Baroque music

Baroque music is a style of Western arts music composed from approximately 1600 come 1750. This era adhered to the Renaissance, and was adhered to in turn by the Classical era. Words “baroque” comes from the Portuguese indigenous barroco definition misshapen pearl, a an unfavorable description the the ornate and heavily ornamented music of this period. Later, the name pertained to apply likewise to the architecture of the same period.

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Baroque music develops a major portion that the “classical music” canon, being commonly studied, performed, and also listened to. Composers the the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin,Denis Gaultier, Claudio Monteverdi, Heinrich Schütz, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jan Dismas Zelenka, and Johann Pachelbel.

The Baroque period saw the creation of tonality. During the period, composers and also performers used an ext elaborate music ornamentation, made changes in music notation, and also developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music broadened the size, range, and complexity of critical performance, and also established opera, cantata, oratorio, concerto, and sonata as musical genres. Plenty of musical terms and also concepts native this era space still in usage today.


Periods ofWestern classic music


MedievalRenaissanceCommon practiceBaroqueClassicalRomanticModern and also contemporaryModern20th centuryContemporary21st century
c. 500–1400
c. 1400–1600
c. 1600–1760
c. 1730–1820
c. 1815–1910
c. 1890–1930
c. 1975–present

History that European art music

The ax “Baroque” is typically used through music chroniclers to define a broad selection of layouts from a broad geographic region, mostly in Europe, composed over a period of approximately 150 years.

Although that was lengthy thought that words as a vital term was an initial applied come architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in one anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 that Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in may 1734. The movie critic implied that the novelty in this opera to be “du barocque,” complaining the the music lacked systematic melody, to be filled through unremitting dissonances, continuous changed crucial and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

The organized application by chroniclers of the term “baroque” come music the this duration is a fairly recent development. In 1919, Curt Sachs became the very first to apply the five attributes of Heinrich Wölfflin’s theory of the Baroque systematically come music.  Critics were quick to concern the effort to transpose Wölfflin’s categories to music, however, and in the second quarter that the 20th century independent attempts to be made by Manfred Bukofzer (in Germany and, after his immigration, in America) and by Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune (in Belgium) to use autonomous, technical evaluation rather 보다 comparative abstractions, in stimulate to stop the adaptation the theories based upon the plastic arts and literature to music. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement around time boundaries of the period, especially concerning when that began. In English the hatchet acquired money only in the 1940s, in the works of Bukofzer and Paul Henry Lang.

As late together 1960 there to be still considerable conflict in scholastic circles, specifically in France and also Britain, even if it is it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri, Domenico Scarlatti, and also J.S. Bach under a solitary rubric. Nevertheless, the ax has become widely used and also accepted because that this broad selection of music.  It might be advantageous to differentiate the Baroque indigenous both the preceding (Renaissance) and following (Classical) durations of musical history.


The Baroque duration is separated into three major phases: early, middle, and late. Although they overlap in time, lock are conventionally dated from 1580 to 1630, indigenous 1630 to 1680, and from 1680 come 1730.

Early baroque music (1580–1630)

The center Baroque period in Italy is characterized by the appearance in the cantata, oratorio, and opera during the 1630s of the bel-canto style. This style, one of the most vital contributions to the breakthrough of Baroque and also the later classical style, was created by a brand-new concept of melody and harmony that elevated the condition of the music to one of equality through the words, which formerly had been regarded as pre-eminent. The florid, coloratura monody of the early Baroque gave means to a simpler, more polished melodic style, usually in a ternary rhythm. This melodies were developed from short, cadentially delimited ideas often based on stylized run patterns drawn from the sarabande or thecourante. The harmonies, too, were much easier than in the at an early stage Baroque monody, and also the accompanying base lines were more integrated through the melody, developing a contrapuntal equivalence of the parts that later led come the machine of one initial bass anticipation that the aria melody. This harmonic simplification also led to a new formal device of the differentiation of recitative and aria. The most essential innovators of this format were the Romans Luigi Rossi and Giacomo Carissimi, that were mainly composers that cantatas and also oratorios, respectively, and also the VenetianFrancesco Cavalli, that was principally one opera composer. Later vital practitioners of this style include Antonio Cesti, Giovanni Legrenzi, and Alessandro Stradella.

The middle Baroque had actually absolutely no bearing at all on the theoretical work-related of Johann Fux, that systematized the strict counterpoint characteristics of previously ages in his Gradus ad Paranassum (1725).

One pre-eminent instance of a court style composer is Jean-Baptiste Lully. The purchased patents indigenous the monarchy to it is in the single composer the operas because that the king and to avoid others from having operas staged. He completed 15 lyric tragedies and left unfinished Achille et Polyxène.

