Baroque music

Baroque music

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Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 approximately extending from 1600 to 1760
Dates of classical music eras
Music historians divide the European classical music repertory into various eras based on what style was most popular as taste changed. These eras and styles include Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Some of the terms, such as "Renaissance" and "Baroque",...

. This era follows the Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

 and was followed in turn by the Classical era
Classical period (music)
The dates of the Classical Period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1830. However, the term classical music is used colloquially to describe a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or...

. The word "baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

" came from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning "misshapen pearl", a negative description of the ornate and heavily ornamented music of this period; later, the name came to be applied also to its architecture
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

. Baroque music forms a major portion of the classical music canon, being widely studied, performed, and listened to. Composers of the baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

, Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.-Life:Scarlatti was born in...

, Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

, Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family's wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually...

, Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

, Arcangelo Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music.-Biography:Corelli was born at Fusignano, in the current-day province of Ravenna, although at the time it was in the province of Ferrara. Little is known about his early life...

, Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

, Jean-Philippe Rameau
Jean-Philippe Rameau
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François...

 and Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

. 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
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 as a musical genre. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today.

History of the name


The term "Baroque" is used by music historians generally to describe a broad range of styles from a wide geographic region, mostly in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, composed during a period of approximately 150 years. Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

The systematic application by historians of the term "baroque" to music of this period is a relatively recent development. It was in 1919 that Curt Sachs
Curt Sachs
Curt Sachs was a German-born but American-domiciled musicologist. He was one of the founders of modern organology , and is probably best remembered today for co-authoring the Sachs-Hornbostel scheme of musical instrument classification with his fellow scholar Erich von Hornbostel.Born in Berlin,...

 was the first to attempt to apply the five characteristics of Heinrich Wölfflin
Heinrich Wölfflin
Heinrich Wölfflin was a famous Swiss art critic, whose objective classifying principles were influential in the development of formal analysis in the history of art during the 20th century. He taught at Basel, Berlin and Munich in the generation that raised German art history to pre-eminence...

’s theory of the Baroque systematically to music. In English the term only acquired currency in the 1940s, in the writings of Lang and Bukofzer. Indeed, as late as 1960 there was still considerable dispute in academic circles, particularly in France and Britain, whether it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera...

, Domenico Scarlatti
Domenico Scarlatti
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style...

 and J.S. Bach with a single term; yet the term has become widely used and accepted for this broad range of music. It may be helpful to distinguish it from both the preceding (Renaissance) and following (Classical
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

) periods of musical history.

Aesthetics


Composers associated with the Florentine Camerata
Florentine Camerata
The Florentine Camerata was a group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi to discuss and guide trends in the arts, especially music and drama...

 like Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera...

, Giulio Caccini
Giulio Caccini
Giulio Caccini , also known as Giulio Romano, was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the single most influential creators of the new Baroque style...

 and Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

, sought to depict human affects
Doctrine of the affections
The doctrine of the affections, also known as the doctrine of affects, doctrine of the passions, theory of the affects, or by the German term Affektenlehre was a theory in musical aesthetics popular in the Baroque era...

 in a direct manner expressed by a solo voice. Monteverdi's side of his historic debate with Artusi
Giovanni Artusi
Giovanni Maria Artusi was an Italian theorist, composer, and writer.Artusi was one of the most famous reactionaries in musical history, fiercely condemning the new style developing around 1600, the innovations of which defined the early Baroque era...

 was published in the foreword to his Fifth Book of Madrigals. Later, the way to view affects became codified, and a main treatise is Mattheson's Der vollkommene Kapellmeister from 1739.

Early baroque music (1600–1654)



It is conventionally accepted that the division between the Renaissance and the Baroque period began in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 with the formation of the Florentine Camerata
Florentine Camerata
The Florentine Camerata was a group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi to discuss and guide trends in the arts, especially music and drama...

, a group of humanists, musicians, poets and intellectuals in late Renaissance Florence who gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de' Bardi
Giovanni de' Bardi
Giovanni de' Bardi , Count of Vernio, was an Italian literary critic, writer, composer and soldier.- Biography :Giovanni de' Bardi was born in Florence....

 to discuss and guide trends in the arts, especially music and drama. In reference to music, their ideals were based on their perception of Classical (especially ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

) musical drama, in which discourse and oration was viewed with much importance. As such, they rejected the complex polyphony of the late Renaissance and sought to revive an ancient Greek form of musical drama known as a monody
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

, which consisted primarily of a simple solo melody alongside by a basic accompaniment. The early realizations of these ideas, including Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera...

's Dafne
Dafne
Dafne is the earliest known work that, by modern standards, could be considered an opera. It was composed by Jacopo Peri in 1597, with a libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini.-History:...

and L'Euridice, marked the beginning of opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, which in turn can be considered to have marked the catalyst of Baroque music.

Concerning music theory, the more widespread use of figured bass
Figured bass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

 (also known as "thorough bass") represents the developing importance of harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 as the linear underpinnings of polyphony. Harmony being the end result of counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 and figured bass being the representation of harmony commonly employed in musical instruction, the two became seen as two means of perception for the same idea, with harmonic progressions entering the notion of composing, as well as the use of the tritone
Tritone
In classical music from Western culture, the tritone |tone]]) is traditionally defined as a musical interval composed of three whole tones. In a chromatic scale, each whole tone can be further divided into two semitones...

, which was perceived as unstable, in order to create dissonance because of this very property. Investment in harmony had also existed among certain composers in the Renaissance, notably Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo, known as Gesualdo di Venosa or Gesualdo da Venosa , Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer, and murderer....

; however, the Renaissance is understood to transition into the Baroque period when the use of harmony became directed towards tonality rather than modality. This led to the idea that chords, rather than notes, created the sense of closure, which is one of the fundamental ideas of what came to be known as tonality
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

.

Italy formed one of the cornerstones of the new style, as the papacy—besieged by Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 but with coffers fattened by the immense revenues flowing in from Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 conquest—searched for artistic means to promote faith in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. One of the most important musical centers was Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, which had both secular and sacred patronage available.

Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.-Biography:Gabrieli was born in Venice...

 became one of the important transitional figures in the emergence of the new style, although his work is largely considered to be in the "High Renaissance" manner. However, his innovations were foundational to the new style. Among these are instrumentation (labeling instruments specifically for specific tasks) and the use of dynamics.

