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(#10) If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it: Baroque Part II
Transcript of (#10) If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it: Baroque Part II
Some context for the Baroque period...
The Baroque period was roughly 1600-1750. Highlights from this time included....
Baroque Instrumental Music
The Baroque period is where we see the first big rise in instrumental music. We can trace its development to 3 different sources.
New instrumental genres
Concerto and Concerto Grosso- the most important orchestral genres of the Baroque era. The basic underlying idea is the contrast between an orchestra and a soloist. The power of the orchestra contrasts the brilliance of the soloist.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach came from a long line of musician/composers
Baroque style features
Thorough methodical quality (much of the Baroque consists of inspired repetition.
bright, vital rhythms playing off a steady beat. Often there is a harpsichord busily outlining a clear and distinct meter.
Dynamics stayed steady for the most part, and when they changed, the change was abrupt. (No gradual crescendo or decrescendo.)
The style of Baroque was methodical, but bright and sparkly. The methodical nature of the music allowed any deviations within the music to stand out even more. The busyness combined with the
methodical nature is very much reflective of
the new scientific thoughts developing
during this musical era.
King Louis XIV (absolute monarchies and divine right)
The invention of calculus (hoorah!)
Philosophers like Descartes, Locke, and Hume
Wait, how does this affect art, and more specifically, Baroque music?
As far back as ancient times, rulers were the people who sponsored the arts. In the 17th century, this sponsorship rose to new heights with Louis XIV's patronage of the arts.
Louis XIV strived to impress, even stupefy people with his art. He built the Palace of Versailles, with over 300 rooms, including an 80 yd long hall of mirrors
Just as painting could glorify rulers through color and designs, music could glorify through sound. Nobility maintained horn players for hunts, trumpeters for battles, and orchestras for balls.
The Baroque operas were also intended to glorify rulers- they were allegorical tributes to the glory and supposed virtue of those who paid for them.
Also, as science advanced, it infiltrated in music as well. Scales were tuned, or tempered more exactly than ever, so that all keys sounded even.
Dance- this source leads all the way back to the Middle Ages. Operas of the time featured a lot of dance, mostly in the form of ballet. It became popular for musicians of the time to put just the dance music together from operas to form "suites" that could be played separately from the opera itself.
Virtuosity- as instruments improved, people became more competitive, each striving to outdo the other with fiery acrobatic shows of technique.
Vocal music- instrument began to imitate and attempt to keep even with vocal music. (you
can hear this in our example of
L'Orfeo and Dido's Lament)
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major
cadenza- an improvised or
improvisatory solo passage within a
larger work. Cadenzas are a part
of concertos in every era. The biggest
one always happens near the end
of the first movement.
Bach's first position was a church organist in a small town called Arnstadt in Germany, then Muhlhausen, then he worked his was up to a court position in Weimar. When he tried to leave Weimer for another court, Coethen, the duke threw him in jail, which gives you some idea of the working conditions of court musicians.
In 1723, Bach became the cantor of St. Thomas'
Church in Leipzig, a center of Lutheran church
music in Germany.
In Leipzig, Bach composed, performed,
organized music for all four churches in town, taught the school choir, and composed, copied, rehearsed, and performed a new cantata every week.
Cantata- a religious or secular work for soloists, choir, and orchestra that could be 15-30 minutes long. Almost like an opera without an actual set, or complex plot.
Bach also had twenty children, seven with his first
wife and thirteen with his second.
Bach was never very much appreciated
in Leipzig and by the time of his death, was considered old-fashioned by contemporaries. He
rarely traveled, except to consult on organ
construction contracts, and for this
he was usually paid in wood
or a barrel of wine.
Bach's chief works
More than 200 sacred and secular works: the Mass in B Minor, "The Well-Tempered Clavier" (48 preludes and fugues in all major & minor keys for harpsichord, 3 sets of suites (six each) for harpsichord, so cello suites, violin sonatas, Goldberg variations, organ fugues, chorale preludes, Brandenburg Concertos, other concertos, orchestral suites, sonatas, "A Musical Offering" and "The Art of Fugue" and some chorale harmonizations.
Bach was not much appreciated until after his death, when other composers like Mozart and Beethoven recognized his contributions. Today he
is considered one of the titans of musical
Toccata and Fugue
in D minor
Toccata and Fugue
in d minor performed
by University of
Michigan Wind Ensemble
basso continuo- A set of chords
continuously underlying the melody in
a piece of Baroque music. The instruments
usually playing this were cello, plus
harpsichord or organ.
Giovanni Gabrieli "Sonata Pian e Forte"
One of the first examples of written dynamics
Handel Water Music and
Music for the Royal Fireworks
These were generally bigger works: composers wrote them because audiences found them more impressive.
The typical Baroque concerto has three movements...
I. A bright, extroverted piece with a fast tempo
II. A quieter, slower, more emotional movement
III. Another fast movement, perhaps even faster than
Many concertos are in ritornello form, which comprises of the
ritonello, or entire orchestra (also called tutti), and the solo.
It alternates the familiar sounding tutti sections with the more explorative solo sections. The orchestra tends to
be solid and forceful, the solo fast and brilliant.
movements- self-contained sections
of music that comprise a larger
work, like a chapter in a book.
