The Baroque Era
1600 - 1750
Emphasis on an ornamented and 'decorative' melody line.
Composers include Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Purcell.
- ornamented melodic parts
- major/minor key system replacing old systme of modes
- diatonic ('of the key') chords I, IV, V, II and VI
- 'basso continuo'. A keyboard instrument playing a chordal support of the bass line.
- different textures such as monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic
- the Baroque orchestra with new string instruments and a harpsichord playing harmonies. Trumpets, horns and timpani drums were used.
- one 'affection' or mood
- contrasting dynamics on two levels - loud and soft (terrassed dynamics)
It is an oratorio which is a musical work based on text from the Bible.
The libretto is the words/text of an opera or an oratorio.
The libretto of Handel's Messiah is in three parts:
- Part 1 - prophecies foretelling the coming of the Lord (Old and his birth)
- Part 2 - passion music of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus (Old)
- Part 3 - Jesus' resurrection from the dead