The members were well-known composers and singers; it was a gathering of professionals, with a few gifted amateurs including William Hogarth ; their programs always included Renaissance sacred music and madrigals, mostly by Italian composers. Their concerts continued into the middle of the nineteenth century. Gottfried Van Swieten, the personal physician to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, was also director of the Imperial Library and had a variety of other bureaucratic posts.
Van Swieten was a lover of music, and especially of the works of Bach and Handel, which he wanted to present to a wider Viennese public. Van Swieten also organized larger concerts, through his Society of the Associated Gesellschaft der Associirten , giving full-scale performances of Handel oratorios in princely palaces, or the grand Imperial Library itself, or in the Burgtheater.
The performance was given in the Berlin Singakademie, which Mendelssohn knew well, having studied there and performed in the chorus. Beginning in nineteenth-century Germany, a desire to return to the true, authentic, appropriate music of the Roman Catholic Church produced a considerable revival of interest in the music of Palestrina as the gold standard for sacred music. His mother had given him a manuscript score of the work as a Christmas present in , and he had studied the music from the age of fourteen. Wind instruments were placed at the back and extended outside three open doors.
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Mendelssohn stood between the choirs, with his back to one of them, and played on a piano from time to time; his conducting was occasional—he might start a section, and then stop gesturing once it was going well. Perhaps in the Bach revival there is also a sense of German pride at a time of rising nationalism. The concerts were long, and often not well performed, but they were well attended, and indicate that there was a certain curiosity about earlier music— 14 which the audience evidently did not know in advance.
So the revival of early music is no new thing. These and other moments in the past, however, took place at times that had in common the fact that all music was contemporary music; audiences and performers preferred new music to old. This is not generally the case nowadays—we prefer music we already know, and we have a wide historical and cultural panorama from which to choose.
We tend to group early music in broad historical periods: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque. Indeed, the nineteenth century, as it recedes into the past, is rapidly becoming the subject of early-music revivals. Period-instrument orchestras now play not only Beethoven but also Brahms and Mahler. All music can be early music given enough time.
In our own time, the wide choice of music we have makes early music only one of many possibilities that we can choose instead of contemporary art music. We do not normally think of our symphony orchestras as early-music ensembles, even though they play mostly music of the past.
The early-music revival is self-consciously archaizing, in that it senses a gap, rather than a continuity, with the past. First, because the revival of Gregorian chant in the nineteenth century went along with the Romantic revival of Gothic architecture; and chant has been with us ever since, either as part of Roman Catholic worship or, increasingly, as concert music.
And last, because in the recent revival of earlier repertories, Renaissance and Baroque music were more interesting, and perhaps more accessible, to those interested in earlier repertories. There are many repertories of medieval music, most of them vocal. Chant 2. As a choir sings the leader points to the notes; the characteristic tapping on the shoulder to keep the rhythm is seen in many medieval illustrations. Chant is the only repertory of Western music that is present throughout all periods of our musical history. It has never gone away, and so in a sense it is not early music at all, since it has a continuous and uninterrupted tradition.
But it is in the nineteenth century that a sort of revival began, as churchmen and scholars sought to understand the early-medieval roots of this ancient song. Early Music The performance of chant is a complicated business, because the chant itself, and the ways of performing it, have changed considerably over the centuries. The various ways in which chant was performed in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque, and modern eras is a remarkable panorama of changing style and taste. Consider that the early notations of chant are intended to show the shape of the melodic line and some of its performance details, without specifying what the notes are or what their rhythm is.
The notation we use today is predicated on the two factors that the earliest notation leaves out—the pitch and the duration; in modern notation, the performance nuances are either left out or added around the edges—indications of tempo, loudness, and the like. But the early chant notation is designed to remind rather than specify, and it includes some details we will never fully understand. We will never know, and by the twelfth century some of these elegant performance-oriented signs there are others also had disappeared in favor of uniform single pitches.
A sort of early-music revival of chant took place at the monastery of Solesmes, established in an ancient priory in the s. The Chant performance in nineteenth-century Paris Hector Berlioz was acquainted with Gregorian chant, and in he quoted the Dies irae from the Requiem Mass in his Symphonie fantastique. But that edition was a much revised and altered version of Gregorian chant, designed to late-Renaissance tastes, and by the time of Berlioz it is highly unlikely that any ninth-century Aurelian would recognize what was sung in Parisian churches as the same Gregorian chant.
