This post summarizes a work presented during an English lesson, in which I introduced the main characteristics of Baroque music.
The main genres of this movement were the melodrama, the sonata, the ballet, the suite and the concert, and its most common forms were the ABA form, the canon and the fugue
In this period three instruments were particularly used: the violin, the harpsichord and the organ.
The main exponents of Baroque music were Claudio Monteverdi, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Georg Friedrich Händel.
Baroque music developed in a tragic period in Europe. These years were characterized by religious and dynastic wars, plague and famines. These elements made the lower classes even poorer, while in the European courts there was a limitless luxury.
The Birth Of Melodrama
In Italy, during the XVth century, the court of Count Bardi saw the birth of a group of intellectuals and artists called “Camerata de’ Bardi”.
They loved Greek tragedy, in which music and acting were mixed, so they tried to rework it according to Baroque tastes, having as a purpose to impress, move and wonder the audience.
The product of this attempt was the melodrama, a show in which the scenes were expressed through music and singing.
Important figures were the librettist (who wrote the poetic text), the singers or choir who performed the sung parts of the melodrama, and the orchestral accompaniment.
Music As An Expressive Form
The singers in the melodrama “recited singing”.
Monteverdi, the most important Italian musician of the period, said that there had to be a correspondence between text and music, and that music had to be “the servant of words”.
The “Opera Buffa”
At the end of the XVth century, during the intervals of the so-called “opera seria”, the authors started inserting a comic scene to entertain the audience, called “intermezzo”.
The success of this genre caused the birth of the independent genre of “opera buffa”.
A very famous example of Baroque music is Bach’s Air on 4th String. You surely have heard it before!
Click on the link below to listen to it!