The Enjoyment of Music Unit 3

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Last updated: November 26, 2019

1750
the date of the death of Bach; is the reason why people agree on the dates of the Baroque era

Baroque era
literally means exaggerated, abnormal, or even bizarre; was characterized by appalling poverty and wasteful luxury, magnificent idealism and savage oppression; the age of reason and discovery

Michelangelo
this man’s art reflected the Baroque love of the dramatic; Venetian school of painters also adopted this technque

musical works
the creation of these often were for specific occasions–an opera for a royal wedding, a dance suite for a court festivity, a cantata for a religious service, etc.

monody
literally “one song”; solo song with instrumental accompaniment; consisted of a melody moving freely over a foundation of simple chords

Camerata
a group of Florentine writers, artists, and musicians that first cultivated monody; wanted music to heighten the emotional power of the text

basso continuo
a system which often employed two instrumentalists for the accompaniment; one played the bass line on a cello or bassoon, and the harmonies were filled in with a chordal instrument (harpsichord, organ, or lute)

figured bass
a type of notation where the composer put a numeral above or below the bass note, indicating the chord required

major and minor keys
became the most powerful force in music; simpler styles and harmonies led to this; each chord could assume its function in relation to the key center

equal temperament
a tuning system that allowed instruments to play in any key; adjusted the mathematically “pure” intervals within the octave to equalize the distance between adjacent tones

rhythm
was vigorous and based on regular accent and carried by a moving bass part; helped capture the drive and movement of this dynamic age

wide leaps
the expansion of melody; helped create melodies that were highly expressive of the text

dissonant chords
chords that could be used more freely for emotional intensity and color

terraced dynamics
was achieved by adding octaves or instruments; the more, the louder; forte and piano

virtuoso
the best in a field

doctrine of affections
basically the wedding of music and poetry; when an entire piece or movement was normally built on a single affection; established the mood of the piece

castrato
a male singer who was castrated during boyhood in order to preserve the soprano or alto register of his voice for the rest of his life; associated with opera

improvisation
played a significant role in Baroque music; musicians added embellishments to what was written down

exoticism
the interest in far-off lands; became a discernible element of Baroque music

opera
the most important new genre of the Baroque era; is a large-scale music drama that combines poetry, acting, scenery, and costumes with singing and instrumental music; usually based on Greek mythology

recitative
the section that moves the drama along in an opera; is disjunct and similar to talking; question and answer dialogue

secco
Italian for “dry”; a style of recitative which is accompanied only by continuo instruments and moves with great freedom

accompagnato
a style of recitative which is accompanied by the orchestra and thus moves more evenly

aria
Italian for “air”; a song that is usually of a highly emotional nature; the showstopping piece that could be removed from the performance

da capo aria
a formal convention that developed in aria’s early history; uses ternary form

ensemble
a number of people in an opera where the characters pour out their respective feelings

orchestra
also supports the actions of the opera by setting the appropriate mood for the different scenes

overture
an instrumental number heard at the beginning of most operas, which may introduce melodies from the arias

sinfonias
musical interludes between scenes

librettist
a person whom the opera composer works with; writes the text of the work, using dramatic insight to create characters and the storyline, with its main threads and subplots

libretto
the text or script of the opera; must be devised to give the composer an opportunity to write music for the diverse numbers that have become the traditional features of this art form

Monteverdi
considered the first composer of opera; established the strings as the heart of the orchestra; created arioso style; established the love duet as an important element in the opera; the opera during his time took the shape that it would maintain for hundreds of years

Lully
the most important composer of the French Baroque opera; his operas won him favor with the French royal court under King Louis XIV; was the first to succeed in adapting recitative to the inflections of the French language

masque
a type of entertainment that combined vocal and instrumental music with poetry and dance; became popular among the aristocracy; popular in England; many were presented privately in the homes of the nobility

Henry Purcell
considered the greatest English Baroque era composer; assimilated all of the Baroque era’s achievements

ground bass
a repeated phrase the descends along the chromatic scale, always symbolic of grief in Baroque music

Barbara Strozzi
was most likely an illegitimate daughter; wrote 7 secular pieces; made her mark as a composer of high-quality and masterful music and as a singer; it has also been suggested that she was a courtesan

cantata
literally “to sing”; was an integral part of the church service in the Lutheran tradition; most Sundays required their own one of these and there were more for holidays; was dramatic and short

chorale
a hymn tune specifically associated with German Protestantism; originally sung in unison but then transformed into 4 part harmony; was originally a battle cry of the Reformation; became the unifying thread of cantatas

arias
elaborate movements with ornate vocal lines; where Bach’s lyricism found its purest expression; perceived as a king of duet between the voice and a solo instrument

