Vocal Music In The Baroque Era

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Vocal music in the Baroque era
Introduction to the baroque era
Taken from the Portuguese word “barroco (oddly shaped pearl)”, the term “Baroque” is associated with Western art music between the periods of 1600 to 1750 (Nicholas Kraemer accessed: 1 September 2016). In congruence to the word it derived from, Baroque music focussed on musical ornamentation, technique and contrast. Additionally, the concept of “melody” and “harmony” began to be articulated and implemented, in contrast to the previously favoured polyphony. The belief in producing music as a potent tool of communication arose during this period when composers were influenced by the Roman and Greek belief that music could communicate and arouse emotions within the listeners. This
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In the second half of the 18th century however, the early classical Opera was reformed in various ways. Emphasis on dramatic aspects increased over musical formalities, the structure became more flexible and choruses were used more frequently. The aria did not dominate the opera and the Da Capo aria allowed freer arias for solo singers. Ostentatious virtuosity lost popularity and soloists were no longer the main attraction. The recitativo secco became uncommon and was replaced by a more melodic recitative with orchestral accompaniment. The comic opera was most open to the new stylistic changes.
Comic operas The Italian Opera buffa consisted of singers singing parlando-style (talk-song) and dialogue was set in rapidly delivered recitative with continuo. The work consisted of six or more characters with a plot that caricatured the faults of both the aristocrats and the commoners. The French Opera comique consisted of spoken dialogue that took over the recitative, and emotional and romantic qualities. By the end of the 18th century, serious social and political themes were often chosen. The German Singspiel first appeared in Vienna in the 1710s. It features spoken dialogue, musical numbers and comic plots. Lastly ballad opera, although it is not a comic opera, was popular in England during the Classical period. It consists of spoken dialogue and
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But more to its simple definition (Barbara Meister from An Introduction to the Art Song: A Guide to Listening Pleasure Accessed:01/10/16), the art song is based on four key elements: the poet, composer, singer and accompanist. The composer thoroughly interprets the resources of the poet’s text and sometimes plays a crucial role in realising potential interpretations that were not clear in the poet’s words. He or she is also responsible in producing a melody and accompaniment that clearly portrays the message of the poem. This is done by creating a duet between the accompanist and the singer to illustrate what the poet might have envisioned. The specific choice of the piano as the accompanying instrument was favoured due to enhancing the piano with an iron harp for more expression. As a result, composers realised they could reproduce the poetic images into songs and use the piano to enhance and intensify their

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