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Baroque Music 16001750
The Baroque period in music is roughly 1600-1750. Monteverdi composed at the beginning of the
period and Handel and Bach, also Giovanni Gabrieli composed towards the end of the period.
Baroque music started in Italy, which during the Baroque period was becoming the "Cultural Capital"
of Europe-writing in the "Italian style" was the aim of many Baroque composers.
The very complicated polyphony of the Renaissance period was left behind for a return to a more
simple melody on top with accompaniment underneath-Homophony.
However, polyphony was still used during the Baroque period and Bach was one of the masters of
writing polyphonic music.
The most common instrument to accompany musicians was the Harpsichord. It has a very unique
sound and if you hear this instrument, you're probably listening to some Baroque music.
Ornament means to decorate-which means to make something more "attractive" and elaborate."
Ornamentation was very popular in the Baroque period.
Long flowing melodic lines using lots of ornamentation
Continuation of mood throughout the piece
Harpsichord used for accompaniment
The music is very tonal-only small amounts of
chromaticism used in the music
A mixture of homophony and polyphony was used.
Figure bass or basso continuo: showing some of the
chords by figures, leaving it to the performer to decide
exactly which notes to play. (0ften to improvise)
During the Baroque period, the Concerto (concert) became a very popular style
In a concerto there is a large compositiong for an orchestra plus a soloise/group of soloists.
Baroque composers who wrote concertos include Vivaldi (who wrote over 500, around halp of them
for violin), Bach and Handel.
Two types of Concerto
There were two types of Baroque concerto- the concerto grosso and the solo concerto.
Concertos of both types generally have three movements-fast, slow, fast.
The concerto Grosso (group)
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Written for a group of solo instruments (the concertino) plus a larger ensemble (the ripieno)
The solo concerto
Written for one solo instrument plus orchestra; often has brilliant and technically difficult parts for
the soloist to play.
Key composers: (German) J.S Bach, (English) Frederic Handel, Antonio Vivaldi (Italian), (English)
Henry Purcell, and (Italian) Domenico Scarlatti.…read more