A term referring to imperfect pearls. Period from 1600 to 1750, overlapping the late Renaissance and early Classic periods. Characterized by dramatic and theatrical music.
Objectified or archetypal emotions or states of mind (sadness/joy/fear/wonder)
Prima Practica
Monteverdi’s term for the style and practice of 16c polyphony (like the music of Williart)
Seconda Practica
Monteverdi’s term for a practice of counterpoint and composition that allows the rules of Prima Practica to be broken in order to express the feelings of the text (like the music of Rore)
Basso Continuo
System of notation and performance practice. The instrumental bass line is written out and at least one instrumentalist fills in the harmony with the appropriate chords and improvised melodic lines.
Treble-Bass Polarity
Prominent bass and treble lines with written out or improvised inner parts filling in the harmony and emphasizing homophony (solo + accompaniment)
Figured Bass
Form of basso continuo where the bass line with numbers or b/# signs to indicate the appropriate chords to be played.
Concertato Style/Concertato Medium
17th century combination of voices with at least one instrument. The instrument(s) play independent parts, they don’t just double the voices.
A system by which a piece is organized around a tonic note, chord, or key, to which all other notes and keys are subordinate.
Florentine Camerata
A circle of intellectuals and amateurs of the arts that met in Florece, Italy in the 1570’s and 1580’s.
Solo singing with basso continuo (an accompanied solo song)
A lyrical monologue in an opera or a section of an Italian strophic poem for a solo singer.
Solo Madrigal
A through-composed setting of a non-strophic poem for solo voice with accompaniment, distinguished from an aria and from a madrigal for several voices.
A drama with continuous or almost continuous music, staged with scenery, costumes, and action.
Literary text for an opera or other musical stage work.
A passage in an opera with a speech-like style, with the music fit to the natural rhythms of the text. Early recitatives were through-composed.
An instrumental introduction to an aria, an abstract ensemble piece, or an opera overture.
An instrumental introduction or an interlude between sung stanzas in vocal music. Also can be an instrumental refrain in an aria.
Giovanni Maria Artusi
Wrote “Imperfections of Modern Music” and criticized Monteverdi. He disliked Baroque music and loved counterpoint.
Claudio Monteverdi
Italian baroque composer of vocal works (began as a madrigalist), inspired by Rore. Coined the terms Prima Practica and Seconda Practica
Giulio Cacini
Italian composer of Le Nuove Musiche (a book of early arias and solo madrigals).
The most important musician in ancient Greek mythology, and the subject of many early operas.
Jacopo Peri
Italian singer and composer who wrote the first opera (Dafne) and the first surviving opera (L’Euridice).
Strophic Variation
Vocal genre in which a strophic poem is set to music. The melody of the first stanza is varied, but the harmonic plan remains the same. The duration of the harmonies may change to accentuate the meaning of the text.
Male singers who were castrated before puberty to preserve their high vocal range.
Recitativo Arioso
A passage in an opera in a style between a recitative and an aria.
A businessman who managed and oversaw the production of operas.
A leading and successful female opera singer.
Baso Ostinato (Ground Bass)
A pattern in the bass that repeats while the melody changes above it.
Descending Tetrachord
A stepwise descent spanning a fourth that is associated with Monteverdi. Communicated lament.
A vocal chamber work with continuo, usually for solo voice, consisting of several sections or movements including recitatives and arias, and setting a lyrical or quasi-dramatic text (similar to a small sacred concerto).
Polychoral Motet
A motet for at least two choirs (may include other ensembles).
Small Sacred Concerto
A composition on a sacred Latin text for solo voice and basso continuo to be sung in church, utilizing recitative and aria styles. (stile moderno)
Large Sacred Concerto
A composition on a sacred Latin text for 2 choirs and an instrumental ensemble, to be sung as part of the mass, utilizing concertato style. (stile antico & stile moderno)
Stile Moderno
A style that used monody (basso continuo) and applied the rules of counterpoint freely.
Stile Antico
A style in music written after 1600 in imitation of the old contrapuntal imitative style of Palestrina, used especially for church music.
17th century genre of dramatic music combining narrative, dialogue, and commentary through arias, recitatives, ensembles, choruses, and instrumental music. Like an unstaged opera, usually on a religious or biblical subject. (performed in Rome during lent).
Barbara Strozzi
Mid-17th century cantata composer who wrote “Diporti di Eterpe” (Pleasures of Europe)
Giovanni Gabrieli
Mid-17th century musician and composer of sacred music (concerto) who combined stile antico and stile moderno.
