The Baroque Era Essays

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Social and Cultural Background

     Baroque is a term borrowed from the visual arts and one that is used in many different senses. The Baroque Era applies to the years between
1600 and 1750. The most famous composers of this time were Bach, Handel,
Vivaldi and Teleman.
     Politically it was an age of magnificent absolute Monarch’s. The most magnificent of all was Louis XIV of France. Louis ruled from 1634 until 1713.
During this time the need to create a national culture or a regional style that would match or surpass the elsewhere created cultural models was pressed for.
     When looking at Baroque architecture it is noticeable that the
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The composers at this time usually did not specify dynamics on their pieces, they simply wrote “loud” or “soft.”
     The most prominent element in Baroque music was rhythm and texture. Baroque’s fast movement generally caused the feeling of rhythmic drive. Tempos were always constant. The least prominent element was melody. Gradual rise of tonality on the other hand was a great Baroque innovation. This is the major-minor system that is still used today in the twentieth century.
     Opera was one of the most important developments in the Baroque
Era. It began in Florence in 1600. French operas featured more emphasis on the orchestra and chorus. During this time Handel invented the oratorio.
An oratorio is a large work for soloists, chorus, and orchestra sung in concert format, without costumes or staging, in a concert hall rather than as part of a church service. Some other instrumentals formed during this era were:      Concerto Grosso: in three movements, fast-slow-fast, and pits a large group of soloists against the larger string ensemble.
     Suite: a less formal structure consisting of several binary dance movements      Fugue: Latin for “flight” or “chase,” denotes a standard Baroque compositional process.


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