The Blog


The time of turbulence, contrasts, and changes. These qualities are reflected in the art and music of the period. Birthday of opera and death of J.S. Bach. In between many new forms, genres, and textures emerged and new instruments were developed. The crystallization of the major-minor system provided the harmonic backbone of Baroque style. Patronage of the arts was an essential factor in shaping the lives and careers of composers in the 18th century. Artist and musicians relied on the generous support of patrons from different segments of society: aristocracy, the church, the state.. artists were often provided not only with monetary compensation, but also with security ,lodging, and opportunities to develop artistically.
Baroque- from Portuguese means irregular shaped or misshapen pearl;1st used as a derogatory term in reference to the overly ornate art of the era; applied to art, architecture, and music of the 17th and early 18th.
Major-minor tonality- music based on major(Ionian) and minor(Aeolian) scales; replaced by the modal language; serves as the foundation for musical composition.\figured bass- type of musical shorthand development in the baroque era; numbers are placed below the bass line to show harmonic progression;:realized” by basso continuo; provides the structure for guided improvisation.
Basso continuo- baroque performance practice; involves 2 performers- 1 playing the notated bass line and 1 realizing the harmonies as indicated by the figured bass; usually played on harpsichord or organ; provides harmonic framework. Equal temperament- method of tuning keyboard instrument; all semitones within the octave are divided equally ; created enharmonic equivalents(C sharp/D flat)
Terraced dynamics- baroque practice of changing dynamics abruptly; results in start contrast rather than gradual change.
The “affections”- inspired by ancient Greek and Roman writers and orators; refers to emotional states of the soul; in baroque means one clear emotion is usually projected though an entire composition or movement; vocal music depicted the emotions of the text or dramatic situation; was a reaction against the complex polyphony of renaissance music; also referred to as the “doctrine of affections”.
Word painting – musical naturalizationBARO; music mirrors the literal meaning of the words; achieved through melody, rhythm or harmony
Idiomatic writing- the unique technical capabilities of an instrument are highlighted; opposite of “generic”; developed in Baroque era.
Binary form- 2 parts (AB);A ends with open cadence; used frequently in baroque dances and keyboard pieces; set in Baroque arias.
Ternary form (ABA)- B3 parts; B creates more contrast in key and/or material; often used in baroque arias.
Homophonic texture – melody with accompanied harmony; single voice takes over the melodic interest and melody is accompanied; melody on RH and LH has chords; it’s based on harmony.
Polyphonic texture- many voices , 1 or 2 or more melodic lines are combined; it’s based on counter points means note against note