Giacomo Carissim
Mid-17th century contata composer, and leading composer of Latin oratorios
1610 Vespers
A “grab bag” of musical settings of psalm texts (concertato style). Monteverdi drew from recitative and parody mass. Combined stile antico and stile moderno.
Musical Figures
Melodic patterns or contrapuntal effects conventionally employed to convey the meaning of a text.
A musical setting of one of the biblical accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion.
Baroque instrumental piece with contrasting sections or movements, often containing imitative counterpoint.
Genre Blending
When a composer imports styles or musical features from other genres.
A piece for a keyboard instrument or lute resembling an improvisation that may include imitative sections or may serve as a prelude to an independent fugue. (designed to sound improvised)
An introductory piece for solo instrument, often in the style of an improvisation. Also an introductory movement in a multi-movement work.
A composition or section of a composition in imitative texture that is based on a single subject and begins with successive statements of the subject.
An instrumental piece that treats at least one subject in imitation.
Chorale Prelude
A short setting of a chorale melody for organ, used as an interlude in a Lutheran church service.
A theme, used especially for the main melody, used in a ricercare, fugue, or other imitative work.
Heinrich Schutz
German composer trained by Gabrieli in Italy, who applied Italian styles to church music. He used many musical figures and imagery to capture the meanings of the text.
The most important composer of cantatas, and one of the first famous composers to focus on instrumental music. Also a great Italian organist and improviser. Borrowed from vocal styles (stile antico).
Italian violinist and composer who worked in Italy and Germany. Great sonata composer who drew from vocal styles (stile antico). Called “a contemporary Frescobaldi”
Musical Figures
Small motives that may have a certain impact on the listener. (Germans looking at Italian music)
Fiori Musicalli
A collection of toccatas and ricercare by Frescobaldi.
Louis XIV
King of France from 1654 to 1715. Patron of the arts (used for political purposes). Created the absolute monarchy. Built the palace at Versailles. Interested in building a French tradition of opera with dance (ballet). Resisted Italian opera.
An ensemble invented by the French whose core consists of strings, with more than 1 player on each part, (usually joined woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments).
Jean-Baptist Lully
The most important conductor of orchestra. Worked as a composer for Louis XIV. Pioneered French opera.
Tragedie en Musique (Tragedie Lyrique)
17th/18th century French form of opera that combined French classical drama and ballet traditions with music, drama, and spectacles (I don’t really know what they mean by spectacles guys).
A long interlude of ballet, solo airs, and choruses.
French Overture
An orchestral introduction to an opera played while the King enters the theater.
Songs for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment, usually set rhymed strophic poetry, usually in the meter of a dance. (French aria)
Note Inegales
“Unequal notes”. 17th century convention of performing French music in which passages that are notated in short even durations (running 8th notes) are performed by alternating longer notes on the beat and shorter off beats (dotted 8th + 16th) to create a lilting rhythm.
A French baroque performance practice where a dotted note is held linger than written, while the following note is shortened.
Rounded Binary Form
Binary Form in which the beginning and all of the first section returns in the tonic in the later part of the second section (II:A:II:B A’:II)
Petit Motet
French version of a small sacred concerto for 1 to3 voices and continuo.
Grand Motet
French version of a large sacred concerto for soloist, double chorus, and orchestra.
Denis Gaultier
Leading French lute composer in the 17th century. Published collections instructing amateurs how to play the lute.
The french term for harpsichord.
Style Luthe
“Lute style”. Arpeggiated style in 17th century French lute music.
Style Brise
“Broken style”. Broken or arpeggiated texture in 17th century French keyboard music. The technique originated with the lute and the figuration was transferred to the harpsichord.
Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre
Important clavecinist and composer of the late 17th and early 18th century.
Dance Suite
A set of dances that are linked together into a single work, or a set of stylized dances.
Binary Form
A form comprised of 2 complimentary sections, each of which is repeated. The first section usually ends on the dominant or the relative major, and the second section returns to the tonic. (simple binary form/balanced binary form/rounded binary form).
Unmeasured Prelude
A French Baroque keyboard genre, usually the first movement in a suite, whose non-metric notation gives a feeling of improvisation.
A highly stylized dance in binary form, in moderately fast quadruple meter with almost continuous movement, beginning with an upbeat.
A dance in binary form, in compound meter at a moderate tempo and with an upbeat, featured as a standard movement of the Baroque dance suite.
A slow dance in binary form and in tripple meter, often emphasizing the second beat; a standard movement of a suite.
