Baroque Period Vocabulary Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Baroque Period Vocabulary Deck (33)
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1
Q

Motor rhythm

A

A seemingly constant moving rhythm characteristic of Baroque music. The music never seems to stop, or come to a place of rest. There is seemingly constant motion in rhythm.

2
Q

Harpsichord

A

A keyboard instrument popular in the Baroque times. It looks similar to a piano, but has a distinct timbre due to the mechanics of the instrument. The harpsichord has mechanical picks that pluck the strings, giving it a unique twang to the timbre.

3
Q

Minuet

A

A triple meter style of music, popular as a dance in Baroque times.

4
Q

Suite

A

A group of music pieces, usually 3 or more movements, often combining fast and slow tempo music into a collection.

5
Q

Cantata

A

Usually a sacred composition that focuses on a reading or message from the Bible. Usually a cantata combines the forces of an orchestra and choir.

6
Q

Oratorio

A

A work for choir and orchestra. Oratorios can focus on sacred or secular stories. Oratorio usually tell a story, with choir, soloists, and orchestra. However, they do not act out the plot like an opera - instead, the musicians are all on stage performing at the audience. No acting. No sets. No costumes.

7
Q

Opera

A

A drama set to music. Opera incorporates acting, sets, costumes, orchestra, solo singers, choir, and sometimes dance. It is a comprehensive performance art. Operas can be sacred or secular stories.

8
Q

Ornamentation

A

The addition of pitches and rhythms to enhance music. Ornamentation is the decoration of a musical idea with more pitches, and changed rhtyhms. Ornamentation was a common tool used to embellish music in the Baroque times. Often, ornaments were improvised in performance.

9
Q

Fugue

A

A polyphonic style of composition. Usually there are one or two main melodies, repeated in counterpoint. It is a highly elaborate and imitative style of music. Commonly composed for organ and keyboard, there are also orchestral and choral fugues.

10
Q

Chorale

A

A style of church hymn. Often rhythmically simple, and harmonically predictable. These were often pragmatic tunes used in worship to allow the choir and congregation to sing together in service.

11
Q

Ostinato

A

A repeated musical idea that happens again, and again. Often used as an anchor and sonic platform for Baroque music to be composed from.

12
Q

Ground Bass

A

An ostinato in the low, bass part of an ensemble. The ground bass was a common device used in Baroque music to organize a larger composition.

13
Q

Concerto

A

An instrumental composition meant to feature one or more instruments. The orchestra acts like an accompaniment, and the solo instrument(s) are the showcased ideas.

14
Q

Aria

A

A solo for voice. Usually found in opera, cantata, and oratorio - these are songs that feature a solo voice with orchestra.

15
Q

Recitative

A

A style of sing/speaking. Although pitch is used, often the rhythm feels unmetered and hard to follow. It is a device often used in opera, cantata, and oratorio.

16
Q

Baroque Pitch/Melody

A

Baroque melodies tend to wander and go on for long times. Similar to motor rhythms, sometimes it feels like they never stop, or come to a point of rest. Sometimes they are tuneful and lovely, but they always seem to go on and on. It might seem easy to memorize and hum along with a melody, but usually they keep going and changing, and going, and going.

17
Q

Baroque Harmony

A

Prior to established values of the Baroque, composers were trying to understand harmony, and played freely with dissonance and consonance. Baroque harmony is often elegant, ornate, and elaborate. Baroque harmonies can move quickly from chord to chord, changing harmonies at a fast pace. This can be called harmonic rhythm. Lots of Baroque music has a fast harmonic rhythm, and uses a lot of chords in quick succession.

18
Q

Baroque Texture

A

You can find homophonic examples, but in general - polyphony was the desired musical texture. Often, the polyphony is based on one melody or theme. This melodic subject usually gets repeated at different pitch levels, and at different times. The use of a single melody creates a musical unity, but the polyphonic setting makes it very exiting and decorative.

19
Q

Baroque Timbre/Instrumentation

A

It is in the Baroque times that the orchestra takes a more standardized and modern shape. Prior to this time, orchestras might use a variety of instruments, whatever was available in the town or city that the performance was in. The Baroque time sees a focus on certain instruments being a core for the orchestra.

