Baroque EraApprox. 1600 1750
Baroque Era ComposersJohann Sebastian Bach (1685 1750 - born in Eisenach, NW Germany - had 20 children with two wives (four of whom were to become noted composers and performers in the Classical Era) - most of his career was spent as music director at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where he ran a school, directed an orchestra, trained choirs, gave music lessons and composed music for the churchMajor compositions: Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg Variations, Mass in B minor
Antonia Vivaldi (1678 1741) - born in Venice - learned the violin as a child and performed with his father, a musical barber-surgeon, which gained him fame - taken on by the director of music in St. Marks Cathedral, who taught him theory, counterpoint and composition - became a priest - worked as music director for a girls orphanage (the orphaned girls were the daughters of wealthy Venetian merchants who were born illegitimately from their illicit affairs) - received many commissions from European nobles and royaltyMajor Compositions: Gloria, Four Seasons, many operas and concertos
George Frederick Handel (1685 - 1759) - born in Halle, Saxony, Germany - studied in Italy from age 17 to 25, when he moved to England as the new Director of music at the Royal Chapel of King George I - Handel busied himself with opera and theatre management in London, as well as continuous composition of operas, concerti and oratorios - became a naturalized British subject in 1727 - died a millionaire of complications from surgery to relieve his failing eyesight and was buried in Westminster AbbeyMajor Compositions: The Messiah, Music for the Royal Fireworks, Water Music Suite
Arcangelo Corelli (1653 1713) - born in Fusignano, near Ravenna, Italy - studied violin and composition from noted professionals - began his career in Paris where he gained international fame - directed music in the court of the Prince of Bavaria, Germany - died rich and is buried in the Pantheon in RomeMajor Compositions: Christmas Concerto
Baroque Era Composers
Baroque EraCharacteristicsShared with the Renaissance:
use of polyphony (the texture of combining two or more independent melodic voices) and counterpoint (the interdependent relationship in rhythm and harmony between two or more independent voices in a piece of music) although these tools were used differently in Baroque music
development of the fugue as a defining art form uses much more ornamentation, sometimes at the performers whim musicians were trained in the art of improvisation (making up decorative embellishments based on an established music structure) music written for virtuosic vocal soloists and instrumentalists featured as stars harder to perform than Renaissance music development of major and minor scales regulation of the keyboard (Tempering or Tempered) New Expressions of Music: Opera (a large scale piece of music written to tell a non-religious story), Oratorio (a large scale piece of music written to tell a religious story) , Concerti Grossi (Concerto Grosso) and Sonati (Sonata)(compositions written to feature a specific instrument or group of instruments with full orchestra demonstrating unique features) contrasting volume and tempo (terraced)
Baroque InstrumentsClockwise from top: zither, alto & sopranino recorders; lute, viola; bass viol, lute, baroque guitar; two members of the viol family; viola da gamba
Instruments were constructed for more intimate performances, though groups of them were collected in orchestras for large venues & celebrations (i.e. Coronations, Royal Fireworks, state funerals, operas, oratorios)
Baroque InstrumentsA baroque composer conducting a performance featuring an organist and players of various sizes of viols.Harpsichord: An early keyboard instrument. Strings were stretched across a harp in a wooden cabinet. Keys were connected to moving goose quills which pluck each string when pressed. Players were unable to vary the volume to any great degree. Used as a foundation continuo (rhythm & harmonic structure) of much Baroque music..
Baroque InstrumentsPipe Organ Origins in ancient Romes Collosseum (like modern hockey arenas) Small pipe organs were used in late Medieval and Renaissance cathedrals to augment the human voice during the chanting of mass Martin Luther (1483 1546) was a German monk who questioned the practices of the R.C.Church and started a protestant revolution in which the congregation (people) became more important than the priest in church started the Protestant Reformation
Baroque InstrumentsPipe Organ (II)Congregational singing (rather than the chanting of monks) became accepted practice in Protestant Churches. Pipe organs were used to lead and support this practice of worship
Pipe organs became so popular that wealthy aristocrats and monarchs had them built for their large palaces. An example in Toronto is the great pipe organ built for Sir Henry Pellatt in Casa Loma
Baroque InstrumentsPipe Organ (III)Pipe organs consist of a series of hollow metal or wood tubes through which air is pushed (like a recorder).Many ranks or series of different shaped pipes provide variations of sounds a pipe organ can make. A keyboard opens the pipes of whichever note(s) in the chosen rank(s) the player wishes to play.The air is provided by a bellows, (a pump providing sufficient air pressure to the pipes) operated either by human or later, electrical power.Pipes vary in size from a few centimetres to 64 feet in some of the largest instruments.From the time of the Baroque era, keyboards specifically designed for the feet had been developed. These played the deeper bass notes and required extreme coordination on the part of the organist.
Baroque InstrumentsPipe Organ (IV)The use of pipe organs became popular in music composition and were originally available only in churches and castles of the rich and royal (sponsors of most musical performance & composition in the Baroque Era).Later, pipe organs were built in all 19th century civic concert halls during the Romantic period.
Bassoon dates from about 1660 double reed, made of wood lower pitched than oboe
OboeOrigins in middle east but migrated to medieval Europe with the shawmrich, mellow tone, perfect for accompanying or harmonizing with human voice
Baroque WoodwindsFluteAncient instrument evolved from a recorderoriginally made of wood, like the recorderTwo different models of playing featured either: a) blowing across the round mouth hole type (transverse), like the pan flute or, b) blowing into a whistle mouthpiece like the recorderThe modern flute comes from the German transverse fluteEarly flutes featured one thumb hole and from 4 to 8 finger holes1st key added in 1688, followed by 2nd in 1762 by Quantz, flute teacher to King Frederick the Great of Prussia (Germany)
Baroque WoodwindsContrabassoonRecorder in existence since the 12th century- name recorder first appeared in a document in 1388- eight sizes; from sopranino to great bass- common in the Renaissance- often used by Baroque composers, like J.S. Bach in his Brandenburg Concerto #2
Baroque BrassAlto and Renaissance sackbuts (trans. pull tube in Spanish.) - immediate predecessor to the modern trombone - noted for its soft, muted sound - trombones introduced in c.1400s featured thicker metal and narrower bells
Horn (evolved from hunting horns) - could produce twelve tones of natural harmonics - introduced into orchestras in early 1700s - hand-stooping technique allowed for greater range of notes around 1750
Trumpet - ancient instrument from many cultures - used in China as a signaling tool 2000 BCE; Egypt 1500 BCE - early European versions were coiled in an S shape (1400s) - by 1500 coiled into a elongated loop - valves added late 1700s and early 1800s