Baroque And Romantic Music Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Music Type: Essay Paper: #39532281 Related Topics: Baroque, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Romantic Period, Classical Music
Excerpt from Essay :

European music: Baroque vs. Romantic and Classical music

Any non-contemporary orchestral music is often called 'classical' in a colloquial fashion. However, there are many varieties of music between the eras of the 15th century and our own besides what is technically associated with the classical period. Perhaps the most notable movement which laid the foundation for our own contemporary era of music is that of the Baroque period. Rather than naturalness, the Baroque stressed ornamentation, artificiality, and technique, including its use of the human voice. "Generally, the qualities most valued in the Baroque voice were agility, purity and clarity, even at the expense of the power which characterizes today's operatic voice" (Thornburgh 1). The predominant instruments besides the human voice were the harpsichord, violins, recorders, and trumpets, which gave Baroque music its unique sound.

Stylistically, Baroque music is notable for its use of the basso continuo and its intense, ornamental style. "The continuo, typically consisting of a harpsichord and a cello, provided the rhythmic and harmonic foundation of Baroque ensemble" (Thornburgh 1). Considerable leeway was given to musicians in terms of ornamentation or the "embellishment of the musical line, with devices such as trills, mordants and grace notes. Ornaments were rarely written out, and often were not even indicated, but simply left to the taste of the performer. Vibrato was considered an ornamental enhancement of a given note or musical moment, not the ubiquitous element of tone production which it has become today" (Thornburgh 1). The fact that these elements were not written out and the fact that the piano rather than the harpsichord is the dominant percussion instrument in modern orchestras is why there may be a very notable contrast between how Baroque music sounded to its contemporaries vs. how it sounds in modernity when reproduced by a 21st century orchestra.

The way in which the


Rather than an individual, expressive artist unpacking his or her emotions, the Baroque era stressed the need to give voice to 'pure' ideas and emotions. "Baroque musicians were not concerned with expressing their own feelings and emotions, rather they sought to describe with objectivity, feelings and emotions which were distinct from what they actually felt" (Thornburgh 1). The idea of complexity of thought and emotion was not lionized as a goal of the Baroque music -- instead, music took the form of singular movements designed to express a single emotion. Often, there would be significant pauses during movements to allow audience members to 'take in' the expressed emotions. "A distinctive feature of Baroque music is that each piece (or single movement within a multi-movement piece) limits itself to only one of the emotions. Baroque thematic development is thus quite different from the later Classical thematic development which juxtaposed themes of contrasting emotional content in the same piece" (Thornburgh 2).

The greatest composer of the Baroque period is widely considered to be Johann Sebastian Bach. The majority of Bach's music took the form of church cantatas. Cantatas manifested another notable feature of the Baroque era, namely the fusing of the sacred and secular themes and also styles of music. "One could perceive the cantata as a mini-unstaged opera" (Thornburgh 2). Handel, another notable composer of the period, was particularly noted for his oratorios, such as the Messiah, which were often performed in concert halls but had sacred themes. "The oratorios were the most operatic of all the sacred works, complete with narrative plots, several acts, real characters and implied action. Another major difference between sacred vocal works and Italian operas was the use of the chorus to heighten the drama and speak for the religious community" (Thornburgh 2). Bach did compose some secular…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Schmidt-Jones, Catherine. The Music of the Romantic Era. Connexions. 15 Feb. 2013

Swann, Jeffrey. "Classical and Romantic music: Part 1." 22 Jul 2014.

Thornburgh, E. "Baroque music: Part 1." 22 Jul 2014.

Cite this Document:

"Baroque And Romantic Music" (2014, July 22) Retrieved May 17, 2021, from

"Baroque And Romantic Music" 22 July 2014. Web.17 May. 2021. <>

"Baroque And Romantic Music", 22 July 2014, Accessed.17 May. 2021,

Related Documents
Romantic Period
Words: 2677 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Music Paper #: 43115330

Music-Romantic Period 'ROMANTICISM' is a concept that can be easily recognized but is probably just as difficult to define. Like all other movements, Romanticism also emerged as a reaction to general idea, practices, social norms and political problems of the time. The general concept of romanticism sees music as an expression of intimate and sublime emotions. The period that can be categorized as romantic varies but generally covers the decades from

Baroque Style and Culture the
Words: 730 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 93941941

Imagery and metaphor were extremely important in Baroque works, and sometimes metaphors became their own metaphors yet again. This poem's images are strong, such as "the iron gates of life," and they create an elaborate and memorable work that is truly Baroque in style. Included are many natural elements common in life, like birds, gardens, and even the sun, which are also elements that point to a Baroque, romantic

Music Appreciation Describe the Characteristics
Words: 4564 Length: 15 Pages Topic: Music Paper #: 10991504

In other words each music performance is different and the impulsiveness of each performance confirms the concept of indeterminate music. 6) Describe an Indonesian Gamelan. (Textbook p. 282-283) It said that Debussy, when he heard the Indonesian ensemble called gamelan was surprisingly delighted at its diverse and delicate timbers, and decided to use the elements in the impressionistic sound which he was working at developing. The gamelan, a distinctive Indonesian orchestra consisting

Music the Men Behind the
Words: 1613 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Music Paper #: 68993452

Suddenly Western Music no longer needed to follow all the old rules. Just as the abstract painters dispensed with the traditional canon of art at just the same time, so also men like Bartok and Stravinsky take a fresh look at what constituted good music. According to Bartok, the aesthetic success of this new homophonic-polyphonic music would depend upon the "harmonic entity" that results from the rise and fall of

Music Enjoyment Some of the
Words: 852 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Music Paper #: 85531004

From the research I know he was a ladies man. In Joan Peyser's book (The Memory of All That: The Life of George Gershwin) it is 1927 and Gershwin is discovered in bed with one of the attractive women from a show he and Harry Richman were working on. Caught with his shirt and pants still in his hand, Gershwin offered: "Mr. Richman, what can I say to you?

Music and Psychology the Power
Words: 4314 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Music Paper #: 57693571

It has been established that in fact the infant is aware of sound from the 24th week. " in the sonic foreground of this sound environment is what has been described within the literature as a 'rhythmic "swooshing" of the blood as it rushes through the placental vessels" (Collins and Kuck, 1990, p.24). Some of the most significant findings about the affect and importance of music on the human mind