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Even though Gregorian chant is not much used today in the Catholic Church, there is now a thriving business in recordings and performances of chant. As concert music, as occasional music for special events, as music to relax to in a bathtub, chant has become a sort of musical symbol of the Middle Ages, and it has a life as concert music entirely divorced from its original purpose in the context of Christian worship.
And yet the creative spirits of the later Middle Ages found ways to express their own artistic urges in various kinds of embellishments of the chant that allowed the chant to remain in some sense the same, while at the same time bearing new artistic expressions. We might consider these as horizontal and vertical embellishments; horizontal means that the embellishments are heard alongside the chant, before it as introductions, or during it as interpolations, and vertical means that the embellishments are heard at the same time as the chant.
One or more times in the course of the chant, the cantor may interpolate further musical commentaries, and the choir simply pauses in its performance to hear the trope. It seemed perfectly suitable to chop up the chant into sections, provided that the whole chant eventually gets sung. One of the things that sets Western music apart from most other musical cultures is the extent to which we cultivate polyphony— that is, more than one note at a time. We have harmony, counterpoint, many-voice choirs, chord-playing instruments guitars, keyboards, organs , and we take it all for granted.
But the phenomenon is not to be found elsewhere; most other musical cultures cultivate a melodic and rhythmic complexity think of the music of South India, for example that far exceeds what we practice in the West: we have given ourselves over to the blandishments of harmony. Not many of them get performed, but perhaps there will be a vogue for tropes in the future. We have a few notated examples of experiments of this kind, but it is easy to imagine that a lot of such singing never got written down.
Early Music What did get written is some highly developed repertories of polyphonic versions of Gregorian chant—music where the chant is sung, and at the same time one or more additional melodies are sung, in such a way that the chant has a sort of harmonic halo around it. One of the largest such repertories comes from the cathedral of Winchester in the eleventh century, in a form that cannot quite be deciphered; there are hundreds of chants, each of which has a second voice that sings the same words at the same time, but using different notes.
A big breakthrough comes with the idea that you can sing more than one note for every note of the chant. When there was one note in the second voice for every note of the original chant—punctus contra punctus, or counterpoint—there were few problems of coordination: the chant got sung in the usual way, and the additional voice simply adopted the rhythm already well known from the chant.
But when you have several notes in the additional voice clearly you cannot alter the chant itself, or it will no longer be the chant , how does the chant singer know when to change notes? Either he will have to prolong some notes to accommodate the many notes in the other voice, or the other singer will have to go very fast when he has many notes, and slower when he has fewer. What is needed is a system of notating rhythm, and that is just what was invented.
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The great repertory of polyphonic music from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is one of the monuments of Western civilization, like the great cathedral in which it was sung. These pieces, called organa, were 22 settings of chant, in which the choir sings the chant in unison, and, during the parts of the chant normally sung by a soloist, one or more additional voices accompany the original chant. In these pieces there are often many, many notes sung by the added voice or voices for every note of the chant, with the result that the notes of the chant are sometimes protracted to great length— there might be a hundred notes in each of two voices accompanying a single note of the chant.
The result is, obviously, that the chant is barely recognizable—it becomes a series of very long notes, a foundation on which to erect a new and elaborate musical structure. Curiously to us, perhaps, it still seems that the chant is considered as being appropriately performed, even when it is unrecognizable to human ears—that is, after all, not its destination.
Indeed, some of these discant sections of organum became favorite source material for a sort of poetic practice of adding words to these long strings of notes in the added voice or voices. These words, originally of a sacred nature commenting on the subject of the chant, are rather like tropes, and could perhaps even be sung in the liturgy as part of the performance of the organum. But before long the same musical sections, extracted from the liturgy and cultivated as an art form, began to appear as short pieces of polyphony with Latin or, increasingly, French words with amorous texts; they were no longer suitable for church even though they were originally based on plainsong.
The motet, as a genre, was a favorite musical and literary occupation of the thirteenth 23 Repertories: Medieval Sometimes in the course of an organum the chant speeds up, and the resulting lively discant style—in which all voices move in lively rhythm—became the source of a great deal of later music, written in imitation of those sections of church organa. But in the fourteenth century the motet became a major work, based still on a chant voice, but extending in size and complexity; such pieces were often written to commemorate political occasions or persons.
Song Early Music People have always sung songs, but the only songs we have from the Middle Ages are those that somebody chose to write down. There is surely a lot missing. But what we do have is impressive in its beauty and variety. Songs in every European language survive. There are Latin songs, some by students and other literate clerical folk at play—like the Carmina burana, a collection of songs carmina in a manuscript now at the monastery of Beuren burana ; extracts from its texts were formed into a choral work by the twentieth-century composer Carl Orff. There are songs cantigas in Old Galician; sacred laude in Italian, and others.
