Speech and Debate 8. October 2009 Baroque Music Hello, my name is and thank you for listening to my speech. Have you ever thought about how music got to the way it is today? Baroque music may seem boring or useless, but is a very important part of music history. Today I am going to talk about the basics of baroque music, the main instruments used during the baroque period, and the influences on baroque composers. So, to give you some background of baroque music, here are the six eras of music. As you can see, baroque is towards the middle, from 1600-1750.
Baroque music is easily recognizable from different eras of music because of its distinct qualities. According to essentialsofmusic. com, the baroque era produced very dramatic music. In a baroque piece, there are many switches in dynamics, which means that the music would be soft then all of a sudden loud, or vice versa. This is because the instruments at the time weren’t capable of medium volume. There are also many switches between solos and ensembles, so there would be one person playing, then suddenly the whole group would join. According to baroque. com, baroque music was also very repetitive.
The same rhythms were repeated multiple times throughout the piece. Also, the mood was kept the same throughout the piece. For example, when a song began sadly, it ended sadly. The instruments used in a piece of music have a lot of impact on the sound. There were many different types of instruments used during the baroque era. According to thinkquest. com, there were about thirteen main instruments used. The first three, the clavichord, harpsichord, and organ are keyboard-like instruments. The harpsichord is the most popular out of the three and is a factor that makes baroque music unique.
The three main string instruments used were the violin, double bass, and lute. The violin was the most popular in the Baroque period whereas the lute and double bass were used more in the Renaissance. The three main wind instruments used were the bassoon, oboe, and flute. The trumpet, trombone, and horn were used in larger groups but not for solos. The only percussion, or drums, used was the timpani, which is a set of five drums that can be tuned to different notes. When a composer is writing music, they are influenced by the things going on around them in the world.
During the baroque period, there were many major events occurring. According to Catherine Schmidt-Jones’ article “Music of the Baroque Period” on cnx. org, the Age of Reason was going on during the baroque period. This meant that many brilliant scientists like Galileo ad Henry Bacon were making discoveries. Also during the Age of Reason, churches had less power than they did in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. So, musicians didn’t rely on them as much to buy their music which led to more diverse and creative styles. According to eh. net, the Age of Crisis was also occurring during the baroque period.
This consisted of a very long recession and a war between France, England, and several other small countries, which controlled two of Europe’s biggest economies. Now that you know more about baroque music, here are a few composers from this time. Bach is the one that will be familiar to most of you. Now I am going to play a selection of Baroque music. At the very beginning, you can hear the string instruments, mostly violin, playing very softly. If you listen closely you will hear the counterpoint as many different parts are played at the same time. Then, suddenly the music gets very loud and forceful but still keeps the same mood.
The brass instruments are playing in the background but are not the main part. This song is called “Water Music” and is by George Frideric Handel. In closing, I hope that you can see that baroque music is an important part of musical history. The basics of baroque music, instruments used during the baroque period, and influences on baroque composers are all an important part of what makes up baroque music. So, the next time you hear some older music, instead of tuning it out, listen for the different parts of the piece. Thank you again for listening and I hope you enjoyed my speech.
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