Baroque Era

  • Period: 1567 to

    Claudio Monteverdi

    Monteverdi trained in the Renaissance style, but was also adept at composing more "modern" music. He grew in popularity and became a transitional figure from Renaissance to Baroque era music. His extant works were operas, masses, magnificats, vespers, motets, and 9 books of madrigals. In 1590, he became a court composer for the Duke of Mantua. He later became the choirmaster at St. Marks Cathedral in Venice. He composed his final opera, "The Coronation of Poppea", in 1642.
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    Francesca Caccini

    The first woman to compose operas. She, along with her parents and sister, worked for the Medici Family. She sang lead roles in several early operas, such as Peri's "Eurydice" at 13. She became the highest paid musica in Italy by 20. Very popular for her beautiful soprano voice and proficiency in all string instruments and harpsichord. Many of her pieces were published including 8 books of vocal music and many operas.
  • "Dafne"

    Considered the first opera; composed by Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri.
  • Functional Harmony & Tonality

    Functional Harmony & Tonality
    Major/Minor tonality system, standardized chords, and an understanding of tonality is introduced. Chords have their own functions, such as dominants, tonics, pre-dominants, etc.
  • "Euridice"

    First extant opera; composed by Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri
  • Equal Temperament Tuning

    Equal Temperament Tuning
    Introduced by Andreas Werckmeister, German organist.
    A adjusted tuning technique where all half steps are an equal distance apart. All steps of the octave are mistuned to increase the range of the harmonic possibilities that are available to the composer.
  • The Doctrine of Affections

    The Doctrine of Affections
    The Doctrine of Affections was a new Baroque idea focused on trying to arouse emotions (affects) in the listener, such as joy, sadness, and excitement, Pieces or large sections of pieces were build upon one affection.
  • Monody

    Monody was introduced and popularized around the 1600's to the 1640's. It was a sung melody (Italian text) with basso continuo. It was homophonic and termed the seconda practica (second practice). This is the first time in music history that homophonic melodies were favored in notation and in practice.
  • Concerto

    There are three types of concerto.
    Solo Concerto is an orchestral work for a solo instrument and orchestra. There are usually 3 movements with alternating ritornellos, solo sections, and a solo cadenza at the end of each movement.
    Concert Grosso is similar to group concerto, but the soloist is a small group of solo players, a concertino. Usually, there are no cadenzas.
    Ripeno Concerto has no small group. The entire ensemble act as one with different groups and instruments soloing throughout.
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    Fugue is both a form and a genre based on imitation. There is usually a subject, which is a central theme of strong character that pervades the entire fabric of the piece. In a fugue, the subject is imitated and passed around to all of the voices. The answers come from countersubjects, which is what makes up the remainder of the fugue.
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    Baroque Era

    The Baroque Era can be defined by a more free sound in harmonies, forms, and textures. In this era, polyphony and homophony were equally important. There was lots of ornamentation and everything was taken to the extremes in all forms of art. It was an age of opulence and excess. The interest in extremes made virtuosos extremely popular. A virtuoso being someone who is exceptionally talented or capable in a particular skill. Women had more opportunities to study and work in music.
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    Baroque Instrumentation

    In the Baroque era, instrumental music took on a new importance and was almost equal to vocal music. Strings were made of gut rather than steel, woodwind instruments were actually made of wood, and the trumpets /horns of the time did not have valves. The main keyboard instruments were organ, harpsichord, clavichord
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    Barbra Strozzi

    Born in Venice and adopted by a servant of Guilio Strozzi. She published 8 sets of songs, starting in 1644. Each of the songs were dedicated to different wealthy patrons. There was only one book of madrigals and one book of cantatas for solo voice and continuo. Did not write operas, but most of her works were dramatic cantatas, arias, and ariettas.
  • Opera (In Italy and France)

    Opera (In Italy and France)
    Introduced in the Baroque period by Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini, operas became much more popular. The first public opera theater opened in Venice in 1637, Teatro de San Cassiano. Operas contained arias, choruses, short instrumental, different affects, and pieces for transitions in the drama. Opera in Italy was very popular, specifically Claudio Monteverdi. The accompaniment was primarily basso continuo. France did not like Italian operas and began making waves in theatrical ballet.
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    Louis the 14th of France

    Louis the 14th was insanely wealthy and everything he owned was basically dripping in gold and ornamentation. He called himself the sun-king. He loved dancing and was an excellent dancer from the age 13; he was extremely proud of his legs and they can be seen in most of his photos. He believed that ballet demonstrated important qualities of a society: discipline, order, refinement, and restraint.
  • Arias

    Arias became the most desired and appreciated pieces in the 1640's. An Aria is an extended piece for a solo singer that has more elaboration and coherence than reciting. Arias are more song- like with a steady beat and tempo.
  • "The Coronation of Poppea"

    "The Coronation of Poppea"
    Composed by Claudio Monteverdi in 1642, when he was 75, and premiered in Venice. In the opera, the Roman Emperor, Nero, and Poppea are in love, but they are both married. Poppea is of a lower social class and is Nero's mistress. Nero banishes Ottone, Poppea's husband, and has his wife executed to be with Poppea. In the end, she is crowned queen, but ends up being kicked to death by Nero within 3 years of his coronation.
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    Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

    Biber was a Bohemian-Austrian violinist and composer of Catholic sacred music, violin sonatas, and ensemble music. He was one of the most important composers for violin, especially in the early years of the violin. He invented a new technique of playing violins that allowed him to easily reach 6th and 7th positions, play double stops and polyphony, and experiment with scoedatura.
  • Cantatas

    Mid-Baroque Italian cantatas are usually secular and composed for 1 or 2 singers with basso continuo, and potentially a small string ensemble. Often the text in cantatas are about love and can be quite suggestive; they were meant as entertainment.
  • "L'astratto"