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Almost all the poetry of the medieval vernacular songs is strophic, and survives either in manuscripts of poetry alone or in sources that provide music. Scholars have long argued, and indeed fought duels, over what the rhythm of medieval song was like, and it is a question whose answer will probably never be found. The songs of Guillaume de Machaut in France, and of Jacopo da Bologna, Francesco usually called Landini, and others, in Italy, are a marvelous repertory of recoverable music.
Repertories: Medieval 3. An illustration from a Dutch astrological treatise shows a variety of medieval instruments: vielle, tambourine with a snare , citole, hurdy-gurdy, and harp. The harp strings are incorrectly drawn; they should run from the pegs to the soundboard, not to the column. The answer, surely, is that instrumental music was not normally written down.
There are no music stands in any of those pictures. We do have a few instrumental pieces: a small group of Italian dances, mostly called istampitta or saltarello, and a small group of French dances, mostly called estampie. Interestingly, each group is written in a different manuscript of songs, by not-tooaccomplished hands in blank spaces in an earlier manuscript. They are essentially our only surviving dance music, and, except for a handful of keyboard pieces, and for a few isolated pieces and snippets that can be recovered from parts of motets and songs that may have been based on instrumental models, they are our only surviving medieval instrumental music.
Whether they are typical we will probably never know, but they are marvelous pieces, and without them modern medieval performing groups might be at a loss for anything to play. The music is monophonic, with rhythm clearly indicated; they are pieces, especially the Italian ones, that require real virtuosity to perform. On the other hand, the lack of information gives a very wide latitude for experimentation in which taste, rather than research, can be the only arbiter of success.
And what about the repertory of monophonic songs? There are so many pictures of singers with instruments, and so many references to composers and singers accompanying themselves on instruments, that it is hard to avoid trying to provide some sort of instrumental accompaniment or interlude; but the musical sources provide only a vocal melody in chant notation. From this, somehow, an instrumental accompaniment needs to be devised. Perhaps by providing some sort of drone?
Perhaps by using bits of the melody as introductions and interludes? Perhaps by playing on the instrument exactly what is being sung? Perhaps by improvising some sort of polyphonic instrumental accompaniment? All these methods, in various combinations, have been tried, with the result that an amazing variety of solutions can be derived from the same song. Probably the most 27 Repertories: Medieval There are enormous problems: how do we perform the great organa of the Notre Dame school? Can anybody really sing the long notes of the chant while soloists sing the elaborate upper voices?
Should we have several singers for the chant, staggering their breathing so that the note seems continuous? Should we add an instrument the pieces are, after all, called organum? Occasionally we get literary information that helps with performance. Some performers have sought inspiration in living traditions of monophonic song, in North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and elsewhere; perhaps such traditions are continuations of centuries-old performing styles.
The polyphonic songs of the fourteenth century present new issues. The Italian songs are sometimes in two voices, each of which has the same words—they can conveniently be performed by two singers.
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But what about the songs in three voices, where one of them lacks words; or the songs of Machaut in two or three voices of which only one has words? Are we to understand that the non-texted voices are to be played on instruments? Which instruments? The question of making it alive for modern hearers is an important challenge. The more interesting question—and the real matter of authenticity—is whether this modern performance would be recognizable and pleasurable to a medieval audience.
That, alas, we will never know. We have modern audiences, and it is at least important to please them. It is not really a rebirth of anything, but it is a period whose music has a sort of Apollonian balance; a quality found also in Renaissance visual art. This is the period of the great composers of polyphonic vocal music: Guillaume Dufay, Josquin Des Pres, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina—all of them churchmen, at a time when church music was at the cutting edge of musical style not so true today.
Masses and motets led the way for composers of other music, but all of these composers were also creators of secular song. By the s, the French printer Pierre Attaingnant had developed a means of single-impression printing in which 30 each note is provided with its own section of staff-lines. And through the sixteenth century a rising tide of printed music, sacred and secular, provides us a record of the range and extent of Renaissance music.
It is the professional ensembles, and not the church choirs, who perform and record the majority of the vocal music of the Renaissance.
Most of these ensembles are not choirs per se, but ensembles of solo voices who most often sing the music with a single voice on each part. This seems, in fact, to be closer to the performance practice of most Renaissance performances than the treble-heavy cathedral choirs or the large university or church choirs of today. Much remains to be learned about the personnel 31 Repertories: Renaissance The sacred music of the Renaissance has never really left the repertories of church choirs.
