Baroque Music Characteristics Essay

523 Words 3 Pages
Baroque Period (1600-1750)

Baroque Music Characteristics 2

Rhythm

•Most baroque music has an easily recognizable strong, steady pulse, and continuity of rhythm.
•Patterns of rhythmic sequences permeate much of Baroque music.
•Rapid changes in harmony often makes the pieces feel more rhythmic.
•Dance rhythms were frequently used in multi-movement form pieces.
•Dotted rhythms were widely used.

Harmony

•Figured Bass—a system of numbers placed under the music—was developed to indicate clearly the harmonies that should be played with each note indicated in the bass line. The figured bass was typically realized—performed—by the harpsichord.
•The use of the basso continuo, also known as thoroughbass, is a bass line running
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This developed the concept of tonality.

Texture

•Monophonic, texture evolved to homophonic texture in opera and solo arias, influencing both sacred and secular music. Many instrumental compositions were also homophonic.

•The soprano and bass lines are usually more important than the inner voices.
•Imitation between the voices is common.
•Counterpoint—a very complex and rule-bound type of polyphony in which the resulting harmony provides the tonal organization for the music—is used extensively.
•In the late Baroque, polyphony, as a result of counterpoint, was used in all sorts of compositions, especially the fugue.

•There was an increased emphasis on contrasting textures; for example, large groups of instruments play one section and a small group plays another, or groups of instruments take turns playing the main theme(s).

Timbre

•Most of the instruments commonly used today were in use during the Baroque era.
•The violin family was refined and perfected.
•The beginning of musical phrases are usually highlighted by a change of timbre.
•There wasn't a fixed, standard orchestral group. Ensembles were usually composed of strings, a few woodwinds, percussion, and the harpsichord providing the basso continuo.
•The Baroque pipe organ, which has a very soft, mellow tone, was used extensively.
•Use of brass instruments and percussion to denote pageantry, solemnity, ceremony, and splendor was a common trend.

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