MUSI mod4


irregularly shaped pearl

music changes during era (1600-1750)

introduction of homophony: accompanied melodic line - doctrine of the affections
more instrumental music
major/minor tonality - equal temperament
"The Virtuoso

influence of humanism

interest in greek/roman philosophy, ideals
desire to re-create Greek staged tragedies (Sophocles, Virgil, etc)

baroque musical characteristics

rhythm: either very rigid or very free
greater usage of dissonant chords
wider range of dynamics
composers sought to use music to arouse feelings/emotions


large scale drama that is sung; performed by vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra
full-length operas usually divided into two or three acts; gives the audience a break at major plot points


speech-like musical section that explains plot development


highly emotional song; more lyrical and melodic than recitative


instrumental piece that precedes the opera itself; previews important themes that come from the opera


text or script of opera; written by librettist

henry purcell (1659-1695)

from england
court composer
organist at westminster abbey - funeral/burial
musical style embodies early Baroque norms: major/minor tonality, dynamics

Dido and Aeneas (1689)

opera by Purcell
three acts
story of star-crossed lovers

Dido's Lament

emotional climax; towards the end of act 3
uses ostinato


ground bass; bass repeats as melody changes over it

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

born: Eisenach, Germany
married twice
at least 19 children
several children became composers/ musicians (Johann Christian Bach and Carl Philippe Emmanuel Bach)

Bach 1708-1717

court organist and chamber musician to Duke of Weimar - important organ works

Bach 1717-1723

Cothen - instrumental/chamber ensemble works (Brandenburg Concertors)

Bach 1723-1750

St. Thomas's Church at Leipzig
among most prominent music positions in Germany at the time
music for church services: cantanas, Passions, Masses

Bach music style

clear tonal structures
strong rhythmic drive
complex polyphonic texture - counterpoint


large vocal/orchestral works written for Lutheran church service
vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra
unified by chorale at end of piece; hymn tune set in 4-parts
multi-movement works; contain recitative, arias


religious vocal genre; performed by vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra; not staged
based on Biblical stories
like opera, contains recitative, arias, choruses

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

born, studied in Halle, Germany
buried in Westminster Abbey
excelled in all Baroque musical forms; best remembered for oratorios

Handel musical style

tendency towards diatonic (not chromatic)
powerful melodies
alternation of fugal textures (polyphony) with homophonic blocks of sound
notable increased usage of chorus in oratorio

keyboard music

Baroque era sees first important wealth of solo keyboard music: organ, harpsichord, clavichord
movement to equal temperament crucial force in development of these instruments - usage of key signature

art of fugue

composed in final decade of Bach's life
demonstrates all types of fugal composition
18 fugues and 18 canons


polyphonic work based on a central subject; popular in Baroque era
begins with subject in single voice, each other voice enters with subject in succession
typically shoter pieces; "conversation" upon subject between voices


passage wherin subject is absent