The Cecilian movement of the nineteenth century did a great deal to restore this music to the choral forces of cathedrals and major churches, and the cathedral and collegiate choirs of Great Britain have kept the tradition of Tudor church music alive in their enduring choral traditions. In a similar way, church organists have a continuing tradition of performing early music.
But it is really the music of the late Renaissance—the music of Palestrina, Lassus, Byrd, Victoria, and many others—that is what we know and retain in our choral repertories. An engraving of a papal ceremony in the Sistine Chapel by Etienne Duperac ; detail. The papal choir, gathered around a lectern, sings from the balcony inside the choir screen on the right wall. Sacred vocal music consists of masses and motets, with a few particular genres hymns, sequences that sometimes are also subsumed under the category of motet. It is clearly related to the medieval practice of embellishing the chant with additional voices while leaving the chant intact in one of the voices.
Josquin has two masses based on canons. Renaissance motets are sacred works based on Latin texts other than those of the Mass. But for these composers the model is usually a polyphonic piece, a song, a motet, or a movement of a mass. The composer of the new work may use aspects of the model—its motives, its sequence of 35 Repertories: Renaissance Imitation, familiar to us now from works of composers ranging from Josquin to Bach, Handel, and many others, is one of the chief contributions of Renaissance style.
There may then be a cadence, concluding a point of imitation. Or one of the voices may begin a new motive, imitated in turn by the others, probably in a different order this time, to make a second point of imitation. It also provides a sort of guarantee of the equality of the voices, since they all participate in the imitation. Variety of texture is provided by varying the number of voices; by providing sections in non-imitative counterpoint, or in homophonic style; by varying the imitation—imitation in pairs of voices, variation in the nature of the motive itself.
Pre-eminent composers of sacred music in this imitative style include Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria, and Lassus: the composers whose music is often thought to represent the apogee of Renaissance church music. Secular music Early Music Not all Renaissance music was sacred. Songs, instrumental music for ensembles, and for solo keyboard or lute, account for the great richness and variety of genres and styles of secular music. Vocal music for ensemble reached a remarkable high point in the Italian madrigal, which sought to give musical expression to poetry of the highest order.
The various kinds of expression, from general emotions grief, love through individual descriptive details birdsong, ripples, etc. English-speakers will probably never fully come to appreciate the combination of literary and musical art that reached this zenith for Italians; but the madrigal was imported into England, and many examples were written there, inspired by Italian models.
Madrigal composers of the early sixteenth century were northerners working in Italy: Arcadelt, Verdelot, Willaert, Rore, and the younger Wert; later madrigalists were mostly native Italians: Andrea Gabrieli, Marenzio, Monteverdi, and the chromatically and criminally audacious Gesualdo. The boundary between vocal and instrumental music was not so strict as we sometimes imagine. Music historians like to point out 37 Repertories: Renaissance Madrigals are part-songs for groups of individual singers, and they are cultivated by the singers themselves, perhaps with a small audience; it is participatory music, available to any well-educated gentleman or lady.
Renaissance instruments tend to perform in groups of like sound, a whole range of viols, for example, or recorders, from sopranino to contrabass, which can perform like a group of singers; such a group, or consort, could take on any vocal music that is within the ranges of the instruments. Consorts of like instruments seem to have been the norm, rather like choirs of voices, but a household in which everyone played a different instrument could simply play whatever music was at hand, using the available musicians and their instruments.
Many songs survive with lute accompaniments; sometimes these are newly composed, but often they are arrangements of madrigals, motets, or other 38 5. One of many plates from Michael Praetorius, Syntagma musicum , which includes a Theatrum Instrumentorum theater of instruments. These detailed illustrations give valuable information about instruments of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
This plate shows trombones, cornetti, and trumpets. It is an easy enough matter to create such arrangements on the spot: a consort might be formed to convert a motet or a madrigal into a song by having one of its voices sung and the others performed instrumentally. The solo instrumental music of the Renaissance is a great and little-played treasure house of music for organ, harpsichord, and lute, and occasionally for solo melody instruments. The queen of instruments, and the instrument present in every Renaissance household, was the lute.
There is an enormous amount of very artful and intricate music for lute, and the few lutenists in the world capable of playing it are worth seeking out and hearing. The lute is not very loud, and so it is not a candidate for Carnegie Hall. It is an intimate instrument, perfect for the player himself, or for a very few listeners, or for accompanying a singer the volume of the lute may well say something about how singing technique worked in Renaissance music.
