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The Baroque Era. 1600-1750. The Baroque Era and the Arts. The Baroque period is considered to fall between 1600 and 1750. The period comes to a close with the death of J. S. Bach in 1750.

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The Baroque Era

1600-1750


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

  • The Baroque period is considered to fall between 1600 and 1750.

  • The period comes to a close with the death of J. S. Bach in 1750.

  • “Baroque” comes from a Portuguese word which means pearl or jewel. This directly relates to the style of music in this period which is filled with decoration and ornamentation.


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

POLITICS and GOVERNMENT

  • Politically, the Baroque era was an age of absolute monarchy.

  • All art and culture in this period served the ruler of the state.

  • The new middle class created a culture of its own . Their music was centered in the home, and church.


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

SCIENCE

  • The Baroque era was and age of reason.

  • The ideas of Kepler, Galileo, and Copernicus in physics and astronomy.

  • Mathematics and Philosophy were being explored.

  • An English physician named William Harvey explained the circulation of blood.

  • Isaac Newton unlocked the secret of Gravity.


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

RELIGION

  • The Baroque was also an intensely devout period in history.

  • We now have 2 main groups in the Christian religion, Protestants and Catholics.

  • Protestants were centered in England, Scandinavia, Holland, and North Germany.

  • Catholics centered in Italy, Spain, France, and Austria.


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

RELIGION – CONT.

  • There were two powerful Catholic dynasties of the time, the French Bourbons and the Austrian-Spanish Hapsburgs.

  • These two Catholic groups fought one another just as much as they did their protestant foes.

  • Religion was also important in the American Colonies. These were settled largely by Protestant refugees who immigrated from northern Europe.


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The Baroque Era and the Arts

ART

  • Art, just like in the Renaissance changed with the times.

  • Baroque society was very dramatic and its art reflected that.

  • Some famous names: Titian, Tentoretto, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt.



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The Baroque Era and the Arts

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON DURING THIS TIME…

  • Galileo invents the telescope

  • First European settlement in America (Jamestown)

  • John Milton (Paradise Lost)

  • King James version of the Bible

  • The Mayflower, and the settlement of Plymouth Rock

  • Puritan Revolution in England

  • Reign of Louis XIV and XV in France

  • Peter the Great in Russia

  • Newton’s Theory of Gravitation


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • MONODY

  • Monody is a solo song with instrumental accompaniment.

  • Developed by the CAMERATA

  • Focused on emotional power of the text


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • The CAMERATA

  • Developed in Florence, Italy

  • Resurrection of ancient Greek and Roman musical drama.

  • VincenzoGalilei

  • Camerata’s Philosophy: Music must heighten the emotional power of the text.

  • Led to the development of OPERA


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • STILE REPRESENTATIVO

  • A melody line that moves freely over the foundation of simple chords.

    Ex. Mary Had a Little Lamb


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • FIGURED BASS

  • Numbers above or below the bass-line indicating the chord to play.

  • The performer filled in the necessary harmonies.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • BASSO-CONTINUO

  • Baroque type of accompaniment, often used in Operas and Oratorios

  • Consisted of 2 instrumentalists

  • Bass line was played by Cello or Fagotti

  • The other was played by a chordal instrument,

    • Either Harpsichord or Organ



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Currents in Baroque Music

  • IMPROVISATION

  • “Thinking with the fingers”

  • Making up the musical accompaniment to fit under the vocalist’s melody.

  • Improvisation was used often times with basso-continuo and a figured bass line. Singers and players added their own embellishments to the music that was written


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • MAJOR-MINOR TONALITY

  • The establishment of major-minor tonality is one of the most significant changes in music history.

  • The development of the tonic, or key note

  • Modulation - moving from one key to another. (key change)

  • Instrumental music of the Baroque required being able to play in any key


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • EQUAL TEMPERMENT

  • Tempering the intervals within an octave to equalize the distance between adjacent tones.

  • Became possible for musicians to play in every major and minor key without experiencing unpleasant sounds.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • THE WELL TEMPORED CLAVIER

  • Clavier - any keyboard instrument

  • 2 volume collection by J. S. Bach containing 24 preludes and fugues in every possible key.



