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Baroque Period
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  1. Baroque Period 1600-1750

  2. Characteristics of the Baroque Period • Unity of Mood • Most music used one mood throughout the piece • General moods used included joy, grief, agitation • Specific rhythms or patterns were used to depict specific moods • Only exception to unity of mood was vocal music, vocal music COULD change moods within the piece of music • Rhythm • Continuity of Rhythm • The same rhythmic patterns were heard from beginning to end • Rhythmic continuity provide energy and drive for music • Beat was emphasized more than in Renaissance music • Melody • Melody is continuous and heard over and over throughout the piece • Melodies sound elaborate and ornamental • Not easy to sing or remember • Dynamics • Dynamics were terraced like stairs and changed suddenly • There were no crescendos and decrescendos • Most important keyboard instruments were harpsichord and organ which played one dynamic level

  3. Characteristics of the Baroque Period (can't) • Texture • Mostly polyphonic • Often used two or more melodies at once • Most important lines were the soprano and bass • Chords • Used as harmony or support for the melody • Used more chords • Used a shorthand technique of numbers under the music to represent the chords called Basso Continuo or Figured Bass • Basso Continuo or Figured bass was played by harpsichord, cello or bassoon • Words and Music • Continued to use word painting • Enphasis on a word might have many notes per syllable • Individual words and phrases might be repeated over and over • Baroque Orchestra • First time set instrumentation was used for individual pieces of music • Usually fairly small between 10-40 people • Based on string family • Instrumentation varied depending on the needs of the music • Common instruments – recorder, flute, oboe, trumpet, horn, trombone, timpani • Basso continuo or figured bass was the center of the orchestra and used the harpsichord, bassoon and cello

  4. How to Become a Musician During the Baroque Period • Often handed down from father to son – like Bach and Vivaldi • Boys were apprenticed to town musicians and received training in exchange for odd jobs like copying music • Started as choir boys in orphanages • Many orphanages in Italy were connected with music school and students received music training

  5. How to Get a Music Job in the Baroque Period • Had to pass a difficult exam • Had to perform • Had to submit compositions for approval • Sometimes had to give money to town • May have to marry someone’s daughter

  6. Form – the structure of blueprint of how music is constructed and put together Binary Form – AB – 2 part form (2 different unrelated sections) Ternary Form – ABA – 3 part form (first and last sections related, middle section different) Movement – piece of music that sounds complete but is part of a larger work – a piece of music broken into sections with silence between the sections, usually fast, slow, fast Forms of Music During the Baroque Period

  7. Concerto Grosso Small group of soloists contrasted with a larger group Usually in several movements that contrast in tempo and mood Movements are: fast, slow, fast Fugue Polyphonic composition based on one theme called the subject Different melodic lines imitate the subject or theme Like a round or canon but imitation is the interval of a 5th higher – called answer Many fugues have a second theme or melody called counter subject Sonata Instrumental work for 1-8 instruments Started in Italy then moved to Germany, England and France Performed in palaces, homes and churches Suites Sets of instrumental music inspired by dance music for solo, group or orchestra In movements all in the same key, but different in mood, tempo meter Music influenced by dance so very balanced and symmetrical in phrases Some of the dance movement names: Gavotte, Sarabande, Allemande, Gigue, Courante, Bouree, Polonaise Forms (con’t)

  8. Chorale or Hymn Music most important part of Lutheran church services Sung in German Easy to sing with one note per syllable of text Steady rhythm Often used tunes from folksongs, Catholic hymns or song already composed Way for congregation to participate in church service new music was based on traditional melodies already established Before congregation sang, organist would play a Chorale Prelude – short piece based on the melody to remind the congregation what chorale or hymn sounded like Oratorio A large scale composition for chorus, vocal soloist and orchestra Usually set to a narrative text Based on Bible stories, but not intended for religious services 1st oratorios appeared in 17th Century Italy as musical dramatizations of Bible stories and were performed in prayer halls called oratorios Like opera, but no scenery, acting, costumes Cantata Like a sonata for voices Several movements for chorus with one or more soloist Sung in German text either from Bible, hymns or newly written Used to reinforce ministers sermon A new cantata was sung every Sunday or Holiday and might last up to 25 minutes (Bach wrote 295) Forms (con’t)

  9. Opera • Opera • A drama that is sung to orchestral accompaniment • Fusion of music, acting, poetry, dance, scenery, costumes • Began in Italy around 1600 • Requires people who can sing and act • Uses soloists, chorus, dancers and extras • Requires people to make and move scenery, man lights, stage machinery • Scenery, lighting and stage machinery used to create the illusions of floods, fires, storms and supernatural events • Also requires musicians in the pit to play music • Conductor holds the entire performance together • Requires several hundred people including stage director, vocal coaches, accompanists for rehearsals, technicians, and stage hands • Characters might include Gods, empresses, dukes, servants, priests, prostitutes, peasants, clowns and cowboys

  10. Opera is a joint effort between the composer and dramatist Libretto – text written by librettist or dramatist Music set by composer 3 types of opera Opera Comique – mostly sung, may have spoken dialogue Grand Opera –everything is sung Opera Buffa – Comic opera, funny Opera (con’t)

  11. Opera (con’t) • Features of opera • Aria – song that is sung • Recitative – a speech like style of singing, more sing song than sung outright • Overture – music played at the beginning to set the mood before the drama begins • Entr’acte – light instrumental music played between acts – music played after the intermission to refocus the audience before the second half of drama begins

  12. Baroque Opera • Early opera was modeled after Greek Tragedy (late 1500s) • Monteverdi wrote the 1st great opera – Orfeo • Baroque opera was composed for ceremonial occasions at court and designed to display great magnificent splendor • Most opera were about Greek mythology and ancient history and always intended to flatter the aristocracy • 1st opera house was in Venice, Italy in 1637 so anyone with $$$$ could by admission and could go • Most popular singers of opera were castrati • They received the highest fees • Were leads in drama • Very popular with women • Some operas can not be done today because the ranges are too high for most males

  13. Female – Soprano – the highest female register Coloratura – the soprano voice that is light and flexible enough to perform rapid scales and trills Mezzo soprano – the intermediate female voice Alto – the low female register Contralto – a low female register with a full, rich, dark, and powerful quality Male Countertenor – the highest male voices with a falsetto range Tenor – the high male range with a powerful, ringing quality Baritone – the intermediate male voice Bass – a lower male register with a rich, robust, resonant, and full quality Basso Profundo – the lowest of the adult male voices with a dark, rich, powerful quality Vocal Ranges