Friday, June 18, 2010

Baroque Music Essay

Baroque Music Essay

The definition of Baroque refers to a large, irregularly shaped, pearl that was used in extremely fanciful jewelry during the post-Renaissance period. In relation to music, the Baroque style is described as luscious, ornate, and emotionally appealing. This type of music was written between the periods of 1600-1750. The Baroque Era came directly after Renaissance, which was a re-birth of good art and music, and before the Classical Era, which was that birth coming into its maturity. Therefore, the Baroque Era of music was that "growing up" period; that in-between, awkward stage where rules were broken, new creativity exploded, and emotions ran wild.

Baroque composers began to write music for specific instruments and vocalists. They used quick, strong contrasts in timing and volume. The Baroque era in music played a crucial part toward the development of modern musical language. Since composers were now writing for individual voices and instruments, some changes evolved. Instruments had to be re-developed so they could be played in any key. Keyboard music was abundant due to the technological changes and improvements in musical instruments.

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Some forms of Baroque music include fugues, suites, concertos, sonatas, and cantatas, and the three "pillars" of Baroque music were Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi.

As a team, we chose to analyze a Baroque piece by Antonio Vivaldi, who was considered to be one of the masters of the concerto. Vivaldi was a native of Venice and spent at least fifty of his sixty-three years there. He is credited for writing numerous sonatas, operas, cantatas, and over 450 concertos. The Vivaldi concerto was shaped during the period between 1710 and 1720 and was described as wild and irregular. The type of concerto created by Vivaldi was not only a new musical genre; it also brought about a new quality in the development and understanding of instrumental composition in general.

The concerto we analyzed by Vivaldi, was "Concerto for 4 Violins & String Orchestra in B-flat Major". Our description of this concerto would be that it was an extremely emotional piece that gave us a feeling of peacefulness, and relaxation. We could feel the emotions in the different tempos and contrasts in volume, and when the tempo would change, so would our mood. We also thought of a variety of movies that have used Baroque music for their soundtracks. Movies such as: On Golden Pond, Dangerous Liaisons, Camelot, Mr. Holland's Opus, and Fantasia all represent the Baroque style and all of these movies appealed to our emotions.

It was a definite group consensus that we all like Baroque music and that it does stimulate the senses and leave a feeling of calmness and relaxation. It is fitting that the definition of Baroque as a large, irregular shaped pearl also seems to describe the music because it has that magnificent quality, and ornateness of fancy jewelry. Its harmony, structure, and form laid the groundwork for the music that was yet to come and its legacy can still be heard today. We would recommend listening to Baroque music for everyone because it has a soothing, calming effect on the senses, and we will end our journal entry with a new saying "If it's not "Baroque" - don't fix it!"

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