The surviving music for the lute is not all of this exquisite quality; there are many arrangements of vocal music, many of them skillfully done; lots of variations, dance pieces, and song accompaniments. And there is music for beginners; everybody learned to play the lute. Music for harpsichord and other keyed instruments spinet, virginal is in many ways like lute music you could even posit that a harpsichord is a mechanized lute , in that it consists of many intabulations of vocal music, lots of variations and dances, and a few pieces composed out of the fancy as opposed to being based on something—a song, a tune for variations, a dance rhythm.
Music for organ naturally includes a good deal of music for liturgical use, often based on Gregorian chant melodies. Improvised music The music mentioned so far consists of the great repertories of vocal and instrumental music distributed by means of written copies and, in the sixteenth century, by means of the printing press.
There is, however, a large body of Renaissance music that was never written down, because it was improvised on the spot. This music is of course lost to us, but it was an important part of the music heard, and we have some hints of how it was done. It is one of the great challenges facing modern performers to interpret and re-invigorate these important traditions. Three examples will have to serve for many. In a manuscript book of organ music called the Buxheimer Organ Book now in Munich , there is a great deal of music for 41 Repertories: Renaissance The level of virtuosity in some of this music is very high.
The Fundamentum is a progressive textbook on how to improvise at the organ. Starting with what to do when the chant moves up one note, it progresses to what to do when the chant moves up a third, a fourth, and so forth. Then down one note, down a third, and the like. The idea is that you can learn to improvise an organ piece using any melody as a basis if you learn the simple rules. There are in fact several versions of the Fundamentum, which must represent different stages in the teachings of this blind master—who must have dictated the various versions to different students.
It consists of a treatise on how to dance the stylish dance of the time, the basse danse, along with some music for dancing. The music, though, is odd. As it happens, these melodies, or tenors, are meant to be the foundation for the dance each note is the same length and 43 Early Music corresponds to a choreographic unit , and also the foundation for a polyphonic performance of dance music. Musicians were expected to produce a lively accompanying part while a fellow instrumentalist performed the tenor.
There are many pictures of instrumental ensembles consisting of a trombone or perhaps a slide trumpet and one or two shawms loud, double-reed instruments playing music without music stands! In some of these pictures only one of the shawm players is playing. It seems that the alto shawm plays the tenor, and the shawm and the brass instrument provide counterpoints, one pausing for breath when the other player takes over. Occasionally the two players may perform simultaneously, especially perhaps if they are very skilled.
Fortunately there survive a few examples of this music, in which a tenor in even notes—a tenor that corresponds to one of those in the Thoulouze book—is accompanied by one or two additional voices; these upper voices sometimes take turns, sometimes play together, but always have the same meter and rhythm—that of the dance itself. These few written pieces give us a valuable window onto a largely unwritten practice. It is clear that the instrumentalists for the basse danse do more or less what Conrad Paumann suggests: take a long-note melody and provide impromptu additional voices.
There are other sources of information about the basse dance— including a manuscript for the Burgundian court written on black parchment with gold and silver ink. The basse danse sometimes paired with a livelier dance, about which we know less was danced all over Europe, and traces of it are found in Germany, Spain, England, Italy, and elsewhere. Both the organ and basse-danse improvisations are concerned with adding additional melodies to a pre-existent chant or tune.
There is another kind of Renaissance improvisation, very much akin to these in some ways, which is a system for making virtuoso instrumental music out of vocal music, but in this case the player 44 takes an original vocal line and embellishes it by making many small notes for longer notes of the original melody. Some such virtuoso pieces exist in the written literature for lute, harpsichord, and organ, and mark the level of virtuosity that could be expected from the best players; but this virtuosity is not so readily seen in the literature for solo melody instruments—except as it is hinted at in this series of treatises on improvisation.
It must have been a thrilling thing to hear a favorite song transformed in real time into an amazingly dazzling recorder solo. Early Music Performing Renaissance music Renaissance music has a particular importance to the modern early-music revival. The perception of Renaissance music as participatory, the idea that there is a bridge between high and low culture, and the idea that music is accessible to all, are values that were important in this revival during the s and s.