The demands of religion were also to make the text of sacred works clearer, and hence there was pressure to move away from the densely layered polyphony of the Renaissance, to lines which put the words front and center, or had a more limited range of imitation. This created the demand for a more intricate weaving of the vocal line against backdrop, or homophony.

Claudio Monteverdi became the most visible of a generation of composers who felt that there was a secular means to this "modern" approach to harmony and text, and in 1607 his opera L'Orfeo became the landmark which demonstrated the array of effects and techniques that were associated with this new school, called seconda pratica, to distinguish it from the older style or prima pratica
Prima pratica
Prima pratica refers to early Baroque music which looks more to the style of Palestrina, or the style codified by Gioseffo Zarlino, than to more "modern" styles. It is contrasted with seconda pratica music...

. Monteverdi was a master of both, producing precisely styled madrigals that extended the forms of Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio
Luca Marenzio was an Italian composer and singer of the late Renaissance. He was one of the most renowned composers of madrigals, and wrote some of the most famous examples of the form in its late stage of development, prior to its early Baroque transformation by Monteverdi...

 and Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert
Giaches de Wert was a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, active in Italy. Intimately connected with the progressive musical center of Ferrara, he was one of the leaders in developing the style of the late Renaissance madrigal...

. But it is his pieces in the new style which became the most influential. These included features which are recognizable even to the end of the baroque period, including use of idiomatic writing, virtuoso flourishes, and the use of new techniques.

This musical language proved to be international, as Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

, a German composer who studied in Venice under both Gabrieli and later Monteverdi, used it to the liturgical needs of the Elector of Saxony
John George II, Elector of Saxony
John George was the Elector of Saxony from 1656 to 1680.He was the third but eldest surviving son of the Elector John George I of Saxony and Magdalene Sybille of Prussia, his second spouse....

 and served as the choir master in ecreaon.

Middle baroque music (1654–1707)


The rise of the centralized court is one of the economic and political features of what is often labelled the Age of Absolutism
Absolutism (European history)
Absolutism or The Age of Absolutism is a historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites...

, personified by Louis XIV of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The style of palace, and the court system of manners and arts which he fostered, became the model for the rest of Europe. The realities of rising church and state patronage created the demand for organized public music, as the increasing availability of instruments created the demand for chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

. This included the availability of keyboard instrument
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

s.

The middle Baroque is separated from the early Baroque by the coming of systematic thinking to the new style and a gradual institutionalization of the forms and norms, particularly in opera. As with literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 and trade created an expanded international audience for works and greater cross-pollination between national centres of musical activity.

The middle Baroque, in music theory, is identified by the increasingly harmonic focus of musical practice and the creation of formal systems of teaching. Music was an art, and it came to be seen as one that should be taught in an orderly manner. This culminated in the later work of Johann Fux
Johann Fux
Johann Joseph Fux was an Austrian composer, music theorist and pedagogue of the late Baroque era. He is most famous as the author of Gradus ad Parnassum, a treatise on counterpoint, which has become the single most influential book on the Palestrina style of Renaissance polyphony...

 in systematizing counterpoint.

One pre-eminent example of a court style composer is Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

. His career rose dramatically when he collaborated with Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

 on a series of comédie-ballets, that is, plays with dancing. He used this success to become the sole composer of operas for the king, using not just innovative musical ideas such as the tragédie lyrique, but patents from the king which prevented others from having operas staged. Lully's instinct for providing the material that his monarch desired has been pointed out by almost every biographer, including his rapid shift to church music when the mood at court became more devout. His 13 completed lyric tragedies are based on libretti that focus on the conflicts between the public and private life of the monarch.

Musically, he explored contrast between stately and fully orchestrated sections, and simple recitatives and airs. In no small part, it was his skill in assembling and practicing musicians into an orchestra which was essential to his success and influence. Observers noted the precision and intonation, this in an age where there was no standard for tuning instruments. One essential element was the increased focus on the inner voices
Inner Voices
Inner Voices is a 1977 album by jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, his twelfth to be released on the Milestone label. It was recorded in September 1977 and features performances by Tyner with rhythm section horn section and vocalists...

 of the harmony and the relationship to the soloist. He also established the string-dominated norm for orchestras.

Arcangelo Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music.-Biography:Corelli was born at Fusignano, in the current-day province of Ravenna, although at the time it was in the province of Ferrara. Little is known about his early life...

 is remembered as influential for his achievements on the other side of musical technique— as a violinist who organized violin technique and pedagogy— and in purely instrumental music, particularly his advocacy and development of the concerto grosso
Concerto grosso
The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra...

. Whereas Lully was ensconced at court, Corelli was one of the first composers to publish widely and have his music performed all over Europe. As with Lully's stylization and organization of the opera, the concerto grosso is built on strong contrasts— sections alternate between those played by the full orchestra, and those played by a smaller group. Dynamics were "terraced", that is with a sharp transition from loud to soft and back again. Fast sections and slow sections were juxtaposed against each other. Numbered among his students is Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

, who later composed hundreds of works based on the principles in Corelli's trio sonata
Trio sonata
The trio sonata is a musical form that was popular in the 17th and early 18th centuries.A trio sonata is written for two solo melodic instruments and basso continuo, making three parts in all, hence the name trio sonata...

s and concerti.

In England the middle Baroque produced a cometary genius in Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

, who, despite dying at age 36, produced a profusion of music and was widely recognized in his lifetime. He was familiar with the innovations of Corelli and other Italian style composers; however, his patrons were different, and his musical output was prodigious. Rather than being a painstaking craftsman, Purcell was a fluid composer who was able to shift from simple anthems and useful music such as marches, to grandly scored vocal music and music for the stage. His catalogue runs to over 800 works. He was also one of the first great keyboard composers, whose work still has influence and presence.

In contrast to these composers, Dieterich Buxtehude
Dieterich Buxtehude
Dieterich Buxtehude was a German-Danish organist and composer of the Baroque period. His organ works represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire and are frequently performed at recitals and in church services...

 was not a creature of court but instead was an organist and entrepreneurial presenter of music. Rather than publishing, he relied on performance for his income, and rather than royal patronage, he shuttled between vocal settings for sacred music, and organ music that he performed. His output is not as fabulous or diverse, because he was not constantly being called upon for music to meet an occasion. Buxtehude's employment of contrast was between the free, often improvisatory sections, and more strict sections worked out contrapuntally. This procedure would be highly influential on later composers such as Bach, who took the contrast between free and strict to greater heights.

