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Baroque music [1600-1750

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• The original meaning of "baroque" is "misshapen pearl", a strikingly fitting characterization of the architecture of this period; later, the name came to be applied also to its music. Composers : Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Johann Sebastian Bach. The baroque period saw the development of functional tonality. During the period composers and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation; made changes in musical notation, and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size, range and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established opera as a musical genre. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today.

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The Baroque Orchestra
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A performing group based on the violin family. Flexible instrumental makeup, vary from piece to piece. 10 – 30 players. The nucleus: basso continuo (harpsichord + cello or double bass or bassoon) & upper strings (violins & violas).
Use of woodwind, brass and percussion was variable. Trumpets & timpani joined the orchestra mainly when the music was festive. 1 instrument was treated like another – an oboe would play the same melody as the violins; or the flute & trumpet would imitate each other for extneded sections of a piece.

Genres Concerto Grosso musical material is passed between a small group of soloists (the concertino) and full orchestra (the ripieno or tutti).
1. Contrast between loud & soft sounds. 2. Consists of several movements that contrast in speed & character. Usually in 3 movements : fast - slow – fast 3. Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D by J.S.Bach OPERA 1. Drama that is sung to orchestral accompaniment. 2. Fusion of music, acting, poetry, dance, scenery & costumes, a theatrical experience offering overwhelming excitement & emotion. Listening: Monteverdi’s Orfeo 1607, Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas(1689) Tutti String orchestra Soloists flute, violin, harpsichord

The Chorale and Church Cantata
In Bach’s time, the Sunday Lutheran Church service was a social event of the week.

Typical Sunday Services 7 am motet, hymns, organ solo. 8 am Cantata and/or Chorale 9 am Sermon, at least one hour 10 am – 12 noon Cantata and/or Chorale, Communion Small orchestra (14 -21 players) to accompany a choir (around 12 men & boys). German religious text, newly written or from Bible or familiar hymns. Chorales were easy to sing & remember, syllabic & moving in steady rhythm. Last 25 minutes with several movements – choruses, recitatives, arias & duets. Closely resembled the opera of the time- a typical Baroque fusion of sacred & secular elements in art & music. Cantata No.140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, a voice is Calling Us, 1731) – J.S.Bach

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Oratorio
• • • • A major development in Baroque vocal music together with the opera and cantata Large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Similar to the opera - the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias. Differences - opera is musical theatre, while oratorio is strictly a concert piece..  There is little or no interaction between the characters, no props or elaborate costumes.  Opera tends to deal with history and mythology, including age-old devices of romance, deception, and murder, whereas the plot of an oratorio often deals with sacred topics, making it appropriate for performance in the church. Protestant composers took their stories from the Bible, while Catholic composers looked to the lives of saints. Oratorios became extremely popular in early 17th century Italy partly because of the success of the opera. E.g .Handel’s Messiah (1741)

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