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The Era Of Baroque Music Essay

1014 words - 5 pages

Occurring between 1600 and 1750, the era of Baroque music was an astounding, inventive and foundational period of classical music. Following the Renaissance period, the Baroque period preceded the Classical era. Originating from the Italian word “Barocco,” which means bizarre or exuberant, the title of the Baroque period was well suited to its composers and music (baroquemusic.org). Many instruments used by the Baroque composers and musicians reached their peak during this period. Using all of these instruments the famous musicians of the Baroque era were able to create the masterpieces which they are so well known for. The influences of Baroque music on the culture of the time and even up to the present time made a lasting effect upon history.

To create their music, Baroque musicians utilized many common instruments of the time. Four main categories of instruments exist; the brass section, keyboards, strings and winds. Although some of these instruments may now be familiar, others are not. Belonging in the brass section is the trumpet, horn, and sackbut. Preceding the modern day trombone, the sackbut was used from the mid 15th century to the 18th century. The harpsichord and organ are the two instruments in the keyboard section. Similar to a piano, the strings of a harpsichord are plucked to produce sound with no tonal variation. The harpsichord was utilized from the beginning of the Baroque period until the 19th century. With more instruments than any other category, the string section includes the violin, viola, violoncello, viol, contrabass, harp, and lute, these are very similar to the orchestral instruments we have today, except the lute which is similar to a guitar. Finally, included in the winds were the flute, oboe, bassoon and recorder (baroque-music.com). Many of these instruments reached their prime in the Baroque period and many of the stringed instruments are still prized possessions of modern musicians, particularly Antonio Stradivari’s stringed instruments (baroquemusic.org). Without these various and influential instruments, the music of the Baroque period could not have been created as exuberant and complex as it was.

Like other musical periods, the Baroque musical period contained numerous composers who have remained famous throughout history. This includes Antonio Stradivari, Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, Antonio Vivaldi, Domenico Scarlatti, George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann (baroquemusic.org). The most influential of these were Handel and Bach. Although Handel’s father was opposed to his musical career, he joined the Hamburg opera house in 1703 and then traveling to Italy in 1706 Handel met Corelli and the Scarlatti’s. Proclaimed as a genius, he was soon appointed as the court conductor in Hanover in 1710, and for the next 35 years he led an operatic life. After being blind for seven years, the great composer died in 1759 (baroque-music.com). Born in the same year as Handel but...

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