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Currents in Baroque Music

  • DYNAMICS AND CONTRAST

  • Two basic dynamics were developed -Piano and Forte

  • Few dynamic markings were actually incorporated into the music

  • Dynamic contrast was left up to the performer until the end of the Baroque era.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • THE VIRTUOSO MUSICIAN

  • Rise in the standards of playing and singing music in the Baroque.

  • Instrument makers in Germany and Italy improved instrument quality considerably

  • Composers began to write works that developed a more demanding and challenging playing technique.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • THE VIRTUOSO MUSICIAN CONT.

  • The rise of opera saw a rise in the vocal technique of castrato.

  • Male singers were castrated during boy-hood in order to preserve their boy soprano register for the rest of their life.

  • The result was an incredibly agile voice with a very large range.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • THE VIRTUOSO MUSICIAN CONT.

  • The audience of the Baroque associated the castrati voice with heroic male roles.

  • Today these roles are sung in a lower register by a tenor or baritone voice.

  • They may also be sung by a counter-tenor, falsettist, or a woman in costume.


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Currents in Baroque Music

  • Women in Baroque Music

  • Barbra Strozzi and Francesca Caccini

  • Opera houses allowed for women to compete seriously with men as professional musicians.



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Currents in Baroque Music

  • INTERNATIONALISM

  • The Baroque era saw free interchange among national cultures.

  • A vivid interest in “new worlds” arose in the baroque because of the age of exploration.

  • This gave way to composers writing in styles of exotic lands - EXOTICISM. Music was written in the style of Persia, India, and Turkey



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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • An Opera is a large-scale drama that is sung.

  • Vocal and Instrumental Music

  • Soloists, Ensembles, Chorus, Orchestra, and sometimes Ballet.

  • Acting, Scenery, Costumes, Props, etc.


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Vocal music of the Baroque

  • There are 6 main components to Opera:

    Recitative

    Aria

    Chorus

    Ensemble

    Overture

    Libretto


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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • Recitative is a musical declamation or speech that is used to advance the plot and action in an opera.

  • Developed by the Florentine Camerata to imitate the natural inflections of speech.

  • Recitative rarely presents a purely musical line, as there is no real melody present.

  • “Talky” representation of the same note.


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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • Listening Example No. 1

    Title: Thus saith the lord of hosts from The Messiah

    Composer: G. F. Handel

    Genre: Recitative

    Period: Baroque (1741)


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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • An Aria is a solo song that usually appears after a recitative in an opera.

  • Aria – Italian for Air.

  • Often highly emotional, and because of its tunefulness the aria is what people remember the most in an opera.

  • The most common type of aria is the da capo aria. It’s a ternary, or A-B-A form.


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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • Listening Example No. 2

    Title: He shall feed his flock from The Messiah

    Composer: G. F. Handel

    Genre: Aria

    Period: Baroque (1741)


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Vocal Music of the Baroque

  • A Chorus, often proceeds an aria in an opera.

  • The chorus is a song sung by a large ensemble of singer (a chorus).

  • The chorus may be accompanied by the orchestra or sung a cappella.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Listening Example No. 3

    Title: Halleluiah from The Messiah

    Composer: G. F. Handel

    Genre: Chorus

    Period: Baroque (1741)


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • An opera may contain Ensembles.

  • These includes duets, trios, quartets, etc.

  • The chorus may be used to back up these voices also.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • The orchestra performs an instrumental number at the beginning of an opera called an Overture.

  • The overture can introduce melodies or themes from the opera, that will be heard later on.

  • Each act of the opera usually opens with an orchestral introduction.

  • Between scenes you may also hear interludes or sinfonias, as they were called in the Baroque Opera.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Listening Example No. 4

    Title: Overture from Dido and Aeneas

    Composer: Henry Purcell

    Genre: Opera Overture

    Period: Baroque (1689)


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • The opera composer works with Librettist, who writes the text of the work.

  • The Libretto, is the text, or script, of the opera.

  • The composer will often work with the librettist tot create dramatic insight, characters, and the plot to justify the use of music.