Musically, the did not create the string-dominated norm because that orchestras, which to be inherited from the Italian opera, and the characteristically French five-part disposition(violins, violas—in hautes-contre, tailles and also quintes sizes—and base violins) had been offered in the ballet from the time of louis XIII. The did, however, introduce this ensemble come the lyric theatre, v the top parts frequently doubled through recorders, flutes, and oboes, and the base by bassoons. Trumpets and also kettledrums to be frequently included for heroic scenes.




Violino piccoloViolinViolViolaViola d’amoreViola pomposaTenor violinCelloContrabassLuteTheorboArchluteAngéliqueMandolinGuitarHarpHurdy gurdy


Baroque fluteChalumeauCortol (also known as Cortholt, Curtall, Oboe family)DulcianMusette de courBaroque oboeRackettRecorderBassoonClarinet


CornettNatural hornBaroque trumpetTromba da tirarsi (also called tromba spezzata)Flatt trumpetSerpentSackbut (16th- and early 17th-century English surname for FR: saquebute, saqueboute; ES: sacabuche; IT: trombone; MHG: busaun, busîne, busune / DE (since the early 17th century) Posaune)Trombone (English name for the exact same instrument, from the at an early stage 18th century)


ClavichordTangent pianoFortepiano – beforehand version the pianoHarpsichordOrgan


Baroque timpaniWood snare drumTenor drumTambourineCastanets

Styles and forms

The Baroque suite

The Baroque suite often is composed of the adhering to movements:

Overture – The Baroque suite often began with a French overture (“Ouverture” in French), i beg your pardon was complied with by a succession of dances of different types, principally the following four:Allemande – regularly the an initial dance of an instrumental suite, the allemande was a very popular dance that had actually its beginnings in the German Renaissance era, when it was an ext often called the almain. The allemande to be played at a moderate tempo and can start on any kind of beat of the bar.Courante – The second dance is the courante, a lively, French dance in triple meter. The Italian variation is referred to as the corrente.Sarabande – The sarabande, a Spanish dance, is the 3rd of the four simple dances, and also is one of the slowest that the baroque dances. The is likewise in triple meter and also can start on any kind of beat the the bar, although over there is focus on the second beat, developing the characteristic ‘halting’, or iambic rhythm of the sarabande.Gigue – The gigue is one upbeat and also lively baroque run in link meter, commonly the concluding movement of an important suite, and the 4th of its simple dance types. The gigue deserve to start on any type of beat of the bar and is easily recognized by its rhythmic feel. The gigue originated in the British Isles. Its counterpart in individual music is thejig.

These 4 dance species (allemande, courant, sarabande, and also gigue) consist of the bulk of 17th-century suites; later on suites interpolate one or much more additional dances between the sarabande and also gigue:

Gavotte – The gavotte have the right to be figured out by a variety of features; it is in 4/4 time and constantly starts on the third beat of the bar, although this might sound favor the first beat in some cases, as the an initial and third beats are the solid beats in quadruple time. The gavotte is played at a moderate tempo, return in some cases it may be play faster.Bourrée – The bourrée is similar to the gavotte as it is in 2/2 time although that starts top top the second half of the last beat that the bar, developing a various feel come the dance. The bourrée is generally played in ~ a middle tempo, although for some composers, such together Handel, it deserve to be taken in ~ a much quicker tempo.Minuet – The minuet is perhaps the best-known the the baroque dances in triple meter. It can start on any kind of beat the the bar. In part suites there might be a Minuet I and also II, played in succession, v the Minuet i repeated.Passepied – The passepied is a rapid dance in binary form and triple meter that originated together a court run in Brittany. Examples have the right to be uncovered in later suites such as those of Bach and Handel.

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Rigaudon – The rigaudon is a lively French run in duple meter, similar to the bourrée, yet rhythmically simpler. It originated together a household of carefully related southern-French folk dances, traditionally associated with the provinces of Vavarais, Languedoc, Dauphiné, and Provence.

Other features

Basso continuo – a sort of continuous accompaniment notated with a new music notation system, figured bass, commonly for a sustaining base instrument and also a keyboard instrument.The concerto and concerto grossoMonody – one outgrowth that songHomophony – music through one melodic voice and also rhythmically similar accompaniment (this and monody space contrasted v the common Renaissance texture,polyphony)Dramatic musical forms like opera, dramma every musicaCombined instrumental-vocal forms, such together the oratorio and cantataNew critical techniques, like tremolo and pizzicatoThe da capo aria “enjoyed sureness”.The ritornello aria – repeated short instrumental interruptions of vocal passages.The concertato style – contrast in sound in between groups of instruments.Extensive ornamentation



OperaZarzuelaOpera seriaOpéra comiqueOpera-balletMasqueOratorioPassion (music)CantataMass (music)AnthemMonodyChorale


Chorale compositionConcerto grossoFugueSuiteAllemandeCouranteSarabandeGigueGavotteMinuetSonataSonata da cameraSonata da chiesaTrio sonataPartitaCanzonaSinfoniaFantasiaRicercarToccataPreludeChaconnePassacagliaChorale preludeStylus fantasticus

Further reading

External links