Late baroque music (1680–1750)


The dividing line between middle and late Baroque is a matter of some debate. Dates for the beginning of "late" baroque style range from 1680 to 1720. In no small part this is because there was not one synchronized transition; different national styles experienced changes at different rates and at different times. Italy is generally regarded as the first country to move to the late baroque style. The important dividing line in most histories of baroque music is the full absorption of tonality as a structuring principle of music. This was particularly evident in the wake of theoretical work by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Jean-Philippe Rameau
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François...

, who replaced Lully as the important French opera composer. At the same time, through the work of Johann Fux
Johann Fux
Johann Joseph Fux was an Austrian composer, music theorist and pedagogue of the late Baroque era. He is most famous as the author of Gradus ad Parnassum, a treatise on counterpoint, which has become the single most influential book on the Palestrina style of Renaissance polyphony...

, the Renaissance style of polyphony was made the basis for the study of counterpoint. The combination of modal counterpoint with tonal logic of cadences created the sense that there were two styles of composition— the homophonic dominated by vertical considerations and the polyphonic dominated by imitation and contrapuntal considerations.

The forms which had begun to be established in the previous era flourished and were given wider range of diversity; concerto, suite, sonata, concerto grosso, oratorio, opera and ballet all saw a proliferation of national styles and structures. The overall form of pieces was generally simple, with repeated binary forms (AABB), simple three part forms (ABC), and rondeau forms being common. These schematics in turn influenced later composers.

Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

 is a figure who was forgotten in concert music making for much of the 19th century, only to be revived in the 20th century. Born in Venice in 1678, he began as an ordained priest of the Catholic Church but ceased to say Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 by 1703. Around the same time he was appointed maestro di violino at a Venetian girls' orphanage with which he had a professional relationship until nearly the end of his life. Vivaldi's reputation came not from having an orchestra or court appointment, but from his published works, including trio sonatas, violin sonatas and concerti. They were published in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 and circulated widely through Europe. It is in these instrumental genres of baroque sonata and baroque concerto, which were still evolving, that Vivaldi's most important contributions were made. He settled on certain patterns, such as a fast-slow-fast three-movement plan for works, and the use of ritornello
Ritornello
A ritornello is a recurring passage in Baroque music for orchestra or chorus. The first or final movement of a solo concerto or aria may be in "ritornello form", in which the ritornello is the opening theme, always played by tutti, which returns in whole or in part and in different keys throughout...

 in the fast movements, and explored the possibilities in hundreds of works— 550 concerti alone. He also used programmatic titles for works, such as his famous "The Four Seasons
The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
The Four Seasons is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of Baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season...

" violin concerti. Vivaldi's career reflects a growing possibility for a composer to be able to support himself by his publications, tour to promote his own works, and have an independent existence.

Domenico Scarlatti
Domenico Scarlatti
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style...

 was one of the leading keyboard virtuosi of his day, who took the road of being a royal court musician, first in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and then, starting in 1733, in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, where he spent the rest of his life. His father, Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.-Life:Scarlatti was born in...

, was a member of the Neapolitan School
Neapolitan School
In music history, the Neapolitan School is a group, associated with opera, of 18th century composers who studied or worked in Naples, Italy. The best known of which is Alessandro Scarlatti, with whom, "modern opera begins"....

 of opera and has been credited with being among its most skilled members. Domenico also wrote operas and church music, but it is the publication of his keyboard works, which spread more widely after his death, which have secured him a lasting place of reputation. Many of these works were written for his own playing but others for his royal patrons. As with his father, his fortunes were closely tied to his ability to secure, and keep, royal favour.

But perhaps the most famous composer to be associated with royal patronage was George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

, who was born in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, studied for three years in Italy, and went to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 in 1711, which was his base of operations for a long and profitable career that included independently produced operas and commissions for nobility. He was constantly searching for successful commercial formulas, in opera, and then in oratorios in English. A continuous worker, Handel borrowed from others and often recycled his own material. He was also known for reworking pieces such as the famous Messiah
Messiah (Handel)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

, which premiered in 1742, for available singers and musicians. Even as his economic circumstances rose and fell with his productions, his reputation, based on published keyboard works, ceremonial music, constant stagings of operas and oratorios and concerti grossi, grew exponentially. By the time of his death, he was regarded as the leading composer in Europe and was studied by later classical-era musicians. Handel, because of his very public ambitions, rested a great deal of his output on melodic resource combined with a rich performance tradition of improvisation and counterpoint. The practice of ornamentation
Ornament (music)
In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody , but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note...

 in the Baroque style was at a very high level of development under his direction. He travelled all over Europe to engage singers and learn the music of other composers, and thus he had among the widest acquaintance of other styles of any composer.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 has, over time, come to be seen as the towering figure of Baroque music, with what Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

 described as "a religion" surrounding him. During the baroque period, he was better known as a teacher, administrator and performer than composer, being less famous than either Handel or Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family's wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually...

. Born in Eisenach
Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

 in 1685 to a musical family, he received an extensive early education and was considered to have an excellent boy soprano
Boy soprano
A boy soprano is a young male singer with an unchanged voice in the soprano range. Although a treble, or choirboy, may also be considered to be a boy soprano, the more colloquial term boy soprano is generally only used for boys who sing, perform, or record as soloists, and who may not necessarily...

 voice. He held a variety of posts as an organist, rapidly gaining in fame for his virtuosity and ability. In 1723 he settled at the post which he was associated with for virtually the rest of his life: cantor and director of music for Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

. His varied experience allowed him to become the town's leader of music both secular and sacred, teacher of its musicians, and leading musical figure. He began his term in Leipzig by composing a church cantata
Bach cantata
Bach cantata became a term for a cantata of the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach who was a prolific writer of the genre. Although many of his works are lost, around 200 cantatas survived....

 for every Sunday and holiday of the Liturgical year, resulting in annual cycles of cantatas, of which about 200 works are extant. He created the grand scale works St John Passion, the St Matthew Passion, the Christmas Oratorio
Christmas Oratorio
The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a...