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Vocal music of the baroque

Early Opera in Italy

  • Early opera in Italy was influenced mostly by the Florentine Camerata.

  • Operas were first performed in courts, for royal weddings, and similar ceremonial occasions.

  • The first great composer of Opera was Claudio Monteverdi. His first opera was called Orfeo and written in 1607. Orfeo was such a huge success he wrote his second in 1608 called Arianna. Both were first performed at royal weddings.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • During Monteverdi’s time the first opera houses opened in Venice.

  • Opera was slowly moving out of the palace and becoming a new, popular form of entertainment.

    Vienna Opera House


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Vocal music of the baroque

Opera in France

  • The Italian Opera was rejected in France.

  • French composers set out to fashion their own style drawn from court ballet and classical tragedy.

  • The result was the tragedie lyrique which combined dance scenes and tales of courtly love.

  • The most significant French opera composer is Jean-Baptiste Lully.


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Vocal music of the baroque

Opera in England

  • Early opera in England was forbidden during the period of the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell. Puritans regarded the theatre as an invention of the devil.

  • It wasn’t until after this period that opera was able to flourish in England with Henry Purcell and Dido and Aeneas.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)

  • Singer, Organist, and Composer

  • Key in the development of major-minor tonality.

  • His first and only opera is regarded as the most important in the Baroque era.

  • Dido and Aeneas – 1689


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Vocal music of the baroque

Dido and Aeneas

  • Based on the adventures of the hero Aeneas after the fall of Troy.

  • Uses the popular Basso-Continuo accompaniment in many of the recitatives and arias.

  • First performed at Mr. Josias Priest’s Boarding School at Chelsey.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Listening Example No. 5

    Title: Dido’s Lament from Dido and Aeneas

    Composer: Henry Purcell

    Genre: Opera Recitative and Aria

    Period: Baroque (1689)


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • The Italian Cantata is a work for one or more vocalists with instrumental accompaniment.

  • Chorus was later added to the genre.

  • Based on one of three poetic types…

    Lyric

    Dramatic

    Narrative


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Lyric Cantata– expresses personal emotion and allows the music to dominate the story.

  • Dramatic Cantata – written for a performance in a play(comedy or tragedy)

  • Narrative Cantata – tells a story and follows characters through a plot.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Earliest Cantatas were short and intimate

  • Usually based on secular text.

  • Consisted of several sections set as recitative and arias.

  • Among the most common Italian composers of the genre was the female Barbra Strozzi.


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Vocal music of the baroque

  • Barbra Strozzi

  • (1619 – 1677)

  • Father was a popular Venetian playwright.

  • Singer, Poet, Composer, and Loutist



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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

  • (1685 – 1750)

  • Culminating figure in Baroque Music and a giant in music history

  • Born in Eisenach Germany into a musically popular family.

  • Parents died at age of 10 and was raised by his older brother - organist



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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • The Weimar Period (1708 – 1717)

  • At 23 Bach was appointed to his first important position as the Court Organist for the Duke of Weimar.

  • Saw the rise in his fame as an organ virtuoso and important works for organ.

  • Bach’s first 6 children were born during this period. 20 Total.


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Cothen Period (1717 – 1723)

  • After the duke failed to promote Bach he accepted a position with the prince of Cothen.

  • In this period Bach would produce many his suites, concertos, and sonatas for various instruments. Including the Brandenburg Concertos.

  • Bach’s first wife died during this period and he remarried Anna Magdalena Wilcke.


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Bach was 38 years old when he was appointed to the highest music position in Germany. St. Thomas’s Church in Leipzig.

  • Bach stayed incrediably busy during this time, yet managed to write some of his largest most important works including the St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, B minor Mass, and the Well Tempered Clavier.


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Bach was extremely devout.

  • A Lutheran

  • Wrote several chorales – hymn tunes

  • Wrote 200 church cantatas

  • 2 Passions

  • A Christmas Oratorio

  • B minor mass



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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • In Bach’s later years he suffered a stroke which left him blind.

  • On his death bed, his last words were “Before Thy Throne, My God, I Stand”

  • 4 of Bach’s sons would become significant composers in the Classical era.