A stylized imitative dance movement of a standard baroque suite, in binary form, marked by fast compound meter (6/4 or 12/8) with wide melodic leaps and continuous triplets.
Henry Purcell
England’s leading 17th century composer. Supported by royal patronage. Focussed on vocal music, but wrote in all genres. Composed Dido and Aeneas.
Alessandro Scarlatti
LEading Italian composer of the late 17th and early 18th century. Wrote over 600 cantatas. Used wide harmonic range, chromaticism, and diminished chords.
Da Capo Aria
Aria form with 2 sections. The 1st section is repeated after the 2nd section’s close, which carries the instructions “da capo” (from the head), creating an ABA form.
Sonata da Camera
Baroque sonata, usually a suite of stylized dances, scored for at least 1 treble instrument and continuo.
Sonata de Chiesa
Baroque instrumental work intended for performance in church; usually in 4 movements (slow-fast-slow-fast) and scored for at least 1 treble instrument and continuo.
Trio Sonata
A common instrumental genre during the Baroque period, a sonata for 2 treble instruments (usually violin) above a basso continuo.
Arcangelo Corelli
The leading composer of Italian chamber music in the late 17th century. An internationally renowned sonata composer.
Walking Bass
A bass line in Baroque music that moves steadily and continuously.
Jean-Philippe Rameau
Early 18th century French composer and organist who founded the theory of tonal music. His success as a composer came gradually and late.
Fundamental Bass
A term coined by Rameau to indicate the succession of the roots or fundamental tones in a series of chords.
Dieterich Buxtehude
One of the best-known German Lutheran composers of the late 17th century.
In a fugue: A set of entries of the subject. In sonata form: The first part of the movement, in which the main themes are stated, beginning in the tonic and ending in the dominant or relative major (usually).
The second entry of the subject in the exposition of a fugue, normally in the dominant if the subject was in the tonic, and vice versa.
Passages of counterpoint between statements of the subject in a fugue.
Orchestral Concerto
An orchestral genre in several movements, originating in the late 17th century, that emphasized the 1st violin part and the bass, avoiding the more contrapuntal texture of the sonata.
Concerto Grosso
Instrumental work that exploits the contrast in sonority between a small ensemble of solo instruments (concertino), usually the same forces that appeared in the trio sonata, and a large ensemble.
Solo Concerto
A composition in which at least 1 solo instrument contrasts with an orchestral ensemble .
Designates the full orchestra in both the concerto and the concerto grosso.
Antonio Vivaldi
Best known Italian composer of the eighteenth century. A virtuosic violinist, master teacher, and popular composer of concertos, cantatas, opera, and sacred music. Best known for his concertos.
Ritornello Form
Standard form for fast movements in 18th century concertos, featuring a ritornello for full orchestra that alternates with episodes characterized by virtuosic material played by soloists.
Johann Sebastian Bach
If you don’t know who Bach is, you should just quit now.
Jahann Adolph Scheibe
Composer and critic. Wrote that Bach was overly elaborate and confused. He preferred the more tuneful and straightforward styles of younger composers.
Georg Philipp Telemann
Early 18th century German composer. A paragon of stylistic eclecticism. Regarded by his contemporaries as the best composer of his era, with over 3,000 works to his name.
Brandenburg Concertos
Bach’s best known orchestral works. Numbering six, all except the first are in the three movement (fast-slow-fast) order of the Italian concerto.
Cantata cycle
A series of cantatas (written by Georg Philipp Telemann while he was Frankfurt’s Director of Municipal Music).
George Frideric Handel
German-born British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos.
Ensemble Suites
Music for the Royal Fireworks
Wind band suite composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 under contract of George II of Great Britain for the fireworks in London’s Green Park on 27 April 1749
Musical Canon
A contrapuntal compositional technique that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration.
A highly embellished passagem often improvised, at an important cadence, usually occurring just before the end of a piece.
French Suites
Six suites which Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for the clavier between the years of 1722 and 1725.
Chorale Prelude
Relatively short setting for organ of a chorale melody, used as an introduction for congregational singing or as an interlude in a Lutheran church.
Chorale Cantata
A sacred multi-movement composition for voices and instruments, principally from the German Baroque era, in which the organizing principle is the words and music to a chorale.
Chorale Motet
Chorale setting in the style of a 16th century motet.
Simple Recitative
Style of recitative scored for solo voice and basso continuo, used for setting dialogue or monologue in a speech-like fashion, without dramatization.
Accompanied recitative
Recitative that uses orchestral accompaniment to dramatize the text.
Florid vocal ornamentation.