, spanning six feast days, and the Mass in B minor. Bach's musical innovations plumbed the depths and the outer limits of the Baroque homophonic and polyphonic forms. He was a virtual catalogue of every contrapuntal device possible and every acceptable means of creating webs of harmony with the chorale. As a result, his works in the form of the fugue coupled with preludes
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

 and toccatas for organ, and the baroque concerto forms, have become fundamental in both performance and theoretical technique. Virtually every instrument and ensemble of the age— except for the theatre genres— is represented copiously in his output. Bach's teachings became prominent in the classical and romantic eras as composers rediscovered the harmonic and melodic subtleties of his works.

Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann
Georg Philipp Telemann was a German Baroque composer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family's wishes. After studying in Magdeburg, Zellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually...

 was the most famous instrumental composer of his time, and massively prolific— even by the standards of an age where composers had to produce large volumes of music. His two most important positions — director of music in Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 in 1712 and in 1721 director of music of the Johanneum in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 — required him to compose vocal and instrumental music for secular and sacred contexts. He composed two complete cantata cycles for Sunday services, as well as sacred oratorios. Telemann also founded a periodical that published new music, much of it by Telemann. This dissemination of music made him a composer with an international audience, as evidenced by his successful trip to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1731. Some of his finest works were in the 1750s and 1760s, when the Baroque style was being replaced by simpler styles but were popular at the time and afterwards. Among these late works are "Der Tod Jesu" ("The death of Jesus") 1755, "Die Donner-Ode" ("The Ode of Thunder") 1756, "Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu" ("The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus") 1760 and "Der Tag des Gerichts" ("The Day of Judgement") 1762.

Transition to the Classical era (1740–1780)


The phase between the late Baroque and the early Classical era, with its broad mixture of competing ideas and attempts to unify the different demands of taste, economics and "worldview", goes by many names. It is sometimes called "Galant
Galant
In music, Galant was a term referring to a style, principally occurring in the third quarter of the 18th century, which featured a return to classical simplicity after the complexity of the late Baroque era...

", "Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

", or "pre-Classical", or at other times, "early Classical". It is a period where composers still working in the Baroque style were still successful, if sometimes thought of as being more of the past than the present— Bach, Handel and Telemann all composed well beyond the point at which the homophonic style is clearly in the ascendant. Musical culture was caught at a crossroads: the masters of the older style had the technique, but the public hungered for the new. This is one of the reasons Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
right|250pxCarl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a German Classical period musician and composer, the fifth child and second son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach...

 was held in such high regard: he understood the older forms quite well and knew how to present them in new garb, with an enhanced variety of form; he went far in overhauling the older forms from the Baroque.

The practice of the baroque era was the standard against which new composition
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 was measured, and there came to be a division between sacred works, which held more closely to the Baroque style from secular or "profane" works, which were in the new style.

Especially in the Catholic countries of central Europe, the baroque style continued to be represented in sacred music through the end of the eighteenth century, in much the way that the stile antico of the Renaissance continued to live in the sacred music of the early 17th century. The masses and oratorios of Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

, while Classical in their orchestration and ornamentation, have many Baroque features in their underlying contrapuntal and harmonic structure. The decline of the baroque saw various attempts to mix old and new techniques, and many composers who continued to hew to the older forms well into the 1780s. Many cities in Germany continued to maintain performance practices from the Baroque into the 1790s, including Leipzig, where J.S. Bach worked to the end of his life.

In England, the enduring popularity of Handel ensured the success of Charles Avison
Charles Avison
Charles Avison – 10 May 1770) was an English composer during the Baroque and Classical periods. He was a church organist at St John The Baptist Church in Newcastle and at St. Nicholas's Church...

, William Boyce, and Thomas Arne — among other accomplished imitators — well into the 1780s, who competed alongside Mozart and Bach. In Continental Europe, however, it was considered an old-fashioned way of writing and was a requisite for graduation from the burgeoning number of conservatories
Music school
The term music school refers to an educational institution specialized in the study, training and research of music.Different terms refer to this concept such as school of music, music academy, music faculty, college of music, music department or conservatory.Music instruction can be provided...

 of music, and otherwise reserved only for use in sacred works.

After 1760


Because baroque music was the basis for pedagogy, it retained a stylistic influence even after it had ceased to be the dominant style of composing or of music making. Even as Baroque practice fell out of use, it continued to be part of musical notation. In the early 19th century, scores by baroque masters were printed in complete edition, and this led to a renewed interest in the "strict style" of counterpoint, as it was then called. With Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

's revival of Bach's choral music, the baroque style became an influence through the 19th century as a paragon of academic and formal purity.

In the 20th century, Baroque was named as a period, and its music began to be studied.

There are several instances of contemporary pieces being published as "rediscovered" Baroque masterworks. Some examples of this include a viola concerto written by Henri Casadesus
Henri Casadesus
Henri Casadesus was a violist and music publisher. He was the brother of Marius Casadesus, uncle of the famous pianist Robert Casadesus, and granduncle of Jean Casadesus....

 but attributed to Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach
Johann Christian Bach was a composer of the Classical era, the eleventh and youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is sometimes referred to as 'the London Bach' or 'the English Bach', due to his time spent living in the British capital...

, as well as several pieces attributed by Fritz Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler
Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other day, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately...

 to lesser-known figures of the Baroque such as Gaetano Pugnani
Gaetano Pugnani
Gaetano Pugnani was born in Turin. He trained on the violin under Giovanni Battista Somis and Giuseppe Tartini. In 1752, Pugnani became the first violinist of the Royal Chapel in Turin. Then he went on a large tour that granted him great fame for his extraordinary skill on the violin...

 and Padre Martini
Giovanni Battista Martini
Giovanni Battista Martini , also known as Padre Martini, was an Italian musician.-Biography:Martini was born at Bologna....

. Alessandro Parisotti
Alessandro Parisotti
Alessandro Parisotti was an Italian composer and music editor.Though also a composer, Alessandro Parisotti is better known today as the original editor of a collection of songs known as arie antiche...

 attributed his aria for voice and piano, "Se tu m'ami", to Pergolesi
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was an Italian composer, violinist and organist.-Biography:Born at Iesi, Pergolesi studied music there under a local musician, Francesco Santini, before going to Naples in 1725, where he studied under Gaetano Greco and Francesco Feo among others...

.

Various works have been labelled "neo-baroque" for a focus on imitative polyphony, including the works of Giacinto Scelsi
Giacinto Scelsi
Giacinto Scelsi , Count of Ayala Valva was an Italian composer who also wrote surrealist poetry in French....

, Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

, Paul Creston
Paul Creston
Paul Creston was an Italian American composer of classical music.Born in New York City to Sicilian immigrants, Creston was self‐taught as a composer. He was an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, initiated into the national honorary Alpha Alpha chapter...

 and Bohuslav Martinů
Bohuslav Martinu
Bohuslav Martinů was a prolific Czech composer of modern classical music. He was of Czech and Rumanian ancestry. Martinů wrote six symphonies, 15 operas, 14 ballet scores and a large body of orchestral, chamber, vocal and instrumental works. Martinů became a violinist in the Czech Philharmonic...

, even though they are not in the baroque style proper. Musicologists attempted to complete various works from the Baroque, most notably Bach's ‘’The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue , BWV 1080, is an incomplete work by Johann Sebastian Bach . It was most likely started at the beginning of the 1740s, if not earlier. The first known surviving version, which contained 12 fugues and 2 canons, was copied by the composer in 1745...

’’. Composer Peter Schickele parodies
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 classical and baroque styles under the pen name PDQ Bach.

Baroque performance practice had a renewed influence with the rise of "Authentic" or Historically informed performance
Historically informed performance
Historically informed performance is an approach in the performance of music and theater. Within this approach, the performance adheres to state-of-the-art knowledge of the aesthetic criteria of the period in which the music or theatre work was conceived...

 in the late 20th century. Texts by Johann Joachim Quantz
Johann Joachim Quantz
Johann Joachim Quantz was a German flutist, flute maker and composer.-Biography:Quantz was born in Oberscheden, near Göttingen, Germany, and died in Potsdam....

 and Leopold Mozart
Leopold Mozart
Johann Georg Leopold Mozart was a German composer, conductor, teacher, and violinist. Mozart is best known today as the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and for his violin textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule.-Childhood and student years:He was born in Augsburg, son of...

 among others, formed the basis for performances which attempted to recover some of the aspects of baroque sound world, including one-on-a-part performance of works by Bach, use of gut strings rather than metal, reconstructed harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

s, use of older playing techniques and styles. Several popular ensembles adopted some or all of these techniques, including the Anonymous 4
Anonymous 4
Anonymous 4 is a female a cappella quartet, based in New York City. Their main performance genre is medieval music, although they have also premiered works by living composers such as John Tavener and Steve Reich...

, the Academy of Ancient Music
Academy of Ancient Music
The Academy of Ancient Music is a period-instrument orchestra based in Cambridge, England. Founded by harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood in 1973, it was named after a previous organisation of the same name of the 18th century. The musicians play on either original instruments or modern copies of...

, Boston's Handel and Haydn Society
Handel and Haydn Society
The Handel and Haydn Society is an American chorus and period instrument orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815, it remains one of the oldest performing arts organizations in the United States.-Early history:...

, William Christie
William Christie (musician)
William Lincoln Christie is an American-born French conductor and harpsichordist. He is noted as a specialist in baroque repertoire and as the founder of the ensemble Les Arts Florissants....

's Les Arts Florissants
Les Arts Florissants (ensemble)
Les Arts Florissants is a Baroque musical ensemble in residence at the Théâtre de Caen in Caen, France. The organization was founded by conductor William Christie in 1979. The ensemble derives its name from the 1685 opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The organization consists of a chamber orchestra...

, Sigiswald Kuijken
Sigiswald Kuijken
Sigiswald Kuijken is a Belgian violinist, violist, and conductor known for playing on authentic instruments.-Biography:Kuijken was born in Dilbeek, near Brussels. He was a member of the Alarius Ensemble of Brussels between 1964 and 1972 and formed La Petite Bande in 1972...

's La Petite Bande
La Petite Bande
La Petite Bande is a Belgium-based ensemble specialising in Baroque music played on period instruments. They are particularly known for their recordings of works by Corelli, Rameau, Handel, and Bach.-History:...

 and others.

The Baroque suite


The Baroque suite was scored with or without soloists.
  • Overture
    French overture
    The French overture is a musical form widely used in the Baroque period. Its basic formal division is into two parts, which are usually enclosed by double bars and repeat signs. They are complementary in styles , and the first ends with a half-cadence that requires an answering structure with a...


The Baroque suite generally began with a French overture ("Ouverture" in French).
  • Allemande
    Allemande
    An allemande is one of the most popular instrumental dance forms in Baroque music, and a standard element of a suite...


Often the first dance of an instrumental suite
Suite
In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed in a concert setting rather than as accompaniment; they may be extracts from an opera, ballet , or incidental music to a play or film , or they may be entirely original movements .In the...

, the allemande was a very popular dance that had its origins in the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 era, when it was more often called the almain. The allemande was played at a moderate tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 and could start on any beat of the bar.
  • Courante
    Courante
    The courante, corrente, coranto and corant are some of the names given to a family of triple metre dances from the late Renaissance and the Baroque era....


The courante is a lively, French dance in triple meter. The Italian version is called the corrente.
  • Sarabande
    Sarabande
    In music, the sarabande is a dance in triple metre. The second and third beats of each measure are often tied, giving the dance a distinctive rhythm of quarter notes and eighth notes in alternation...


The sarabande, a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 dance, is one of the slowest of the baroque dances. It is also in triple meter and can start on any beat of the bar, although there is an emphasis on the second beat, creating the characteristic 'halting', or iambic rhythm of the sarabande.
  • Gigue
    Gigue
    The gigue or giga is a lively baroque dance originating from the British jig. It was imported into France in the mid-17th century and usually appears at the end of a suite...


The gigue is an upbeat and lively baroque dance in compound meter, typically the concluding movement of an instrumental suite. The gigue can start on any beat of the bar and is easily recognized by its rhythmic feel. The gigue originated in the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

. Its counterpart in folk music is the jig
Jig
The Jig is a form of lively folk dance, as well as the accompanying dance tune, originating in England in the 16th century and today most associated with Irish dance music and Scottish country dance music...

.

These four dance types make up the majority of 17th century suites; later suites interpolate additional movements between the sarabande and gigue:
  • Gavotte
    Gavotte
    The gavotte originated as a French folk dance, taking its name from the Gavot people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné, where the dance originated. It is notated in 4/4 or 2/2 time and is of moderate tempo...


