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BAROQUE MUSIC
1.
THE MAJESTY OF SACRED MUSIC
Sacred music that accompanies functions is enriched and becomes more majestic:
impressive sacred hymns, performed with instrumental arrangements, celebrate the
greatness of God.
2.
THE ORATORIO
The oratorio is a form of sacred music in which the singers, accompanied by the
harpsichord and orchestra, narrate stories inspired by religious themes. Famous oratorios
include those by Handel.
3.
THE CANTATA
The cantata is a composition for voices and instruments, and is usually sacred.
4.
THE GREATNESS OF THE ROYAL COURTS
Kings live in luxurious palaces and music accompanies them throughout the day. The
musical pieces performed in the courts have tones of splendour and majesty that celebrate
their royal power.
5.
THE CONCERTO
In the Baroque period, the following forms of concerto take hold:
• in the solo concerto a single soloist is accompanied by an orchestra;
• in the concerto grosso a small group of instruments alternates with an orchestra.
Vivaldi and Handel are two of the greatest concerto composers of the time.
6.
THE BIRTH OF OPERA THEATRE
During the Baroque period, specific buildings, opera theatres, are built to house the
performances of melodramas, a musical form which becomes increasingly popular with the
public.
7.
THE MELODRAMA
Born at the end of the fifteenth century, the melodrama is a theatre play in which the actorsingers narrate a story by singing and acting. The melodrama includes the opera seria
[serious opera] and the opera buffa [comic opera].
8.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC: CONTRASTS AND EMBELLISHMENTS
Instrumental music becomes increasingly important. Music created specifically for one or
more musical instruments emerges and musicians enrich their work with contrast
(variations of intensity between piano [“soft”] and forte [“loud”]) and embellishments
(short, quick groups of notes within a piece of music).
9.
THE FUGUE
The fugue is a compositional technique that consists of creating a contrapuntal
composition in which the composer expresses a musical idea and then, at a precise
moment, repeats it according to the very rigid rules of sound combination. The most
famous fugues are those composed by Bach.
10.
THE SUITE
A suite is an instrumental composition made up of various dance movements organised in
a way that alternates slow pieces and fast pieces.