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

Bach’s grave at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Listening Example No. 6

    Title: Nun Dunket alla Gott from Cantata No. 79

    (None is greater than God)

    Composer: J. S. Bach

    Genre: Sacred Cantata

    Period: Baroque (1715)


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J. S. Bach and the Sacred Cantata

  • Listening Example No. 7

    Title: Toccata and Fugue in D minor

    Composer: J. S. Bach

    Genre: Keyboard Fugue

    Period: Baroque (1709)





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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Oratorio – large scale sacred musical work for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra.

  • Oratorio is Italian for “a place of prayer.”

  • The first oratorios were actually sacred operas with all of the dramatics

  • Middle 1600’s the church demanded that the oratorio be less theatrical.

  • The role of the chorus was often emphasized.


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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • George Frederic Handel

  • (1685 – 1759)

  • Bach and Handel never met.

  • Born in Halle, Germany

  • Played as a violinist in the Hamburg Opera-House Orchestra.

  • While there, he wrote his first of several operas, Almira.


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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Handel visited London in 1710 and decided to move there. He would end up spending 50 years in the city.

  • In London Handel founded the Royal Music Academy, where he presented some of England’s first operas.

  • Handel developed a new operatic style called. Opera Seria. (Serious Opera).


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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Handel’s music academy eventually ran out of money and failed.

  • Handel switched from writing opera to oratorios.

  • Handel based many of his oratorios on the old testament.

  • The British people considered Handel a rock-star of the time.


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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Like Bach, Handel became blind in his later years from cataracts.

  • In 1759 after his 74th birthday Handel was conducting the Messiah and collapsed on stage after the end of the performance.

  • Handel died a few days later.

  • England gave Handel the honor of being buried in Westminster Abbey.



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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Handel would wrote 40 operas: Julius Ceasar and Almira

  • 29 Oratorios: The Messiah, Theodora, Israel in Egypt, and Sampson.

  • 200 works for orchestra: Royal Fireworks and Water Music

  • 150 harpsichord preludes and fugues.


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G. F. Handel and the Oratorio

  • Listening Example No. 8

    Title: Angels ever bright and fair from Theodora

    Composer: G. F. Handel

    Genre: Oratorio aria

    Period: Baroque (1750)



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The Baroque period was the first era in history where instrumental music became as important as vocal.

  • In the early Baroque music was performed on whatever instrument was available.

  • Later Baroque composers tended to choose specific instruments according to their timber.

  • Thus came the art of ORCHESTRATION


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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The Baroque saw a dramatic improvement in the construction of string instruments.

  • Most violin builder…Stradivarius

  • Most famous model of the time “Tom Taylor”


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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • Strings of the Baroque were made out of Gut rather than steel.

  • Gut = animal intestines (mostly cows) produced a softer sound than steel.

  • String instruments closely resemble those of today, however playing position and bowing differ dramatically.



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • Woodwind instruments were used increasingly for color in the later Baroque.

  • Main woodwind instruments include:

    Recorder

    Flute

    Oboe

    Bassoon (Fagotti)



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The trumpet appeared in the Baroque from an instrument primarily used for military signals.

  • It was a natural instrument – (No Valves or Keys)

  • Sackbut – Trombone like instrument

  • Baroque Horn – Ancestor of the French Horn



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • There were 3 important keyboard instruments of the Baroque…

    Organ

    Harpsichord

    Clavichord


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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • Organ was used both a church and home (smaller). Used series of pipes to produce sound with air.

  • Multiple keyboards made it possible to produce terraced levels of dynamics.



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The harpsichord was very common. It looks like a piano with two major differences.

  • The strings inside were plucked by quills rather than struck by hammers.

  • It could not produce dynamics by key pressure like a piano. There were two keyboards with softer strings for minimal dynamic change.



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The clavichord was a favored instrument of the home.

  • Tone was produced by the action of a metal tangent exerting pressure on the strings inside.



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Instrumental Music of the Baroque

  • The Baroque Orchestra is much smaller in size than today's modern orchestra. With limited percussion


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