The Late Baroque Period
Representative composers: Bach, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi
MELODY: Grows longer, more expansive, and more asymmetrical; idiomatic instrumental style influences vocal melodies.
Idiomatic: throughout the Baroque era there was a new emphasis on writing melodies specifically for instruments such as the harpsichord and violin, melodies that were well suited to the technical demands of these instruments.
HARMONY: Functional chord progressions govern harmonic movement-harmony moves purposefully from one chord to the next; basso continuo continues to provide strong bass.
Basso continuo: a small ensemble of at least two instrumentalists who provide a foundation for the melody or melodies above; heard almost exclusively in Baroque music.
RHYTHM: Exciting, driving, energized rhythms propel music forward with vigor; “walking” bass creates feeling of rhythmic regularity.
Walking bass: a bass line that moves at a moderate pace, mostly in equal note values, and often stepwise up or down the scale.
COLOR: Instruments reign supreme; instrumental sounds, especially of violin, harpsichord, and organ, set musical tone for the era; one tone color used throughout a movement or large section of movement.
TEXTURE: Homophonic texture remains important, but polyphonic texture reemerges because of growing importance of the contrapuntal fugue.
Homophony: a texture in which all the voices, or lines, move to new pitches at roughly the same time; often referred to in contradistinction to polyphony, which involves two or more simultaneously but independent sounding lines.
Contrapuntal fugue: counterpoint is simply the harmonious opposition of two or more independent musical lines. Because counterpoint presupposes polyphony the terms “contrapuntal texture” and “polyphonic texture” are often used interchangeably.
Fugue: a composition for three, four, or five parts played or sung by voices or instruments, which begins with a presentation of a subject in imitation in each part and continues with modulating passages of free counterpoint and further appearances of the subject.
FORM: Binary form in sonatas and orchestral suites; da capo aria (ternary) form in aria; fugal procedure used in fugue.
Binary form: a musical form consisting of two units (A and B) constructed to balance and complement each other
Sonata: originally “something sounded” on an instrument as opposed to something sung (a “cantata”); later a multi movement work for solo instrument or instrument with keyboard accompaniment.
Orchestral suites: a dance suite written for orchestra.
Da capo aria: an aria in two sections, with an obligatory return to and repeat of the first; hence an aria in ternary (ABA) form.