Baroque Music

The term Baroque, derived from bracco, means "the oddly shaped pearl." This seems like an odd term to compare this music to, but to critics in the 19th century it made sense due to Baroque music's overly ornamented and exaggerated sound. This music has dropped all negative connotations and has become known as the richest most diverse periods in music history.

Defining Characteristics

· Contrast as a dramatic element

o Differences between loud and soft, solo and ensemble, different instruments and timbres all play an important role in baroque compositions

o Composers became more precise about instrumentation – specifying the instruments on which piece should be played rather than having the performer choose

· Monody and the advent of the basso continuo

o “harmony” and “melody” truly began

o part of an effort to imitate ancient music

o more focus on a single voice with a simplified accompaniment, or monody

· different instrumental sounds

o has become increasingly popular over the last 50 yeas

§ different in pitch, timbre and performance technique

· thick and complex polyphonic texture

Significant Artists of the Time

Relevant Timeframe and Where Baroque Music Originated

Baroque music's relevant timeline was between 1600 and 1750 and originated in Western Europe

How Society was Involved

During the Baroque era, attending a public concert was considered rare. Most composers performed in church for a service or in the home of a wealthy patron for a private concert. However, public concerts became more popular with the introduction of Operas and Oratorios. This growing popularity of public concertos made the middle class an important source of income for Baroque composers. By the end of this period, Baroque became as musically important as the church or court.