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large-scale composition for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra, usually set to a narrative text, but without acting, scenery, or costumes; often based on biblical stories



In Italian, all; the full orchestra, or a large group of musicians contrasted with a smaller group; often heard in baroque music







transitional section in a fugue between presentations of the subject, which offers either new material or fragments of the subject or countersubject








song for solo voice with orchestral accompaniment, usually expressing an emotional state through its outpouring of melody; found in operas, oratorios, and cantatas.







composition in several movements, usually written for chorus, one or more vocal soloists, and instrumental ensemble.  The church cantata for the Lutheran service in Germany during the baroque period often includes chorales.




Ground Bass:




(basso ostinato) Variation form in which a musical idea in the bass is repeated over and over while the melodies above it continually change; common in baroque music



     Ritornello Form:



compositional form usually employed in the baroque concerto grosso, in which the tutti plays a ritornello, or refrain, alternating with one or more soloists playing a new material







theme of a fugue






vocal line in an opera, oratorio, or cantata that imitates the rhythms and pitch fluctuations of speech, often serving to lead into an aria


unaccompanied section of virtuoso display for the soloist in a concerto, usually appearing near the end of the first movement and sometimes in the last movement









In Italian, fellowship or society; a group of nobles, poets, and composers who began to meet regularly in Florence around 1575 and whose musical discussions prepared the way for the beginning of opera





creation of music at the same time as it is performed








musical ornament consisting of the rapid alternation of two tones that are a whole or half step apart









text of an opera








in opera, a piece performed by 3 or more solo singers




Trio Sonata:  




Baroque composition that has 3 melodic lines: 2 high ones, each played by one instrument; a basso continuo, played by 2 instruments




Concerto Grosso:




composition for several instrumental soloists and small orchestra; common in late baroque music








extended composition for instrumental soloist and orchestra, usually in 3 movements: (1) fast, (2) slow, (3) fast.








polyphonic composition based on one main theme, or subject








Drama that is sung to orchestral accompaniment, usually a large-scale composition employing vocal soloists, chorus, orchestra, costumes, and scenery.








male singer castrated before puberty to retain a high voice range; the most important category of vocal soloists in opera during the baroque period






a set of dance-inspired movements all written in the same key but differing in tempo, meter, and character

Terraced Dynamics:




abrupt alternation between loud and soft dynamic levels




Basso Continuo:





baroque accompaniment made up of a bass part usually played by 2 instruments; a keyboard plus a low melodic instrument









dramatist who writes the libretto, or text, of an opera




 Da Capo:




from the beginning; an indication usually meaning that the opening section of a piece is to be repeated after the middle section








hymn tune sung to a German religious text

Johann Sebastian Bach



·       1685-1750

·       Came from a long line of musicians

·       Four sons were composers

·       Born in Eisenach, Germany

·       Created masterpieces in every baroque form except opera

·       Recognized as the most eminent organist, harpsichordist, and improviser



Claudio Monteverdi:

·       1567-1643

·       Born in Cremona, Italy

·       Served at the court of Mantua for 21 years, first as a singer and violist, then as music director

·       Created earliest operatic masterpiece, Orfeo (Orpheus, 1607)

·       Recognized as a leading composer in Mantua

·       Music director at St. Mark’s in Venice

·       Wrote operas for San Cassiano in Venice, the first opera house in Europe

·       His works form a musical bridge between the 16th and 17th centuries and greatly influenced composers of the time

·       All his music is for voices supported by basso continuo and other instruments

·       He used dissonances

·       He introduced pizzicato and tremolo

·       He was the first composer of the operatic masterpieces



Antonio Vivaldi



·       1678-1741

·       Born in Venice

·       Known as “Red Priest”

·       Violin teacher, composer, and conductor at music school of the Pieta

·        Famous and influential as a virtuoso violinist and composer

·       Best known for 450 concerti grossi and solo concertos

·       Wrote La Primavera ( Spring)

George Frederic Handel

·       1685-1759; Master of Italian opera and English oratorio

·       Born in Halle, Germany

·       Music director for Elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover

·       Wrote Rinaldo which was produced in London

·       Became England’s most important composer and a favorite of Queen Anne

·       Director of the Royal Academy of Music

·       Wrote oratorios from the Old Testament like Israel in Egypt, Saul, Joshua, and Messiah

·       Wrote 39 Italian operas and aren’t as well known as his oratorios

·       Wrote a great  deal of instrumental music





            Homophonic texture

              Most revolutionary period


    Used dissonance







Major and minor scales

Instrumental music

   Violin family was popular






      Dominant chord to TONIC

Instrumental music as important as vocal music

Unity of mood

        Terraced dynamics


            Not all late baroque music was polyphonic

Basso continuo

Figured bass

                                              x.     Composers used music to depict meaning of specific words