640px 1710 15 de matteis triumph of the immaculate anagoria

Baroque Period

  • Period: 1567 to

    Claudio Monteverdi

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

    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 many operas in Peri's "Eurydice" at 13. She became the highest paid musica in Italy by 20. She was very popular for her beautiful soprano voice and talent with all string instruments and harpsichord. Many of her pieces were published including 8 books of vocal music and many operas. Her only surviving work is "La liberazione di Ruggiero" (1625).
  • "Dafne"

    Dafne is considered to be the first opera; composed by Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri. The original manuscript is lost to time, but a version composed by Ottavio Rinuccini is what is currently performed. Though we acknowledge this loss, it is believed that 2 of the 6 fragments are surviving from the original composition.
  • 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.
  • Fugue

    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. A subject is like the theme and in a fugue, several variations are made in comparison to the theme. 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.
  • Monody

    Monody was introduced in the 1600's and popularized throughout the 1640's. It is a sung melody in 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.
  • "Euridice"

    Considered to be the first extant opera; composed by Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri
    In "Euridice", Orpheus vows to rescue Eurydice from Hades in the underworld. He makes a long and trial some journey, but eventually is able to save Euridice. The only deal for Orpheus is that he must walk back the way he came entirely, without looking behind him to check in her. There are a few different endings: in one he looks and she dies, in one they marry, and in some they marry but are miserable.
  • 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 happiness, sadness, or longing. Pieces or large sections of pieces were build upon one affection. In some cases, separate sections would be specifically different affects.
  • Temperament Tuning

    Temperament Tuning
    An 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.
  • Functional Harmony & Tonality

    Functional Harmony & Tonality
    Understanding of tonality, Major/Minor tonality system, and standardized chords are introduced. Chords have their own functions, such as dominants, pre-dominants, tonic, etc.
  • Period: to

    Instruments in the Baroque Era

    In the Baroque era, instrumental music took on a new importance and was almost equal to vocal music. Woodwind instruments were actually made of wood, strings were made of gut rather than steel, and the trumpets /horns of the time did not have valves. The main keyboard instruments were organ, harpsichord, clavichord. Many instruments are improved upon and new instruments are invented like the pianoforte.
  • Period: to

    Baroque Era

    The Baroque Era can be characterized by a more free sound in harmonies, forms, and textures. In this time, polyphony and homophony were equally important. There was heavy ornamentation with all detail and everything being taken to the extremes in all forms of art; an age of excess and opulence. The interest in extremes made virtuosos extremely popular. A virtuoso is someone who is exceptionally talented in a particular skill. Women had more opportunities to study and work in music, overall.
  • Period: to

    Barbra Strozzi

    Barbra Strozzi was a Venetian orphan, adopted by a servant of Guilio Strozzi. Much of her music was composed for pay and dedicated to others. She published 8 sets of songs, starting in 1644. Each of the collections 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.
  • First Flintlock

    First Flintlock
    The first flintlock pistol, as it survives today, was produced in 1630. The term flintlock refers to any firearm that uses a flint ignition striking system, these were first seem in Western Europe around 1630.
  • Italian and French Opera

    Italian and French Opera
    Operas became much more popular in Italy, especially under the direction of Peri and Caccini. The first public opera theater opened in Venice in 1637, Teatro de San Cassiano. Operas contained arias, short instrumental pieces, choruses, different affects, and short 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 developing their own theatrical ballet.
  • Period: to

    Louis the 14th of France

    King Louis the 14th of France (1638-1715), also known as the sun-king, was an extremely young king and his reign went from 1643-1715 when he died. Louis the 14th was unfathomably wealthy and everything he owned was covered in gold and ornamented. He was an excellent dancer from the age 13 and was so proud of his dancer's legs that 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 quickly became one the most desired and appreciated genres 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.They tend to run long and are sometimes repetitive.
  • "The Coronation of Poppea"

    "The Coronation of Poppea"
    Composed by 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. Unfortunately, Poppea is of a lower social class, a courtesan, 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., which is not in the opera, but is understood.
  • Period: to


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

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

    Mid-Baroque Italian cantatas are usually secular and composed for 1 or 2 singers with basso continuo, potentially with a small string ensemble. Often the text in cantatas are about love and can be quite suggestive or inertly sexual; they were meant as entertainment.
  • "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 an example of the detail and ornamentation of the baroque aesthetic, especially in art. The way the fabric appears to be soft and in motion shows how important ornamentation was in the baroque era.
  • Period: to

    Henry Purcell

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

    English Opera
    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. This triggered the resurgence of English opera.
  • Period: to

    Alessandro Scarlatti

    The father of keyboard virtuoso, Domenico Scarlatti. He taught in Naples and many of his students went on to create the new classical style. His death basically marks the end of the Baroque era. His popular works were pieces such as Griselda (1701) and Mitridate Eupatore (1707).
  • Baroque Suite

    Baroque Suite
    A Baroque suite is a Baroque set of dances, in contrasting in character, but usually in the same key. They could be created for chamber, orchestral ensembles, or solo players. They are usually written in binary form (AB), ternary form (ABA), 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 (Prelude) 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 and the embellishment 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.
  • Period: to

    Antonio Vivaldi

    Also called the "red priest" for his red hair, Vivaldi was a music director at the Pieta, an orphanage for girls in Venice. 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.
  • Period: to

    Georg Philip Teleman

    Teleman was an extremely famous and prolific 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.
  • Period: to

    Johann Sebastian Bach

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

    G.F. Handel

    George Freidrich Handel was a German born composer living in England writing Italian music. He was very famous for his operas and orchestral suites, specifically "Water Music" (1717). He was very influential on the baroque style of music and the development of opera. Handel's pieces are still very popular today.
  • Period: to

    Domenico Scarlatti

    D. Scarlatti was a brilliant 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. His music for guitar and voice is still popular in collegiate repertoire, today.
  • Passacaglia

    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 a form related to the passacaglia. It has a harmonic progression repeated instead of a regular, ground bass melody.
  • Pianoforte Invented

    Pianoforte Invented
    Bartolomeo Cristofori invented what we call the Piano today, but in Italy at this time was called Pianoforte.
  • "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. It could be heart across the water and by people on the street. This performance of "Water Music" was important to Handel's professional career and legacy.
  • Mercury Thermometer Invented

    Mercury Thermometer Invented
    The first mercury thermometer was invented in 1724 by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. It consisted of a bulb containing mercury (which is toxic) and a narrow glass tube with measurements. This invention and inventor is one of the reasons we calculate temperature in Fahrenheit.
  • "The Art of Fugue"

    "The Art of Fugue"
    The Art of Fugue" is a collection by Bach that he wrote as he approached death. It was actually unfinished and not released, until after his death. It contains 14 fugues and 4 canons, innovative contrapuntal techniques and imitative polyphony, which is characteristic of the style of Fugue, but is made even more impressive by Bach's talent in Fugue composition.