    L'astratto (The Distracted One) was a cantata produced by Strozzi in 1650. The affection this song is depicting is primarily sorrow and sadness. It has a Basso Continuo accompaniment, that includes theorbo and harpsichord. Stozzi is using text painting to highlight the chromaticism and the chromaticism to give some meaning to the text.
  • Sonata

    A sonata is a chamber piece for a solo instrument and keyboard or solo keyboard; the first were for violin. There are two types of solo sonatas. Sonata da camera is a sonata for a chamber or room and is usually a group of stylized dances. Sonata da chiesa is a church sonata that has a more serious tone. contrapuntal texture, and four movements arranged SFSF. There is also a style of trio sonata with two treble lines and basso continuo. Arcangelo Coreli is credited as the master of sonata.
  • "The Ecstasy of Saint Therese"

    "The Ecstasy of Saint Therese"
    A marble statue carved by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, located in the Capella Cornaro in Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. This statue is a good example of the detail and ornamentation of the baroque aesthetic. The way the fabric is detailed and so extremely intricate shows how important ornamentation was in the Baroque Era.
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    Henry Purcell

    Purcell was an English singer, organist, and composer of instrumental and vocal music. He ended up working in the court of Charles II when stage plays were made allowed, again. Purcell assimilated different musical styles, like Italian operatic, grand aspects of French music, and lyrical melody of English music.
  • Opera (In England)

    Opera (In England)
    During the Commonwealth (1649-60) stages plays were forbidden in England, because the Puritans thought theater was an invention "of the devil", as they did with most of the arts in this time. Composers in England began setting the plays to music. In August 1660, Charles II issued patents for two companies of players, theatre troupes, and performances immediately began. Masques were introduced as a type of theatrical entertainment that combined instrumental music with poetry and dance.
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    Alessandri Scarlatti

    The father of keyboard virtuoso, Domenico Scarlatti. He toucht in Naples and helped his students create a new classical style. His death basically marks the end of the Baroque era.
  • First Ever Blood Transfusion

    First Ever Blood Transfusion
    On June 15, 1667, French physician Jean-Bapsitse Denys performed the first blood transfusion. An unnamed 15 year old boy was suffering from blood loss, due to an excess of blood letting. He used the blood of a sheep and accounts say that the boy survived. It was an extremely risky procedure considering that sheep's blood and human blood are not compatible, but the sheer quantity of blood saved the boy's life.
  • Baroque Suite

    Baroque Suite
    A Baroque set of dances, usually in the same key, but contrasting in character. They could be created for chamber, orchestral ensembles, or solo players. They are usually written in binary form (A B), ternary form (A B A), with a potential for repetition. Popular suite composers were Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713) and François Couperin (1668-1733),
  • "Sonata No. 1"

    "Sonata No. 1"
    Sonata No. 1 by Biber is a violin sonata. The opening Praeludium is for violin and basso continuo. The violin part uses a virtuosic style similar to solo vocal singing with a melodic line that allows the soloist to freely express emotions. There is embellishment that is characteristic of the baroque style. The second section uses variations on a repeating bass line and the finale lets the violinist show their virtuosity. The separate movements of the piece were later developments.
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    Antonio Vivaldi

    Also called the "red priest", Vivaldi was a music director at the Pieta, an orphanage for Venetian girls. He composed an abundance of sacred music, instrumental works, operas, and nearly 800 concertos. Considered the greatest master of the Baroque concerto. He was very popular in the 1720's, but fell poor following the death of Charles VI. He died soon after.
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    Georg Philip Teleman

    Teleman was an extremely famous German composer who composed more than 125 orchestral studies. He published a collection called "Tafelmusik" (1733) and helped establish the French-style orchestral suite in Germany. He was friends with many other prolific figures such as J.S. Bach and Carl Philip Emanuel.
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    J.S. Bach

    Bach is a very famous composer, one of the most skilled baroque musicians, and considered the master of the fugue. Bach uses contrapuntal technique in innovative ways. He was primarily responsible for the education of the boys in the St. Thomas school, essentially a disciplinary school. He was also responsible for the music in the towns 4 churches: St. Nicholas, St. Thomas, St. Matthew, and St. Peters. He went blind after a cataract surgery and was mostly blind until the end of his life.
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    George Friedrich Handel

    Handel was a German born composer living in England writing Italian music. He was very famous for his operas and orchestral suites, namely "Music for the Royal Fireworks" (1749) and "Water Music" (1717). He was very influential on the baroque style of music and the development of opera.
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    Domenico Scarlatti

    D. Scarlatti was a keyboard virtuoso who wrote over 500 sonatas for harpsichord, operas, cantatas, and keyboard exercises. He served Portuguese and Spanish royal families and was known for his progressive, more modern style.
  • Passacaglia and Chaconne

    Passacaglia and Chaconne
    Passacaglia is a baroque from that uses the principle of the ground bass. The bass melody is in a triple meter, usually 4 to 8 meters long with a constantly repeated theme. Chaconne is related to the passacaglia. It has a harmonic progression repeated instead of a regular melody.
  • Piano Invented

    Piano Invented
    Bartolomeo Cristofori invented what we know today as the piano, but then as the pianoforte, in 1709.
  • "Water Music"

    "Water Music"
    Handel's Water Music was performed on the Thames River in London for a royal party. It was written in French (aristocratic language) and combined French and Italian dances,
  • "The Art of Fugue"

    "The Art of Fugue"
    "The Art of Fugue" is a collection by Bach that he wrote near the end of his life, which was not finished or published until after his death. It contains 14 fugues and 4 canons, heavy use of imitative polyphony, and innovative contrapuntal technique.