The gavotte can be identified by a variety of features; it is in 4/4 time and always starts on the third beat of the bar, although this may sound like the first beat in some cases, as the first and third beats are the strong beats in quadruple time. The gavotte is played at a moderate tempo, although in some cases it may be played faster.
  • Bourrée
    Bourrée
    The bourrée is a dance of French origin common in Auvergne and Biscay in Spain in the 17th century. It is danced in quick double time, somewhat resembling the gavotte. The main difference between the two is the anacrusis, or upbeat; a bourrée starts on the last beat of a bar, creating a...


The bourrée is similar to the gavotte as it is in 2/2 time although it starts on the second half of the last beat of the bar, creating a different feel to the dance. The bourrée is commonly played at a moderate tempo, although for some composers, such as Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

, it can be taken at a much faster tempo.
  • Minuet
    Minuet
    A minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, and may have been from French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps, or from the early 17th-century popular...


The minuet is perhaps the best-known of the baroque dances in triple meter. It can start on any beat of the bar. In some suites there may be a Minuet I and II, played in succession, with the Minuet I repeated.
  • Passepied
    Passepied
    The passepied is a 17th- and 18th-century dance that originated in Brittany. The term can also be used to describe the music to which a passepied is set...


The passepied is a fast dance in binary form and triple meter that originated as a court dance in Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. Examples can be found in later suites such as those of Bach and Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

.
  • Rigaudon
    Rigaudon
    The rigaudon is a French baroque dance with a lively duple metre. The music is similar to that of a bourrée, but the rigaudon is rhythmically simpler with regular phrases ....


The rigaudon is a lively French dance in duple meter, similar to the bourrée, but rhythmically simpler. It originated as a family of closely related southern-French folk dances, traditionally associated with the provinces of Vavarais, Languedoc
Languedoc
Languedoc is a former province of France, now continued in the modern-day régions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées in the south of France, and whose capital city was Toulouse, now in Midi-Pyrénées. It had an area of approximately 42,700 km² .-Geographical Extent:The traditional...

, Dauphiné
Dauphiné
The Dauphiné or Dauphiné Viennois is a former province in southeastern France, whose area roughly corresponded to that of the present departments of :Isère, :Drôme, and :Hautes-Alpes....

, and Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

.

Baroque versus Renaissance style



Baroque music shares with Renaissance music a heavy use of polyphony
Polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 and counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

. However, its use of these techniques differs from Renaissance music.

These stylistic differences mark the transition from the ricercar
Ricercar
A ricercar is a type of late Renaissance and mostly early Baroque instrumental composition. The term means to search out, and many ricercars serve a preludial function to "search out" the key or mode of a following piece...

s
, fantasia
Fantasia (music)
The fantasia is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form ....

s
, and canzona
Canzona
In the 16th century an instrumental chanson; later, a piece for ensemble in several sections or tempos...

s
of the Renaissance to the fugue
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

, a defining baroque form. Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi – 29 November 1643) was an Italian composer, gambist, and singer.Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition – the...

 called this newer, looser style the seconda pratica, contrasting it with the prima pratica
Prima pratica
Prima pratica refers to early Baroque music which looks more to the style of Palestrina, or the style codified by Gioseffo Zarlino, than to more "modern" styles. It is contrasted with seconda pratica music...

that characterized the motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

s and other sacred choral
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 pieces of high Renaissance masters like Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition...

.

There are other, more general differences between baroque and Renaissance style. Baroque music was more often written for virtuoso singers and instrumentalists and is characteristically harder to perform than Renaissance music, although idiomatic instrumental writing was one of the most important innovations of the period. Baroque music employs a great deal of ornamentation, which was often improvised by the performer. Instruments came to play a greater part in baroque music, and a cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

 vocal music receded in importance.

Other features

  • Basso continuo - a kind of continuous accompaniment notated with a new music notation system, figured bass
    Figured bass
    Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

    , usually for a sustaining bass instrument and a keyboard instrument
  • Monody
    Monody
    In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

     - music for one melodic voice with accompaniment
    Accompaniment
    In music, accompaniment is the art of playing along with an instrumental or vocal soloist or ensemble, often known as the lead, in a supporting manner...

    , characteristic of the early 17th century, especially in Italy
  • Homophony
    Homophony
    In music, homophony is a texture in which two or more parts move together in harmony, the relationship between them creating chords. This is distinct from polyphony, in which parts move with rhythmic independence, and monophony, in which all parts move in parallel rhythm and pitch. A homophonic...

     - music with one melodic voice and rhythmically similar accompaniment (this and monody are contrasted with the typical Renaissance texture
    Texture (music)
    In music, texture is the way the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition , thus determining the overall quality of sound of a piece...

    , polyphony
    Polyphony
    In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

    )
  • Text over music - intelligible text with instrumental accompaniment not overpowering the voice
  • Vocal soloists
  • Dramatic musical expression
  • Dramatic musical forms like opera
    Opera
    Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

    , dramma per musica
    Dramma per musica
    Dramma per musica is a term which was used by dramatists in Italy and elsewhere between the late-17th and mid-19th centuries...

  • Combined instrumental-vocal forms, such as the oratorio
    Oratorio
    An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

     and cantata
    Cantata
    A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

  • New instrumental techniques, like tremolo
    Tremolo
    Tremolo, or tremolando, is a musical term that describes various trembling effects, falling roughly into two types. The first is a rapid reiteration...

    and pizzicato
    Pizzicato
    Pizzicato is a playing technique that involves plucking the strings of a string instrument. The exact technique varies somewhat depending on the type of stringed instrument....

  • Clear and linear melody
    Melody
    A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

  • Notes inégales
    Notes inégales
    In music, notes inégales refers to a performance practice, mainly from the Baroque and Classical music eras, in which some notes with equal written time values are performed with unequal durations, usually as alternating long and short...

    , a technique of playing pairs of notes of equal written length (typically eighth notes) with a "swung" rhythm, alternating longer and shorter values in pairs, the degree of inequality varying according to context. Particularly characteristic of French performance practice.
  • The aria
    Aria
    An aria in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. The term is now used almost exclusively to describe a self-contained piece for one voice usually with orchestral accompaniment...