The Lute Society in the United Kingdom, the American Recorder Society, the Viola da Gamba Society of America, and their counterparts in other countries have done much to assure a continuing interest in the consort music of the Renaissance, and in the performance of vocal part-music on instruments. The instruments used by modern amateur players to play Renaissance music are more or less Baroque instruments. Modern 46 recorders, too—especially the remarkably good plastic ones—are mostly versions of seventeenth- or eighteenth-century models; Renaissance recorders have a different bore meaning that these instruments are cylindrical rather than conical, as are Baroque instruments , and are not usually jointed.
There are some modern virtuosi on cornetto—likened by Marin Mersenne to a ray of sunlight in a darkened cathedral, and by others as the instrument nearest to the human voice—and there are a few ensembles specializing in loud-band music shawms are very loud double-reed instruments. These give us something of the idea of what a Renaissance town band might have sounded like, or the kind of instrumental doubling or instrumental interludes to be found in some of the late-Renaissance works of church music by Giovanni Gabrieli, Monteverdi, and others.
In our time we have the good fortune to be able to enjoy Renaissance music in the way it was experienced in its own time: 47 Repertories: Renaissance Other instruments are popular, too, among players of Renaissance instrumental music. Early Music from the Chapel Royal to the private household, the distance between professional and amateur, and the difference between their musics, was not so great that those who are listeners now might not be participants tomorrow.
We too have splendid professional ensembles, and a thriving culture of individual participation. The creation of opera was almost inevitable in an age that was so concerned with the expression of affective feelings, with heightened speech as a means of communicating passion. From Monteverdi to Handel, composers were in one way or another concerned largely with dramatic music; and even those who, like Bach, were not composers of opera, were nevertheless imbued with the rhetoric of the opera house.
Opera houses were the palaces of the people. In an age when Versailles was the model of a princely house, the creation of a public drama—for a paying audience—allowed for a kind of democratization of music that is surprising in the context of a time when a great deal of music was supported by aristocratic patronage. Princes had orchestras, some even had their own opera houses; and public concert rooms were very rare in the period. The church and the opera house were the most accessible venues for music.
We admire the splendid festivals at Versailles, but we are more likely to have had access to the public opera houses of most of the cities of Europe. Singing, dancing, and orchestral music are all available at the opera; and they were all translated for domestic use into cantatas, 49 dance music of all kinds for the ballroom, and chamber music; the styles are similar, but the performing forces vary with the venue.
A concerto by Vivaldi, a cantata by Bach, a harpsichord piece by Rameau, all share in the drama, the rhetoric, the passion of the stage. The characteristics, and the forms, of opera are so pervasive in Baroque music that even those listeners who like only harpsichord music, or Bach concertos, or Handel oratorios, are listening to music affected by the dramatic and formal aspects of Baroque opera. Baroque musical shapes There are some essential characteristics of almost all Baroque music that give it its characteristic, almost instantly recognizable character.
These include the expression of the emotions; the dramatic-rhetorical way of making a melody; the polarity of tune and bass line; and the dancing rhythms characteristic of most Baroque music. Baroque music tends to have a single mood, a single intention, in each piece, expressed in part by a characteristic regular rhythm.
Embracing the belief that the four bodily humors blood, phlegm, black bile, yellow bile control our emotional balance, and that they allow us to shift from one emotional state to another only gradually, Baroque composers sought to express a single passion in each piece. In the case of vocal music, it is usually 50 the emotion expressed by the words being sung; for instrumental music, it is up to the listener to receive the emotional message embedded in the music as interpreted by the musician.
The regularity to be found in many Baroque pieces is partly related to this desire for a consistent mood; it is also in many cases the result of a desire for dancing rhythms, or a constant rhythmic activity. The regularity is there, and it can be a joy. Suite and Partitas do have opening non-dance movement; the French Suites do not. Orchestral suites, often called Overtures, consist of an overture in the French manner a solemn slow section followed by a lively imitative section , followed by a suite of dances.
Each dance has very strong characteristics: it would be tiresome to rehearse them all here, but a couple of examples may be useful. Dances in triple meter include the slow sarabande, the moderate minuet, and the quick passepied. The sarabande often features an accent on the second of the three beats. It does not come in paired lines like a folk song, or a Schubert Lied , but in rhetorical sentences or paragraphs.
That is a sequence; sequences may also be rising sequences; they may change key; they may involve just a melody, or the whole texture of a polyphonic piece. Perhaps that sounds complicated, but it is central to Baroque aesthetics. Ian Penman. Year of the Monkey. Patti Smith. Lady Sings the Blues. Billie Holiday. Uncommon People. David Hepworth. Just Kids. Cruel To Be Kind. Will Birch. My Thoughts Exactly.
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