grosso, prelude, fugue, toccata sonata and suite. Vibrant rhythms and expressive dissonances heighten tension in many Baroque works.

Much of the Baroque keyboard music, written for the harpsichord and clavichord, was written in suites composing separate dance pieces, changing in tempo and meter but maintaining the same key throughout. The suite consists of dances such as the allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue and others such as the gavotte, musette,...
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