  • The ritornello
    Ritornello
    A ritornello is a recurring passage in Baroque music for orchestra or chorus. The first or final movement of a solo concerto or aria may be in "ritornello form", in which the ritornello is the opening theme, always played by tutti, which returns in whole or in part and in different keys throughout...

    aria (repeated short instrumental interruptions of vocal passages)
  • The concertato
    Concertato
    Concertato is a term in early Baroque music referring to either a genre or a style of music in which groups of instruments or voices share a melody, usually in alternation, and almost always over a basso continuo...

     style (contrast in sound between orchestra and solo-instruments or small groups of instruments)
  • Precise instrumental scoring (in the Renaissance, exact instrumentation for ensemble playing was rarely indicated)
  • Idiomatic instrumental writing: better use of the unique properties of each type of musical instrument
    Musical instrument
    A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

  • Virtuosic instrumental and vocal writing, with appreciation for virtuosity as such
  • Ornamentation
    Ornament (music)
    In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody , but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line. Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note...

  • Development to modern Western tonality (major
    Major scale
    In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

     and minor scale
    Minor scale
    A minor scale in Western music theory includes any scale that contains, in its tonic triad, at least three essential scale degrees: 1) the tonic , 2) a minor-third, or an interval of a minor third above the tonic, and 3) a perfect-fifth, or an interval of a perfect fifth above the tonic, altogether...

    s)
  • Cadenza- an extended virtuosic section for the soloist usually near the end of a movement of a concerto.

Genres


Baroque composers wrote in many different musical genres. Opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, invented in the transitional period between the late Renaissance and early Baroque, became an important musical form during the Baroque, with the operas of Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.-Life:Scarlatti was born in...

, Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

, and others. The oratorio
Oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

 achieved its peak in the work of Bach
Bạch
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

 and Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

; opera and oratorio often used very similar music forms, such as a widespread use of the da capo aria
Da capo aria
The da capo aria is a musical form, which was prevalent in the Baroque era. It is sung by a soloist with the accompaniment of instruments, often a small orchestra. The da capo aria is very common in the musical genres of opera and oratorio...

.

In other religious music, the Mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 and motet
Motet
In classical music, motet is a word that is applied to a number of highly varied choral musical compositions.-Etymology:The name comes either from the Latin movere, or a Latinized version of Old French mot, "word" or "verbal utterance." The Medieval Latin for "motet" is motectum, and the Italian...

 receded slightly in importance, but the cantata
Cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

 flourished in the work of Bach
Bạch
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

 and other Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 composers. Virtuoso organ music also flourished, with toccatas, fugues
Fugues
Fugue can refer to:* Fugue for the type of musical piece* See :Category:Fugues for individual pieces.* Fugues for the Canadian gay magazine* Fugue for the American literary journal.* Fugue state, a psychological term...

, and other works.

Instrumental sonatas and dance suites
Suite
In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed in a concert setting rather than as accompaniment; they may be extracts from an opera, ballet , or incidental music to a play or film , or they may be entirely original movements .In the...

 were written for individual instruments, for chamber groups, and for (small) orchestra. The concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

 emerged, both in its form for a single soloist plus orchestra and as the concerto grosso
Concerto grosso
The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra...

, in which a small group of soloists is contrasted with the full ensemble. The French overture
French overture
The French overture is a musical form widely used in the Baroque period. Its basic formal division is into two parts, which are usually enclosed by double bars and repeat signs. They are complementary in styles , and the first ends with a half-cadence that requires an answering structure with a...

, with its contrasting slow and fast sections, added grandeur to the many courts at which it was performed.

Keyboard works were sometimes written largely for the pleasure and instruction of the performer. These included a series of works by the mature Bach that are widely considered to be the intellectual culmination of the Baroque era: the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations
Goldberg Variations
The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a work for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form...

, and The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue , BWV 1080, is an incomplete work by Johann Sebastian Bach . It was most likely started at the beginning of the 1740s, if not earlier. The first known surviving version, which contained 12 fugues and 2 canons, was copied by the composer in 1745...

.

Vocal

  • Opera
    Opera
    Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

    • Zarzuela
      Zarzuela
      Zarzuela is a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incorporating operatic and popular song, as well as dance...

    • Opera seria
      Opera seria
      Opera seria is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and "serious" style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1710s to c. 1770...

    • Opera comique
      Opera Comique
      The Opera Comique was a 19th-century theatre constructed in Westminster, London, between Wych Street and Holywell Street with entrances on the East Strand. It opened in 1870 and was demolished in 1902, to make way for the construction of the Aldwych and Kingsway...

    • Opera-ballet
      Opéra-ballet
      Opéra-ballet was a popular genre of French Baroque opera, "that grew out of the ballets à entrées of the early seventeeth century". It differed from the more elevated tragédie en musique as practised by Jean-Baptiste Lully in several ways...

  • Masque
    Masque
    The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment which flourished in 16th and early 17th century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio...

  • Oratorio
    Oratorio
    An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

  • Passion (music)
  • Cantata
    Cantata
    A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

  • Mass (music)
    Mass (music)
    The Mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the invariable portions of the Eucharistic liturgy to music...

  • Anthem
    Anthem
    The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

  • Monody
    Monody
    In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

  • Chorale
    Chorale
    A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....


Instrumental

  • Chorale composition
    Chorale Composition
    Chorale Composition is an important class of Baroque organ composition based on chorale melodies. It became popular in the early seventeenth century and flourished in middle and northern Germany until the early eighteenth century.-Description:...

  • Concerto grosso
    Concerto grosso
    The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra...

  • Fugue
  • Suite
    Suite
    In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed in a concert setting rather than as accompaniment; they may be extracts from an opera, ballet , or incidental music to a play or film , or they may be entirely original movements .In the...

    • Allemande
      Allemande
      An allemande is one of the most popular instrumental dance forms in Baroque music, and a standard element of a suite...

    • Courante
      Courante
      The courante, corrente, coranto and corant are some of the names given to a family of triple metre dances from the late Renaissance and the Baroque era....

    • Sarabande
      Sarabande
      In music, the sarabande is a dance in triple metre. The second and third beats of each measure are often tied, giving the dance a distinctive rhythm of quarter notes and eighth notes in alternation...

    • Gigue
      Gigue
      The gigue or giga is a lively baroque dance originating from the British jig. It was imported into France in the mid-17th century and usually appears at the end of a suite...

    • Gavotte
      Gavotte
      The gavotte originated as a French folk dance, taking its name from the Gavot people of the Pays de Gap region of Dauphiné, where the dance originated. It is notated in 4/4 or 2/2 time and is of moderate tempo...

