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Baroque Music
The texture:
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A lot of Baroque music has a homophonic texture. It is built on chords.
A lot of Baroque music has a polyphonic texture. It is created using different melodies played at the
same time. A polyphonic texture is also referred to as counterpoint or a contrapuntal texture.
A lot of Baroque music uses a combination of homophonic and polyphonic textures.
Instrumentation:
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A string orchestra (made up of violins, violas, cellos and double basses) or chamber orchestra (small
orchestra) was most common in the Baroque period.
A continuo was used to accompany all orchestral music. This consisted of a bass instrument (e.g.
cello or bassoon) and a keyboard instrument (e.g. harpsichord or organ). The keyboard instrument
was used to fill out the harmonies by playing chords and the bass instrument helped to provide the
bass line as the orchestra was small in those days.
Harpsichord
Brass used sparingly because they had no valves and so couldn’t play all notes.
Not much percussion. Possibly a couple of timpani drums.
Woodwinds: baroque flute (wooden); recorder; oboe, bassoon.
Composer
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Bach
Classical Music
The texture:
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Melody and accompaniment
Instrumentation:
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Double wind orchestra (strings plus two of each woodwind instrument eg flute, clarinet, oboe,
bassoon).
Strings still the dominant part of the orchestra
Piano takes over from the harpsichord as the most popular keyboard instrument
Clarinet used for the first time
Brass used more than in the Baroque, but not as much as in the Romantic period (Viennese Waltz)
String Quartet used (2 violins; 1 viola and 1 cello)
Composer
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Mozart
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