Baroque Era instrumental music

By Keely Caulder

What is Baroque music?

Baroque music is a style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed after the Renaissance. Baroque music expresses order, the fundamental order of the universe. Yet it is always lively and tuneful.

types of instruments played

Many instruments were used in Baroque music. String instruments such as the lute, violin, viola, cello and double bass were often included, Brass instruments like the trumpet, horn and sackbut were used. Popular wind instruments included the recorder, flute, oboe and bassoon. Baroque keyboard music was often composed for the organ or harpsichord.


In the Renaissance, composers did compose in the forms and genres of other countries. There were very many important composers such as Handel, a German composer. Handel was a master of Italian opera seria ad well as English comic opera. Another would be Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi wrote over 500 concertos and is believed to have invented ritornello form (a theme returning throughout the piece). There were so many important composers and they have influenced music greatly!

advances in instrument making


The harpsichord came into its own in the Baroque period and is one of the instruments most closely associated with this era in music. The instrument became much bigger and more powerful in the Baroque era and could have two manuals (rows of keys).


With the new emphasis on melody in the Baroque era, the consorts of viols popular in the Renaissance were soon superseded by a new, more soloistic instrument – the violin. The development of the violin family is considered to have begun at the end of the 17th century. Although a baroque violin might look much the same as our modern violins, if you look closely there are many differences.


The recorder continued to be played during the Baroque period, and a number of changes to the construction of the instrument gave the Baroque recorder a sweeter sound, softer sound. Many composers wrote specifically for the recorder, including Scarlatti, Schütz, Telemann Vivaldi, Bach, Handel and Purcell, and the recorder was often used in operatic music of the period.

However there were many more advances in instrument making, these are just a few!