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Baroque Music General Characteristics

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  • Baroque MusicGeneral Characteristics

  • Rhythm

    Steady beats

    Repetitive nature

  • Rhythm

    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3: I

  • Rhythm

    Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3: III

  • Rhythm:

    Bach: St. Matthew Passion, Opening Chorus

  • Rhythm

    The “Walking Bass”

    Steady, step-like bass notes underlying a melody

  • Rhythm

    Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, Aria

  • Harmonic Rhythm

    The term refers to the placement in time of chord changes.

    In Baroque music, harmonic rhythm tends to be steady, becoming faster near cadences.

  • Harmonic Rhythm

    Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier I, Prelude No. 2

  • Harmonic Rhythm

    Bach: Violin Concerto in D Minor BWV 1043

  • Dynamics

    Usually static

    Dynamic changes will be restricted to occuring between movements.

  • Dynamics

    “Terraced” dynamics refer to sudden changes, such as a p to a f.

    However, most terraced dynamics are relatively subtle.

  • Dynamics

    Bach: Orchestral Suite in D Major, Gavotte

  • Dynamics

    Bach: Violin Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1060

  • Tone Color

    Less important to Baroque composers

    Instruments were more interchangeable:

    Harpsichord/Clavichord

    Violin/Oboe

    ‘Cello/Viola da Gamba

  • Tone Color

    However, tone color was used when it would be effective.

  • Tone Color

    Handel: a passage from Saul featuring a bell carillon.

  • Tone Color

    Bach: Cantata No. 82, Ich habe genug

    Bach’s love for the sound of oboe and voice

  • Melody

    Long, serpentine “tapeworm” melodies are often found, especially in slow movements.

  • Melody

    Bach: Mass in B Minor, Laudamus

  • Melody

    Orchestral Suite in D Major, Aria

  • Melody

    Songlike melodies in short phrases weren’t unheard of, however.

  • Melody

    Bach: Cantata No. 84, III: Woll euch

  • Continuo

    Particular sound of Baroque music

    Heard underlying instrumental music and almost all vocal music as well.

    A sustaining instrument (‘cello or viola da gamba) and a keyboard instrument.

  • Continuo

    The keyboard player is given only the bass line, together with a set of figures which indicate the harmonies.

    The “continuo player” on the keyboard realizes the figures into a fully-fleshed out harmonic accompaniment.

    The string instrument plays the notated bass line.

  • Continuo

    Bass line and figures: the performance gives an idea how it might be realized.

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  • Continuo

    Harpsichord & ‘Cello:

    Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, Adagio

  • Continuo

    Organ & ‘Cello

    Cantata No. 11 Ach bleibe doch