Core instruments: violins, viola, cello, bass, basso continuo (usually harpsichord or organ). These instruments are used almost all the time in the orchestra

Other instruments used in orchestra: flute oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani (drums). These instruments are only used sometimes in Baroque orchestras. Sometimes they are obvious, but other times they may not be even present.

20
Q

Strings

A

In past times, there was a family of string instruments call viols. In the Baroque, we get the modern violin, viola, cello, and bass.

21
Q

Pipe Organ

A

The man powered bellows pushed air, so the organist had power to make the pipes resonate. Sets of pipes, called ranks, were turned on or off by using levers called “stops.”

22
Q

Harpsichord

A

This instrument is a predecessor of the modern piano. It uses keys like a piano, but the strings are plucked. The result is a unique timbre that sounds a bit like a banjo or guitar, but is played like a piano.

23
Q

Basso Continuo

A

Basso continuo is actually a team of instruments. Usually harpsichord and cello. However, this team can be any low pitched instrument (usually cello, bassoon, or bass), and an instrument that can play chords (harpsichord, organ, lute, or guitar). The basso continuo part was an improvised accompaniment to a piece of music. The written music is just a sketch of the harmonies, so it was expected that musicians would follow the guide of the music, but improvise the parts. The low pitched instrument typically chugs along, motor rhythm style - while the chord instrument fills in the harmonies. But there is a lot of freedom for how the chords are played. In some ways it is like jazz - the basso continuo musicians had a lot of freedom to interpret and insert their ideas into music.

24
Q

Fugue

A

The fugue was a common type of music. It is polyphonic, and based on imitation of a main subject melody. Fugues are common for keyboard solo works, but are also found in orchestral pieces.

25
Q

Suite

A

The Baroque suite was a collection of pieces, bundled together as one larger piece of music. Often the separate movements sound like stand alone pieces. Often the separate movements are based on dance rhythms from the Baroque times.

26
Q

Concerto/Concerto Grosso

A

These are pieces that feature a solo or group of soloists with an orchestra as the accompaniment back up. The soloists are the focus of the work, and could be almost any instrument. The orchestra plays a secondary role most of the time, providing musical context for the soloist(s) to show off. These are usually multi-movement works, and have contrasting fast and slow sections.

27
Q

Terraced Dynamics

A

Some call this the Baroque “echo effect.” Terraced dynamics are sudden contrasting volume changes. The idea of contrast was central to Baroque arts. Having a loud passage followed immediately by a soft volume section demonstrates this. What is unique is the lack of a build up in volume, or dying away in volume. These volume changes are often sudden and immediate.

28
Q

Melody

A

Baroque melodies are often NOT tuneful, and they’re long.

29
Q

Improvisation

A

Of all the classical music periods, improvisation is most present during the baroque period. A lot of it happens with trills and ornamentations.

30
Q

Ornaments

A

Ornaments can include lots of extra notes, and we do have names for a lot of them, but trills are the most common.

31
Q

Antonio Vivaldi

A

1678-1741
Vivaldi was a priest for a while, and then taught music at an orphanage. His red hair earned him the nickname of the “Red Priest.” He composed opera, chamber music, orchestra music, concerto, and more

32
Q

George Fredrick Handel

A

1685-1759
Handel was German born, trained and educated in Italy, and found most of his fame in England. Handel was the court composer for England. Handel was a great violinist, but was also know for his harpsichord and organ performances. He composed a wide variety of music: opera, concertos, chamber music, orchestral works. Handel is probably most famous for his oratorio, The Messiah

33
Q

J.S.Bach

A

1685-1750
Bach is one of the most studied composers in Western music. His use of harmony is studied by almost all music majors around the world. His elegant and comprehensive composer skills are models to many musicians today. Bach wrote many cantatas. His primary job was as a church composer. He was also a performing musician (usually on harpsichord or organ), and choir director. Bach also composed concertos, chamber works, and orchestral music.