Instrumental music using piano or clavier (a German word for keyboard), violin, harpsichord and other string instruments ruled the Baroque Era of Western European Art Music between the years 1600 to 1750. Characteristics and Forms Although Temperley argues that “Baroque music was written largely for monarchs, aristocrats, and authoritarian church leaders” (par 9), the soulful melody and dramatically arrangement of any musical piece created during this era captured the hearts of the religious and nonreligious groups.
Furthermore, as Kisser said “the middle class formed too in this era” (par 1). Generally, baroque music has the counterpoint and contrast as the main ingredients. Its characteristic is designed to be emotional in nature having a more rigid formal design with modern tones and experimental rhythm using the combination of a firm and repeatedly strong bass line with florid treble as composers aimed to communicate with contemporary music in accordance to their affectionate behavior. Musical forms are not stiff to instrumental music alone.
Along with suite, fugue, partita, canzona, sinfonia, fantasia, ricercar, toccata, chaccone, sonata, concerto and concerto grasso, which the orchestra is composed mainly of different musical instruments to create a smooth polyphony sound, the use of vocal music with the form of cantata, monody, anthem, passion, masque, chorale prelude, oratorio and opera started to emerge and soon became in-demand. The incorporation of ballet dancing and theatrical arts is also introduced, and the public appreciated it as such. The Era of Baroque Music 1600-1630 (Early Baroque)
The death of Renaissance period segued into the Early Baroque Music in the year 1600. It started when the Florentine Camerata decided to reinvent the conventional polyphonic sound from complex arrangements to basic accompaniment and simple melodies. As a result, counterpoint musical compositions began rising. The initiative to use chords instead of notes created tonality, and harmony is then expressed. As Baroque genre is starting to emerge, Protestantism also appears elsewhere in Italy. Experimentation in arts and music becomes powerful in reviving Catholicism.
Instrumentation and lively orchestral music was one of its products. However, when public grew tired listening over purely musical instruments, another innovation come out. The use of music and text is demonstrated in Orfeo, the first ever opera composed by Claudio Monteverdi with the use of singer actors and music combined. 1630-1680 (Middle or Classic Baroque) Due to the patronage in Baroque genre, availability of orchestral instruments increased. Playwright artists gave vast contributions and became popular as well as opera and other theatrical drama, dances such as ballet, and vocal music genre.
Most of their themes were excerpted from the rhetorical approach of Greek and Roman in arts and music. Formal teaching of art lessons specifically music started in Middle Baroque to give focus more on music and harmony. Counterpoint compositions turned out to be more systematic and well-arranged. However, the attractiveness of theatrical genre did not give concerto and concerto grasso a hindrance to be accepted. Instead, music in this era is more appreciated by the public. Some of the endless masterpieces created during the Classic Baroque survived until today like George Friedrich Handel’s Hallelujah and Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
1680-1750 (Late Baroque) The declination of Baroque period began in the year 1680 and ended in the year 1750. Germany in this time adopted Italy’s artful tradition that they developed later on putting German touch. Music here was high-priced due to the demand of royal courts and members of the aristocracy. European art-music started to be respected by other neighboring continents like the United States of America. Knowledge and scientific discoveries as well as art and music were given utmost attention where composers and musicians are treated patrons even by the secular and religious members.
Before the Baroque period moved to classical era, another significant innovation in music has been made available, and two composition styles were observed. These are called “the homophonic dominated by vertical considerations and the polyphonic dominated by imitation and contrapuntal considerations”. (Wikipedia par 69) Composers and Musicians of Baroque Era Further studies of Thornburgh and Logan said, “Baroque musicians were not concerned with expressing their own feelings and emotions, rather they sought to describe with objectivity, feelings and emotions which were distinct from what they actually felt”.
(par 21) Here are some of the most admired, influential and well-appreciated composers, playwright artists, and musicians during this era. Italy: Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Corelli, Vivaldi, Domenico and Scarlatti France: Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Couperin, Lully, Charpenter, and Rameau Germany: Praetorius, Scheidt, Schutz, Telemann, Pachelbel, Handel and Bach England: Purcell, Donne and Milton R E F E R E N C E S Baroque Music. Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. 11 Nov. 2007 < http://en. wikipedia. or g/wiki/Baroque_music>
Bukofzer, Manfred. Music of the Bartoque Era. New York: Norton Company Inc. , 1947 Kisser, Brandon. A Brief History of Music: The Baroque Era Part I. Sept. 2007. Newsvine. Com. 12 Nov. 2007