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Johann Sebastian Bach. J.S. Bach worked at different times for nobility and the church. He never moved far from his birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. He composed about 1000 pieces, mainly religious oratorios and pieces for organ or harpsichord. Bach was a master of the fugue.

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johann sebastian bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
  • J.S. Bach worked at different times for nobility and the church. He never moved far from his birthplace, Leipzig, Germany.
  • He composed about 1000 pieces, mainly religious oratorios and pieces for organ or harpsichord.
  • Bach was a master of the fugue.
  • Bach’s music represents the musical trend of the Baroque period. It was “cutting edge” for his time.
  • Today he is known as the greatest composer of the Baroque period. During his lifetime, he was known for his skill as an organist but not as a composer.
  • Four of his sons are also well-known composers.
slide2
Listen to excerpts from each piece. In your notes, make a line drawing that represents the harmony created in each.
  • Little Fugue in G - fugue
  • Toccata and Fugue in d minor - fugue
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - chorale

Many hymns of today began as chorales from some of Bach’s larger works.

slide3
In your notes, write one way the music, architecture, fashion and art of the Baroque Period are similar.
beat steady pulse tempo the speed of the beat
The music seems to be moving forward with a sense of purpose or urgency, a sense of “rhythmic drive.”

The beat or pulse of Baroque music is usually very steady.

The tempo of Baroque music can be any speed. The tempo stays the same through the entire composition.

Beat: steady pulseTempo: the speed of the beat
listen to an excerpt from each piece and focus on the beat the rhythmic drive and the tempo
Listen to an excerpt from each piece, and focus on the beat, the “rhythmic drive,” and the tempo.
  • Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach
  • “Autumn” from The Four Seasons by A. Vivaldi

These pieces were composed as music to listen to. Where do you think these pieces were originally performed, and who was there to listen?

Would this be good music to listen to if you are working on homework? In an office? Why or why not?

slide6

Dynamics: the loudness or softness (quietness) of music.During the Baroque period, how loud or soft the music is depends on the number of musicians playing. Instruments are fairly crude and not easy to control. 1 bassoon = softer more bassoons = louder

slide7

Composers began to write dynamic markings in their music during the 17th century (1600s). It wasn’t long before piano and forte are written in new Italian music. Similar markings are added to music by composers in other European countries.Why do you think little or no orchestra music was composed in the New World at this time?

When 3 bassoons play, then 2, then 1, the change from loud to softer to soft is more like steps than a gradual change. This effect is called terraced dynamics.

oratorio musical drama based on a religious subject
Oratorio: musical drama based on a religious subject.
  • The oratorio tells a story through music.
  • Similar to an opera, there are no speaking parts.
  • Different from an opera, the singers stand in place.
    • No special costumes
    • No scenery
    • No acting on stage
    • Sung in English.
george frideric handel
George Frideric Handel
  • Handel was born in Germany. He traveled a lot and eventually settled in England.
  • He was a court musician, and paid very well!
  • Handel was a popular composer during his life time. He wrote in many different genres/styles of music including oratorios, orchestral works, chamber music, and operas.

In your notes, write three details of Handel’s clothing that make you think he lives during the Baroque Period.

handel composed 25 oratorios his most famous oratorio messiah is still performed often
Handel composed 25 oratorios. His most famous oratorio, Messiah, is still performed often.
  • Messiah was written in 23 days for a charity performance in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Handel composed this work so it could be performed by most singers and accompanied by a small orchestra. Since the charity performance was done outside of London, Handel did not expect to have as many fine musicians in the orchestra and chorus as he did in the big city.
  • The beauty and simplicity of Messiah have made it one of the most well-known and most frequently performed works ever.
  • King George II was in the audience of the first

performance in London. During the section called

“Hallelujah Chorus,” King George II was so

enthusiastic he stood! No one can remain seated

when the king is standing, so everyone in the audience

stood, too. Since that day, everyone stands for the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

slide11
Listen to excerpts from two of Handel’s oratorios:
    • “Hallelujah Amen” from Judas Maccabaeus
    • “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah.

Why do you suppose people have continued to enjoy Handel’s (and Bach’s) music for more than 250 years?

concerto a piece for instruments usually based on contrasting textures moods timbres and tempos
Concerto:a piece for instruments usually based on contrasting textures, moods, timbres, and tempos.
  • As instruments improved, composers placed greater demands on the performers.
  • The concerto grosso has a small solo group of instruments (concertino) play against the full orchestra.
  • One example of a concerto grosso is Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach. Listen to the excerpt.

In your notes, name the instruments of the concertino.

antonio vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
  • Vivaldi entered the priesthood, but could not ignore his love of music.
  • He taught violin and conducted an orchestra at an orphanage for girls in Venice. The orphanage was famous for its many accomplished musicians.

Why would conducting an orchestra at an orphanage for girls be unusual around 1700?

slide14
Solo Concerto: piece for solo instrument with orchestra accompaniment. During his lifetime, Antonio Vivaldi composed about 500 concertos.
  • Vivaldi’s concertos are very difficult to play. A virtuoso, or highly skilled performer, is required for the soloist.
  • The Four Seasons is a set of concertos for violin.
  • Listen to an excerpt from “Autumn.”

Describe the mood or feeling you get from

this movement. Predict the moods of

“Spring,” “Summer,” and “Winter.”What

tempo or dynamics might to help convey the different mood or feeling?

review of music in the baroque
Review of Music in the Baroque
  • Where was music performed during this time?
  • What are some of the duties expected of a composer if he was employed by Royalty or the Church?
  • Is there a something undesirable about the patronage system?
  • What instruments were part of the orchestras during this time?
review of music in the baroque16
Review of Music in the Baroque

5. Performers were expected to sing or play the melody of a piece exactly as the composer wrote it. True or False, and why?

6. How is harmony created in a fugue?

7. If you wanted a group of instruments to play loud, then a little softer, then soft, why would the dynamics be terraced and not gradual?

8. How is music of the Baroque like the art, architecture, and fashions of the time?

review of music in the baroque17
Review of Music in the Baroque
  • I composed more than 500 concertos, each requiring a virtuoso soloist. I also conducted an orchestra at an orphanage for girls. Who am I?
  • I was a popular composer of my time, and traveled a lot to conduct my works. One of my most famous pieces is an oratorio. Who am I?
  • I was a master of the fugue, but known more for my virtuoso skills as an organist. Today many people think of me as the greatest composer of the Baroque Period. Who am I?
  • When someone talks about the “Baroque” Period, what years does that cover?