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Copy of Comparison of the Baroque and Classical Eras

By Isabel McCall

Eliane Campbell

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Comparison of the Baroque and Classical Eras

Comparison between the Baroque and Classical Eras
Spanning from 1600-1750 the Baroque Era of music one was one of the most revolutionary periods in music history. The era saw the development of functional tonality, brought new instrumental playing techniques and more elaborate and complex compositions. It featured many very well known composers, such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi and brought about developments in musical terms and concepts which are still used today.
Baroque Era
Spanning from 1750-1825 the Classical Era of music was of much contrast to its predecessing periods of music history. Pieces composed in the era featured much structural clarity and sounded very balanced. The era featured many famous composers including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and saw the development and establishment of many of today's common musical forms.
Classical Era
One of the main differences between the Baroque and Classical eras is the mood of the compositions. In the Baroque era, the mood stays constant throughout the entirity of the piece. This contrasts greatly to the mood in pieces of the classical era as it will often change throughout the piece.
Another contrasting feature of both the Baroque and Classical eras is the rhythmic patterns featured in each era's compositions. The Classical era saw a new sense of rhythmic flexibility not seen before in the Baroque era, which had a regular continuous motion of rhythm in it's pieces.
One of the major differences between the Baroque and Classical eras is the texture. In the Baroque era the texture of the compositions was polyphonic, meaning it has more than one melodic parts. This greatly contrasts to the Classical era in which the texture was homophonic, meaning there was one main melody played with accompanying parts.
Another difference in characteristics between the Baroque and Classical eras is the melody. In the Baroque era only one melodic idea was used throughout a piece. Which compared to the melody in the Classical era, was very different. In which the melody was short and balanced, and pieces contained two or more contrasting themes.
Classical Era
Yet another difference between the Baroque and Classical eras is the dynamics used in pieces. In the Baroque era pieces were composed using terraced dynamics, which means there were very sudden changes in dynamic levels and no crescendos or decrescendos. This, in comparison to the dynamics used the Classical era is very contrasting because, in the it a wide range of dynamic levels were used in pieces, as were crescendos and descrescendos.
In the Classical era many of the new forms developed had similar aspects to those of the Baroque era. For example Theme and Variations is similar to Fugue, due to the fact that in both, one main theme is repeated and varied throughout the piece.

Yet another form of the Classical era, the Classical Concerto, is a development of a Baroque form, Concerto Grosso and Ritornello. This is because, in the Concerto Grosso the orchestra is playing against a small group of soloists, which is very similar to the Classial Concerto in which a soloist plays with the orchestra.
Baroque Era
Classical Era
- Concerto Gross and Ritornello
- Fugue
- Sonata
-Theme and Variations
-Minuet and Trio
-Classical Symphony
-Classical Concerto
Baroque Era
Classical Era
- Terraced dynamics
-Wide range of dynamic levels
Baroque Era
Classical Era
-One melodic idea throughout the work
-Two or more contrasting themes each movement
-Balanced four-bar phrases
Baroque Era
Classical Era
- Polyphonic
Baroque Era
Classical Era
- Forward drive
- Continuous motion
- Flexible
- Many rhythmic patterns
Baroque Era
Classical Era
- One basic mood
-Mood will often change
Baroque Era
-Small orchestra (10-40 musicians)
-Flexible instrumentation
-Featured the Basso Continuo
-Featured the upper strings (violins and violas)
-Treated instruments as interchangable
-Different instruments were chosen to gain different tone colours
-Standardised orchestra- strings, woodwind, brass, percussion
-Strings most important
-Woodwind section added contrast
-Brass brought power and 'umph' to passages
-Timpani brought rhythmic emphasis
-Up to 60 musicians
-Instruments were not treated interchangably
There are many contrasting features between the Baroque and Classical era's timbre. The main difference is that the Baroque era's flexible instrumentation of the orchestra became standardised in the Classical era to four sections- strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. Another difference is the size of the orchestra, as the number of musicians in the Baroque era was considerably smaller than that of the Classical era. In the Baroque orchestra, often intsrtuments were treated as interchangable, unlike in the Classical era where each instrument had a special role to play.
La Primavera (Spring), From the Four Seasons
Concerto for violin and string orchestra, no. 1 by Antonio Vivaldi

The piece 'Spring' by Vivaldi is a great example of Baroque music as it contains many of the general characterisitics from this era. It's energetic, light, tuneful melodies and homophonic texture really depict the arrival of springtime.

Firstly, the piece is in Ritornello form. The work opens with the main Ritornello:
Which is repeated in different variations throughout the piece, in perticular using terraced dynamics, a typical characteristic of Baroque music. Another typical characteristic of Baroque music featured in this piece is the basso continuo, which is played on the harpsicord throughout the entirity of the piece. Also, during this work a solo group of instruments plays against the orchestra, and the theme of the piece remains constant.
Symphony no. 94 in G Major (Surprise) by Joseph Haydn
The composition 'Symphony no. 94 in G Major' by Joseph Haydn is a great example of music from the Classical era. It is in Theme and Variations form and features for variations of the theme:
The piece contains many of the general characterisitcs of Classical music, one of which is having a wide range of dynamics. For example it starts at a very soft volume level and after repeating the theme dramatically, and suddenly loudens with a bang, surprising the audience. Another characteristic of Classical music which this piece has is it's homophonic texture. In the piece the violins play the main tune, whilst the other instruments play lower accompanying parts around them.
Primavera - Vivaldi . (2008, February 16). Retrieved November 17, 2011, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H97-pR6M_50
Haydn: Symphony No. 94 in G major ("Surprise") - Movement 2 || Leslie Jones, Nonesuch, 1968. (2010, July 24). Retrieved November 17, 2011, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNwMXj0Y1_Y
Baroque Music. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2011, from Classics for Kids: http://www.classicsforkids.com/shows/genre_baroque.asp
Characteristics of Baroque Music. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2011, from ORACLE ThinkQuest: http://library.thinkquest.org/27927/Baroque_Characteristics.htm
Classical Period. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2011, from The History of Music: http://archiv.radio.cz/hudba/classic.html
Gifford, K. (n.d.). Classical Era. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from Humanities Web: http://www.humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=c&p=i&a=l&ID=5
The Baroque Era. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2011, from ORACLE ThinkQuest: http://library.thinkquest.org/15413/history/history-bar.htm

Baroque Era
Classical Era
-Emphasis on chords and the bass part
-Basso Continuo (commonly played by harpsicord, organ or any low registered insrument)
-End of the Basso Continuo
In the Baroque era emphasis was put on chords and the bass parts of pieces. This resulted in the formation of the Basso Continuo, playing chords in a lower register and then improvising harmonies above them. This gave Baroque pieces harmonic structure. During the Classical era, the Basso Continuo was abandoned as more pieces were being composed for amateur musicians, and it was a very hard art to master. As well, composers of the Classical era wanted to have control over the accompanying parts of their compositions, not just have them improvised.
Kamien, R. (1994). Music: An Appreciation. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
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