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Baroque Arts and Music

Baroque Arts and Music

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  • 1. Introduction to Baroque Arts and Music by Elliott Jones of Santa Ana College for Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative shared under a Creative Commons Attribution License
  • 2. Barroco Portugese term Origin of “Baroque” Pearl of irregular shape Originally had negative connotation Referred to excessive ornamentation in art Bernini’s canopy in St. Peter’s Altar at St. Peter’s
  • 3. Baroque (1600 – 1750) New sound emerges in northern Italy Grows out of several trends Virtuosic singing in Italian madrigals Reaction against equal-voiced Renn. Polyphony Growing desire for expressivity Baroque style evolves greatly over 150 yrs.
  • 4. Stylistic Variation From early to late Baroque musical styles and tastes change dramatically. Some 20th century scholars felt this couldn’t be considered a single historical period. Though there is now consensus on using the term “Baroque” to describe this period, early Baroque music sounds very different from late Baroque music.
  • 5. Doctrine of the Affections Musical expression influences emotion One emotion (or “affect”) per piece/mvmt. Musical settings should reinforce the text Especially relevant to vocal music
  • 6. Monody An early Baroque innovation in singing Expressive, text-oriented solo vocal line Sparse accompaniment – basso continuo Homophonic texture Dominant melody Chordal accompaniment Origin of monody in Florentine Camerata
  • 7. Basso Continuo An accompaniment by two instruments One melodic bass: cello, bassoon One chordal instrument: harpsichord, organ Music not fully written out Bass line with numbers written below indicating the harmony This is called “figured bass” Creates a top-bottom harmonic emphasis
  • 8. Baroque Style Elements: Melody Two kinds of melody develop Vocal – expressive, virtuosic Instrumental – mechanical, sequential repetition Vocal lines frequently shift dramatically from long to short notes Melodic lines are typically long, expansive, and irregular (contrast w/Classical period)
  • 9. Baroque Style Elements: Harmony Conceived vertically – chords Continuo is ubiquitous Dominance of major and minor scales Over time the chord progressions become more standardized
  • 10. Baroque Style Elements: Rhythm Rhythm generally uniform within a piece Strong beat common in instrumental music Rhythmic drive increases over the course of the Baroque
  • 11. Baroque Style Elements: Texture Early Baroque composers favored homophonic texture. This was a reaction to late Renaissance polyphony that they felt impeded expression Late Baroque composers embraced elaborate polyphonic textures. J.S. Bach was a master of counterpoint.
  • 12. Baroque Style Elements: Dynamics Composers specify volume for first time Forte = loud Piano = soft Baroque composers preferred sudden changes in dynamic levels Terraced dynamics
  • 13. Virtuoso Musicians Performance standards rise Advanced playing/singing technique is demanded by the music Domenico Scarlatti – harpsichord Antonio Vivaldi – violin The castratti – operatic vocalists