Movements in a work usually show
a variety of character, tempo, key,
"Ritornello" comes from the Italian
word "ritorno," which means "return."
Form analysis would look like this:
T, S, T, S, T, S, T.
T= Tutti (main theme played by all)
S= Solo (explorative part where soloist is featured)
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Fugues and variations
A composition written systematically in
imitative polyphony, usually with a single
main theme, known as the "subject." (For example, Bach's "Contrapunctus 1"
Variations- Sectional pieces in which each section
repeats a certain tune, but with changes in it
that make it unique for each repetition. Rhythm,
timbre (tone color) dynamics, and harmonies
may be varied.
The undisputed champion of the Baroque concerto was the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi. He wrote hundreds of concertos, although relatively few were published.
Here we have Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in G, the first movement of which is in ritornello form.
And just in case you wanted
some Vivaldi on accordian,
here is "Winter" from "The
A concerto is a large composition for
orchestra (or band, after band was invented) and solo instrument. A concerto grosso specifically
describes the Baroque concerto, which was
written for a small orchestra, usually in ritornello form.
George Frideric Handel
Jean Baptiste Lully
Lully was one of those rare men that was born in Italy and moved to France!
He was born Giovanni Batista Lulli (1632-1687) in Florence, but spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV. He disavowed any Italian influence on French music
and became a French subject in 1661.
How did Lully attract the attention of Louis XIV? They both danced in the same ballet.
By 1653, Lully was a composer in Louis XIV's court and the music he wrote for operas and ballets made him indispensable. In 1662 he married the daughter of a fellow composer. In 1672, he became the director of the Academie Royal de Musique, which was the royal opera. Between 1673 and his death in 1687, he produced a new almost every single year.
However......he was King Louis XIV's golden boy no more.
In the 1680's, the king became more revolted by Louis XIV's dissolute lifestyle and homosexual encounters.
In 1687, Lully died from gangrene after stabbing himself in the foot with a conducting staff during a performance of one of his pieces to celebrate Louis XIV's successful recovery from a surgery.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)was born in Halle, Germany. He longed to study music from an early age but his father doubted that music was a realistic source of income and even forbid him from owning an instrument.
When he was seven, he had the opportunity to play the organ for the duke's court in Weissenfels. Here he met Fredrich Wilhelm Zachow, who would become his composition teacher.
Handel mastered composing for the organ, oboe, and violin by the time he was 10, then composed cantatas and chamber music from 11-16.
When he was 18, he went to study law at his father's insistence, but left after only a few months to perform music instead.
Handel's Early Life
In 1704, when he was 19, Handel premiered his first opera, "Almira."
The opera was successful and achieved a 20 performance run.
He went to tour in Italy, then moved to London, where he composed "Rinaldo" for the King's Theater. It became his most critically acclaimed work to date.
In 1726 he became a naturalized British citizen.
Soon after that, however, Italian opera experienced a decline in London. Handel replaced it with the oratorio.
Oratorios are large scale vocal works performed by a chorus, soloists, and orchestra. They are basically operas with no set or costumes. They caught
on quickly in London and proved to be quite lucrative.
In 1735, during Lent alone, Handel produced over 14 concerts made up primarily of oratorios.
His most famous oratorio, "The Messiah," premiered April of 1742 in Dublin. It was composed in 24 days (The average runtime is 156 minutes).
From Handel's Messiah
Performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Handel's Health and Music
Handel's job was incredibly high stress and it has been assumed that he suffered
from anxiety and depression. He also suffered two strokes and became gradually blind. He wrote about his blindness in his oratorio "Samson," which premiered in London in 1743.
"Total eclipse! no sun, no moon.
All dark amidst the blaze of noon
O glorious light! no cheering ray
To glad my eyes with welcome day."
After he went completely blind, Handel continued to compose, often relying
on sharp memory.
"Music for the Royal Fireworks"
(1749) performed on period instrments
Handel died in 1759. He was never married, but when he died, he was wealthy and well-known, which is more than you can say for many
artists or musicians.
Lully's "Te Deum," the piece he was rehearsing
when he stabbed himself in the foot and died.
Double chorus and orchestra. Old instruments.
Bach Goldberg Variations
Bach Contrapunctus 1
from The Art of
Carnival of Venice
(a modern example
of theme and variations)
"Music for the Royal
by the Chicago Chamber Brass on
"Modern Baroque" Compositions
Baroque Pop Movement of the 1960's- a movement followed by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Procol Harum, Moody Blues, etc. that created pop music with Baroque (and sometimes Classical or Renaissanc) elements.
"For No One"
"A Whiter Shade of Pale"
Includes a Baroque-style
introduction inspired by
Bach's "Air on a G string"
"Arpeggios from Hell"
Bach "Air on a G string" for reference
Simon and Garfunkel
Written in dorian mode
and based on a folk song
from the mid 16
Concerto No. 6
Concerto No. 1
Concerto No. 2
The Devil's violin
Carnival of Venice
The Cantata's libretto features lines like "If I couldn't, three times a day, be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a shriveled-up roast goat".
Essentially a miniature comic opera that tells on an addiction coffee, which 18th century Germany viewed as a bad habit.