    • Minuet
      Minuet
      A minuet, also spelled menuet, is a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, and may have been from French menu meaning slender, small, referring to the very small steps, or from the early 17th-century popular...

  • Sonata
    • Sonata da camera
      Sonata da camera
      Sonata da camera is literally translated to mean 'chamber sonata' and is used to describe a group of instrumental pieces set into three or four different movements, beginning with a prelude, or small sonata, acting as an introduction for the following movements.The term sonata da camera originated...

    • Sonata da chiesa
      Sonata da chiesa
      Sonata da chiesa is an instrumental composition dating from the Baroque period, generally consisting of four movements. More than one melody was often used, and the movements were ordered slow–fast–slow–fast with respect to tempo...

    • Trio sonata
      Trio sonata
      The trio sonata is a musical form that was popular in the 17th and early 18th centuries.A trio sonata is written for two solo melodic instruments and basso continuo, making three parts in all, hence the name trio sonata...

  • Partita
    Partita
    Partita was originally the name for a single instrumental piece of music , but Johann Kuhnau and later German composers used it for collections of musical pieces, as a synonym for suite.Johann Sebastian Bach wrote two sets of Partitas for different instruments...

  • Canzona
    Canzona
    In the 16th century an instrumental chanson; later, a piece for ensemble in several sections or tempos...

  • Sinfonia
    Sinfonia
    Sinfonia is the Italian word for symphony. In English it most commonly refers to a 17th- or 18th-century orchestral piece used as an introduction, interlude, or postlude to an opera, oratorio, cantata, or suite...

  • Fantasia
    Fantasia (music)
    The fantasia is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form ....

  • Ricercar
    Ricercar
    A ricercar is a type of late Renaissance and mostly early Baroque instrumental composition. The term means to search out, and many ricercars serve a preludial function to "search out" the key or mode of a following piece...

  • Toccata
    Toccata
    Toccata is a virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or plucked string instrument featuring fast-moving, lightly fingered or otherwise virtuosic passages or sections, with or without imitative or fugal interludes, generally emphasizing the dexterity of the performer's fingers...

  • Prelude
    Prelude (music)
    A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

  • Chaconne
    Chaconne
    A chaconne ; is a type of musical composition popular in the baroque era when it was much used as a vehicle for variation on a repeated short harmonic progression, often involving a fairly short repetitive bass-line which offered a compositional outline for variation, decoration, figuration and...

  • Passacaglia
    Passacaglia
    The passacaglia is a musical form that originated in early seventeenth-century Spain and is still used by contemporary composers. It is usually of a serious character and is often, but not always, based on a bass-ostinato and written in triple metre....

  • Chorale prelude
    Chorale prelude
    In music, a chorale prelude is a short liturgical composition for organ using a chorale tune as its basis. It was a predominant style of the German Baroque era and reached its culmination in the works of J.S. Bach, who wrote 46 examples of the form in his Orgelbüchlein.-Function:The liturgical...

  • Stylus fantasticus
    Stylus fantasticus
    The stylus fantasticus is a style of early baroque music.The root of this music is organ toccatas and fantasias, particularly derived from those of Claudio Merulo , organist at St Mark's basilica in Venice. A later practitioner in Rome was Girolamo Frescobaldi and his German student Froberger...


See also

  • Baroque composers
  • Baroque instruments
    • Baroque guitar
      Baroque guitar
      The Baroque guitar is a guitar from the baroque era , an ancestor of the modern classical guitar. The term is also used for modern instruments made in the same style....

    • Baroque trumpet
      Baroque trumpet
      The baroque trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family. It was invented in the mid-20th century based on ideas from the natural trumpet of the 16th to 18th centuries and designed to allow modern performers to imitate the earlier instrument for music of that time...

    • Baroque violin
      Baroque violin
      A baroque violin is, in common usage, any violin whose neck, fingerboard, bridge, and tailpiece are of the type used during the baroque period. Such an instrument may be an original built during the baroque and never changed to modern form; or a modern replica built as a baroque violin; or an...

    • Baroque cello
    • Harpsichord
      Harpsichord
      A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

    • Clavichord
      Clavichord
      The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument known from the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. Historically, it was widely used as a practice instrument and as an aid to composition, not being loud enough for larger performances. The clavichord produces...

    • Organ
      Organ (music)
      The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

    • Lute
      Lute
      Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

    • Oboe da caccia
      Oboe da caccia
      The oboe da caccia is a double reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family, pitched a fifth below the oboe and used primarily in the Baroque period of European classical music...

    • Viol
      Viol
      The viol is any one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed musical instruments developed in the mid-late 15th century and used primarily in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The family is related to and descends primarily from the Renaissance vihuela, a plucked instrument that preceded the...

    • Recorder
      Recorder
      The recorder is a woodwind musical instrument of the family known as fipple flutes or internal duct flutes—whistle-like instruments which include the tin whistle. The recorder is end-blown and the mouth of the instrument is constricted by a wooden plug, known as a block or fipple...

    • Traverso
    • Viola d'amore
      Viola d'amore
      The viola d'amore is a 7- or 6-stringed musical instrument with sympathetic strings used chiefly in the baroque period. It is played under the chin in the same manner as the violin.- Structure and sound :...


Further reading


  • Christensen, Thomas Street, and Peter Dejans. Towards Tonality Aspects of Baroque Music Theory. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2007. ISBN 9789058675873
  • Cyr, Mary. Essays on the Performance of Baroque Music Opera and Chamber Music in France and England. Variorum collected studies series, 899. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2008. ISBN 9780754659266
  • Foreman, Edward. A Bel Canto Method, or, How to Sing Italian Baroque Music Correctly Based on the Primary Sources. Twentieth century masterworks on singing, v. 12. Minneapolis, Minn: Pro Musica Press, 2006. ISBN 1887117180
  • Schubert, Peter, and Christoph Neidhöfer. Baroque Counterpoint. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. ISBN 0131834428
  • Schulenberg, David. Music of the Baroque. New York: Oxford UP, 2001. ISBN 0-19-512232-1
  • Stauffer, George B. The World of Baroque Music New Perspectives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. ISBN 025334798X Table of Contents
  • Strunk, Oliver.Source Readings in Music History. From Classical Antiquity to the Romantic Era.. London, Faber & Faber, 1952.


External links