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Baroque (1650-1750)

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Baroque (1650-1750) * Full of ornaments and decoration * Use of antiphonal effects * Use of terraced dynamics * Often accompanied by a harpsichord * The birth period of the modern orchestra The word 'Baroque' was applied to architecture and was a way of describing the very decorated style of building that was becoming popular at this time. Buildings were being decorated with twisting, curling patterns and music too became highly decorated. the music has lots of decoration. In some ways decorating the music like this meant that musicians were able to 'show-off' their skill. Singers too used to decorate the music in their singing. The Baroque period was also a great time for musical development, not only in how music was played but in how music was composed, the development of instruments and new types of work ...read more.


The Italian violin makers such as Antonio Stradivarius were developing and improving instruments. Composers began to write music specifically for the instruments. One such composer was Vivaldi who wrote many pieces of work for strings - his most famous is perhaps the 'Four Seasons' - this was important because it was amongst the first pieces of music that had a 'programme'. Click on his picture to hear the first movement of 'Spring'. Related idea: CONTINUO; CONCERTO GROSSO; PROGRAMME MUSIC Church music as in previous musical eras played a very important role but it was having less of an influence on general music making. That said many of the major composers in the Baroque period had worked in the church, including Vivaldi and J.S. ...read more.


An Oratorio is a large work for soloists, choir and orchestra. It takes as its theme stories from the bible, such as the death of Christ (the Passion). Oratorios were usually sung in churches and large halls by the Baroque period they were a musical presentation only, not acted. The most famous Oratorio with words in English is Handel's 'Messiah' which tells of the birth of Christ - (the Nativity). Perhaps the most played section is the Halleluiah Chorus - when the 'Messiah' was performed in Covent Garden, London (23rd March, 1743) King George II stood up as the 'Halleluiah Chorus' began. It has now become traditional for concert goers to stand for this part of the 'Messiah'. Related ideas: ARIA; RECITATIVE; CHORUS One piece of Baroque music made famous by a television advert was Bach's 'Air on a G String' ...read more.

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