Wiki_Baroque.gifBAROQUE 1600-1750Wiki_Baroque.gif

The Baroque period was a time in which music and arts became fancier and more dramatic. Many historical events took place during the Baroque period, for example, the settling of Jamestown by the English, the Taj Mahalwas being built in India and Versailles Palace was being built by King Louis XIII in France. Back in the Americas the Salem Witchcraft Trialswere taking place. Later in this era, Daniel Defoe wrote the classic story of Robinson Crusoe. Musically significant events included the invention of the piano by Bartolomeo Cristofori and George Frideric Handel writing his now famous choral work, the Messiah. The Baroque period was a time of great creativity in architecture, literature, and the arts.

Popular MusicBaroque_101.jpg


Musical Evolution
Music in the Baroque period had several very distinct characteristics. Composers of the time began to use a technique called word painting. This technique gave the text of a piece a musical connotation. For example, in the singing of an oratorio, the word angels might be sung on a high note or a group of notes moving in an upward pattern whereas the word devil would be set on a low or ominous sounding note to help convey the meanings of the words. Gradual dynamic changes were not common to the Baroque. Instead composers would change the volume of their music quite suddenly and drastically. This dynamic technique is referred to as terraced dynamics. Baroque compositions also involved much rhythmic and melodic repetition throughout a piece. These techniques were respectively called unity of rhythm and continuity of melody. Some famous composers of these time were Vivaldi, Handel and Bach. Most of the active composers of the time worked on commission, meaning that their music was requested by someone for a special event. Members of the aristocracy, opera houses, churches and even towns would commission music to be composed for special events. The orchestra began to evolve with the instrumentation that we are more familiar with today and opera began to develop as a very significant musical genre.


Baroque Instruments
archlute2.gifArchlute: a lute with 2 peg boxes, the first
being used for the main
courses of strings (6 to 8)
that were played with
the fingers of the left
hand, and the second
holding the longer
strings. The archlute
was the Italian Baroque
lute by definition.


sackbut.jpg Sackbut: a
brass instrument
very similar to
the modern trombone
but with a much
softer sound.

Lute-Harpsichord: A combination of the lute and harpsichord. This was one of Bach's favorite keyboard instruments.


Hurdy- Gurdy: is a mix of a string and keyboard instrument. It is played by turning a handle to move a wheel along the strings and using the other hand to press the keys
. hurdy.jpg

Theorbo.pngTheorbo: a type of lute that has an extra set of strings for the base. It was used to accompany singers as soloists or in small groups.

French_baroque_oboe2.jpg Oboe: this instrument originated from the Shawm, it is a woodwind instrument with a double reed. Originally created with only six finger holes, it has been refined several times over the centuries into the instrument we know today.

The sound sample below is an oboe solo accompanied by a string quartet.

Important Composers
Bach's facebook
johann-sebastian-bach.jpgJohann Sebastian Bach- Born on March 21, 1685 was a German composer and keyboardist (could play the organ and the harpsichord). He wrote music in nearly every type of musical form and brought Baroque music to what it is today. Some of his work was St. Matthews Passion, St. John Passion, Double Violin Concerto, and B-Minor Mass. Bach was laid under the soil on July 28, 1750 in the cemetery of St. Jones in Leipzig, Germany.

Handel's facebook
George Handel- Born on February 23, 1685 in Germany, but in the 1700s became and English citizen and was a well know composer who also wrote music for every type of musical genre. He created the English oratorio and wrote many pieces of music for the royalty of music. Water Music, Royal Fireworks Suite, and Messiah are just a few of Handel’s works. Handel entered the eternal life on April 14, 1759 and was buried in the Westminster Abbey in England.

Antonio Vivaldi- Born on March 4, 1678 and was an Italian composer and a violinist. Much of Vivaldi’s work was “undiscovered” until the early 1930s; this music caused Vivaldi to be nicknamed “The Viennese Counterpart to Bach and Handel”. Vivaldi’s over 500 compositions contained The Four Seasons, Gloria, and Con Alla Rustica in G. Vivaldi left for his final destination on July 28, 1741 in Vienna, Italy.


Cultural References

Beauty_and_the_Beast.jpgDuring the Baroque period architecture and interior design became fancier and
more dramatic. Much of this can be seen in castles and churches in Europe. Also,
the unique and fancy designs are often referred to, including in the 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast” Cogsworth (the clock) tells Belle that the castle was an example of the Baroque period. To see what all Cogsworth says about the Baroque period go here!