Johann Sebastian Bach
an organ virtuoso; born in Germany; had 19 children (not many survived) and 4 sons became leading composers; was cantor at St. Thomas’s Church in Leipzig; wrote over 200 cantatas

Well-Tempered Clavier
considered the pianist’s Old Testament; contains Bach’s most important keyboard works

ritornello
a melodic idea that reappears; unifies the movement

bar form
standard three-part structure (A-A-B)

oratoria
means “a place of prayer”; a large-scale musical work for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra; based on a biblical story

Handel
embodies the worldliness of the Baroque; wrote serious operas; founded the Royal Academy of Music; started writing oratorias after The Beggar’s Opera

The Beggar’s Opera
opera written by John Gay that had sensational success because it was sung in English, it was humorous, and it was cheaper than Handel’s operas; had tunes familiar to the audience

instrumental music
for the first time in history, this became as important as vocal music; new instruments were developed while old ones improved

timbre
tone color; instruments were specifically chosen by Baroque composers for this

gut
what the strings of Baroque instruments were made of; produced from animal intestines; yielded a softer yet more penetrating sound

woodwinds
used for color in the late Baroque; were especially effective in suggesting pastoral scenes

trumpet
became a solo orchestral instrument; contributed a bright sonority to the orchestral palette

suite
one of the most important instrumental genres of the Baroque; presented a group of short dances performed by the diverse array of instruments; all dances were in the same key; German allemande, French courante, Spanish sarabande, and English gigue; used overture frequently; AABB form

Water Music
dance suite by Handel; written for a party floating down the Thames River; winds, brass, and strings; 22 numbers were written for this suite; marked by lively rhythms and catchy melodies; alla hornpipe

Royal Fireworks
Handel’s other famous suite

rondeau
a French form that was frequently employed by later eighteenth century composers; five part structure that is unified by the repetitions of the opening ritornello (a recurring theme) set against several contrasting sections

Mouret
Frenchman who served a son of Louis XIV; most famous for his ensembles; had an affluent lifestyle but died penniless

concerto
an instrumental form based on the opposition between two dissimilar bodies of sound

solo concerto
a type of concerto with a solo instrument and accompanying group; violin was featured often here; consisted of three movements

concerto grosso
a type of concerto that was based on the opposition between a small group of instruments (concertino) and a larger group (tutti, ripieno)

Vivaldi
was a music master at four famous music schools in Venice; the schools were attached to charitable institutions established for the upbringing of orphaned girls; he is known as the Red Priest; Father of Concerto (wrote over 500); used rapid scale passages, extended arpeggios, and contrasting registers; fond of word painting

keyboard instruments
played a central role in chamber music, taking an equal role in small ensembles to melody instruments; also the most popular solo instruments for both home music-making and professional performers

organ, harpsichord, and clavichord
the three most important keyboard instruments of the Baroque; provided continuo in ensemble music

organ
an instrument used in both the home and at church; had a pure, transparent timbre, terraced levels of soft and loud were achievable due to the use of multiple keyboard

harpsichord
an instrument in which the strings were plucked by quills; its tone could not be sustained ; the pressure of the fingers on the keys produced subtle dynamic nuances but the piano’s extremes of loud and soft

passacaglia
a keyboard form that is structured on a repeating bass line, or ground bass, over which continuous variations are created

chaconne
a keyboard form built on a succession of harmonic progressions repeated over and over

prelude
a keyboard form that is a short study based on the continuous expansion of a melodic or rhythmic figure; mostly homophonic

toccata
a keyboard form that was free and often highly virtuosic

fugue
a contrapuntal composition in which a single theme pervades the entire fabric, entering in one voice and then in another; based on the principle of imitation; main theme is the subject

subject
the main theme of a fugue; constitutes the unifying idea; stated alone at the beginning in one of the voices and then imitated

answer
the voice that imitates the subject

exposition, episodes, recapitulation
the structure of a fugue

The Art of Fugue
Bach’s collection of fourteen fugues and four canons; was his last demonstration of contrapuntal mastery

Rococo
literally “shell”; took shape as a reaction against the grandiose gestures of the late Baroque; yielded to a single melody line with a simple chordal accompaniment; wanted music to be simple and express natural feelings

opera buffa
Italian comic opera; an example would be John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera”

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