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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Music Periods - Baroque 3

In the previous blog we covered the baroque style using DRSMITH. In this blog I’ll cover the different forms used in the period.


These were the most popular genres in the Baroque period.


Cantata

What It Is: A vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment often involving a

choir.

How Many Movements: Several.

Well Known Example: Der Schulmeister - Telemann.


Concerto

What It Is: An instrumental piece of music written for a solo instrument with orchestral

accompaniment.

How Many Movements: A typical concerto will have three movements (sections).

What Are The Movements: The first movement is usually fast. The second movement will

be slow and lyrical. The third movement will be another fast one.

Well Known Example: Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is a set of four concerti written for solo

violin.


Concerto Grosso

What It Is: An instrumental piece of music written for a small group of soloist (concertino)

with orchestral accompaniment (ripieno) and basso continuo.

How Many Movements: Three.

What Are The Movements: Usually fast, slow, fast.

Well Known Example: JS Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto’s”, is a set of six concerti grossi,

This is the third one. Bach was a very (perhaps the most) popular composer of the Baroque period.


Fugue

What It Is: A composition involving imitation and counterpoint. Can be a solo instrument,

orchestra, or choir that plays it.

How Many Movements?: Usually just one.

Well Known Example: “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” - JS Bach


Minuet

What It Is: A social dance of French origin for two people. Usually in ¾. Instrumentally it

became a longer piece called minuet and trio

Well Known Example: Movement VI of Handel’s “Water Music”


Opera

What It Is: Drama set to music. No speaking. Characters. Acting. Dialogue would be

sung, this is called a recitative. Arias are big songs that help move the story along and are sung by a soloist.

Well Known Example: "The Fairy Queen" - Purcell


Oratorio

What It Is: A large musical for orchestra, choir, and soloists. It will have distinguishable

characters and arias, similar to Opera with the main difference being there was no acting.

Well Known Example: Handel’s “Messiah” (which includes the famous “Hallelujah

chorus)


Prelude

What It Is: A short piece of music. In this period of music it would serve as an introduction to a longer, more complex work.

Well Known Example: JS Bach’s “The Well Tempered Clavier”


Suite

What It Is: A collection of dance movements.

How Many Movements: Four standard. Others could be added at the whim of the composer.

What Are The Movements: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue were the four main ones. Others that could be added include, Minuet, Gavotte, Bourée.

Well Known Example: Handel’s “Water Music”.


Theme And Variations

What It Is: A composition where a memorable melody begins the piece, and the melody is repeated with different variations. The melody is still recognisable even though it’s being “messed about with”. Each variation is a self-contained piece of music.

How Many Movements?: It varies greatly. It’s up to the composer.

Well Known Example: “Goldberg Variations” - JS Bach (told you he was popular!) They start with a simple idea over a ground bass, followed by 30 variations!


Toccata

What It Is: A piece of music for a solo instrument, usually a keyboard, written to allow the musician to show off their skills. Usually fast-moving with lots of scales, arpeggios, and trills.

Well Known Example: JS Bach’s "Toccata and Fugue" in D Minor.


In the next blog I’ll talk about the structures used within some of these forms.

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