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Therefore, it was during the Baroque Era that our modern conception of the orchestra, as a group centered around a group of bowed strings, was first developed. However, baroque orchestras were much smaller than the orchestras used in later art music, usually included only 10 to 25 people, and often consisted of nothing but bowed strings and perhaps a harpsichord or organ. Wind instruments (brass and woodwinds) could be used and often were, including a limited array of percussion, but the bowed strings were the CORE of the orchestra from its earliest inception.
Often referred to as the first great English composer of international acclaim
-DIDO AND AENEAS (1689)
Libretto is an abbreviated English-language
adaptation (by librettist Nahum Tate) of an episode
from the Aeneid, the Latin epic written by Virgil
in the 1st century BC (between 29 and 19 BC)
that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan
who traveled to Italy, where he became the mythical ancestor of the Romans. Purcell’s instrumental works rank among the finest musical achievements of the middle Baroque.
-A poem (or, when set to music, a song) expressing grief, regret or mourning. As a musical subcategory of recitative and aria, it was very popular in the 17th century and after.
-Baroque lament arias often feature a basso ostinato (also known as a ground bass), which is a bass theme that repeats over and over. The basso ostinatos or ground basses of lament arias typically consist of a descending, chromatic figure (often descending from tonic to dominant in the key of the piece) in a slow triple meter.
An ostinato is any musical figure that repeats over and over as an accompaniment, laying a harmonic foundation over which other prominent melodies occur.
using these instruments in both modern and renaissance music.
: a keyboard instrument that plucks the strings, this instrument was extremely popular in the Renaissance and Baroque Periods as both a soloist and a continuo instrument.
This plucked string instrument was introduced to Europe by Muslim communities (who called the instrument an ud) living in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) during the medieval era. It was an extremely important instrument both for solo performance and for accompanying singers or other instrumental soloists. This instrument did not typically come in consorts of different sizes, but there were larger bass lutes called the archlute.
a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard, played either with the hands or with the feet.
Although similar to modern orchestral strings, the viol is held in front of the body and rested on the knees, which is why they are also called viola da gamba (leg viols). In the Baroque Era the large bass viola was a typical basso continuo instrument.
a musical work under one title that is actually several separate musical pieces that are always played together in the same order. Each of the individual pieces that comprise a multi-movement genre is called a MOVEMENT.
multi-movement genre for a solo instrumentalist and basso continuo
multi-movement genre for a solo keyboard (harpsichord most commonly).
multi-movement genre for TWO instrumental soloists and basso continuo.
Be careful about this one, because the ensemble can vary widely. Since the basso continuo part might be played by one, two or three people, the total ensemble of a trio sonata could include from 3 players (2 soloists + 1 continuo player) to 5 players (2 soloists + 3 continuo players) or even more.
multi-movement (usually three but could be more) genre for two or more instrumental soloists and orchestra (including the basso continuo). Many such works were written for two violinists and basso continuo (the solo group) accompanied by a larger group (the orchestra, which usually also consisted of strings only). Part of the interest in such works is the exciting contrast of the smaller solo group with the larger orchestra.
UITE, by definition, means a multi-movement collection of dances. Dance suites could be used for dancing or simply as concert works for listening enjoyment
A multi-movement genre for orchestra without any particular featured soloists. Usually each movement is named after and is an example of a particular dance type, although some movements might have other inspirations and be unrelated to dance.
Treatise on Harmony
a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time.
lively baroque dance
musical form in two related sections, both of which are usually repeated. Binary is also a structure used to choreograph dance. In music this is usually performed as A-A-B-B
-An entire piece or distinct subsection of music that employs imitative polyphony in a strictly prescribed manner. A fugue can be a genre (if an entire piece or movement contains nothing but that fugue), but it is also possible for a subsection of a piece to be described as a ‘fugue’.
-Fugues may be written for any instrument capable of polyphonic solo playing, or for any combination of voices or instruments, or instruments and voices together.
he first musical theme of a fugue. After its first appearance in a single voice or part, you will then hear that same melody again and again in the other parts.
the music played by the orchestra appears both at the beginning, end, and several times during the movement.
which means that the melody (theme) heard at the beginning is followed by alternative versions of that same melody.
-German, Lutheran composer and one of the most influential figures in western music history
-He later worked for five years at the court of the Prince of Anhalt-Cöthen, where he wrote some of his most famous instrumental works, including The Brandenburg Concertos.
-Bach composed six “Brandenburg” concertos, five of which have three movements (fast slow—fast), and each for a different ensemble for instrumental soloists with orchestra. Bach sent the manuscripts of these newly composed work to the Margrave of Brandenburg, a nobleman (thus the title), probably in the hope of gaining employment in that court or simply to earn a monetary gift; Bach received neither, as far as we know today.
(as composed by J. S. Bach between 1700 and 1750) eight movements, used in the worship services of German Lutheran Churches.
-Sacred cantatas are NOT a dramatic presentation like opera; a cantata (whether sacred or secular) features no plot, acting, costumes, stage movement, etc.), although it is divided into choruses, arias, recitatives, duets, and instrumental pieces etc. just like an opera or oratorio.
-The ensemble of a sacred cantata consists of a smallish choir (12 or so), vocal soloists, an orchestra (10-20 or so) and an organ, although larger groups of singers and instrumentalists were used on special occasions (like major feast days in the liturgical calendar).
-Texts are in the vernacular language (German), as is typical of Lutheran worship practice.
-The texts of Bach’s cantatas were PROPER (appropriate for specific days of the year).
-The texts and music of some movements of Bach’s cantatas (typically the first and last) were often based on well-known LUTHERAN CHORALES.
-Hymn-like songs used for congregational singing in the Lutheran Church, composed in
a rather simple, four-part (SATB) texture. It is a sacred genre that was (and is) sung during the worship service by the congregation along with the professional choir (the latter of whom would have performed the sacred cantata during the worship service).
-Many chorales date back to Martin Luther (1483-1546) himself, although new ones were continuously composed for centuries.
-Chorales are STROPHIC: i.e., each verse of text is sung to the same repeated music.
-Bach (and other Lutheran organists) composed and published many Chorale Preludes for organ, which would have been (and are still) performed before the chorale was sung. These works were often simply improvised by the organist during the worship service and were only written down later. [The genre of chorale prelude IS NOT on the exam and is not required.]
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
-German-born composer who created numerous works in every genre of his day, including orchestral dance suites, organ concertos, and concerti grosso, but he is most remembered for his 39 Italian-style operas and his oratorios for English audiences.
-At 21 he went to Italy, where he further studied the Italian opera style;
-In 1710 Handel took a well-paid position as music
director for Elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover, who became Handel’s patron.
-Much likes an opera, a large-scale music drama for vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra; oratorios are multi-movement works that contain arias, recitatives, duets, trios, choral numbers, and interludes for orchestra alone.
-Usually based on a narrative libretto with plots and characters (one of whom is usually a narrator); however, unlike an opera there is no acting, scenery, or costumes.
-Handel’s oratorios are usually based on stories from the Old Testament: for example Handel’s oratorios Israel in Egypt and Joshua.
- Secular genre composed and performed for entertainment purposes; usually performed in an opera theater or other large, secular, public venue.
An aria in ABA form i.e., one in which the A section is sung da capo at the end. (Da capo: literally, from the beginning, a direction to the performer to repeat music from the beginning of the piece up to a later point.)
-Known as the “Red Priest” because he was indeed a priest and had rather wild red hair.
-Although he composed operas and church music, he is best known for his 450 or so concertos (both solo concerti and concerti grosso).
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