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Baroque Music The Term "Baroque," When Applied To Music, Refers

624 words - 2 pages

Baroque Music The term "baroque," when applied to music, refers to the period 1600 to about 1750 in western Europe. Baroque is a Portuguese word meaning a pearl of irregular shape, in the sense of abnormal and grotesque. It later acquired a more favorable connotation especially in describing art of this era.Major composers of the Baroque period are Claudio Monteverdi, Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and of course Johann Sebastian Bach. Violin making was perfected by Stradivarius and the first piano was built during this time. The opera and oratorio forms were developed. There was freedom in creating new ways of organizing music, handling melodies, and exploring new styles and forms. By the end of the Baroque period, music was performed for ordinary people in concert halls, no longer just for loyalty and the wealthy. Due to increased public interest and support through paid performances, composers and musicians no longer had to depend upon the church and royalty for their livelihoods. There was great demand for constant generation of new music since there was no "classics" and the average life span for a composition was no more than one year.Baroque music can be divided roughly into three styles: church, chamber or concert, and theater. Music was written for specific instruments or voices whereas earlier compositions could be performed by any combination of voice and instrument. Characteristics peculiar to individual instruments were exploited resulting in an increased spectrum of color and expression. Wind instruments improved technically; virtuoso singing advanced. Composers strived to inject a wide range of emotions and to highlight them with violent contrasts. Dynamics, i.e. loudness modulation, became a part of music. Rhythm ran the gamut from irregular to flexible to constant, often used deliberately for contrast. Time signatures and measures marked off in bars came into use; strong and weak beats became...

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