Pio Ospedale della Pietà

Venetian orpanage and school for girls


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Vivaldi worked here as conductor, composer, teacher, and superintendant of musical instruments

Antonio Vivaldi’s life;[5]

(1678 – 1741)

  1. Born in Venice, he spent most of his life in that city.
  2. He was a virtuoso violinist and a master teacher.
  3. He composed operas, cantatas, and sacred music.
  4. He is remembered primarily for his violin concertos.
  5. Vivaldi served as a teacher, composer, conductor, and superintendent of musical instruments at the Ospedale della Piet;.

Antonio Vivaldi’s concerto [3]

  1. Vivaldi composed about five hundred concertos.
  2. The orchestra
    • Vivaldi probably had twenty to twenty-five strings.
    • Usually divided into four parts: violins I, violins II, violas, and cellos/string basses
    • The continuo was either harpsichord or organ.
    • Vivaldi sometimes used flutes, oboes, bassoons, and horns.
    • He used color effects such as pizzicato and muted strings.
  3. The soloists
    • About 350 of Vivaldi’s concertos are for one solo instrument, usually violin.
    • He also wrote solo concertos for bassoon, cello, oboe, flute, viola d’amore, recorder, and mandolin.
    • The concertos with several soloists are in the style of a solo concerto.

Antonio Vivaldi’s concerto form [3]

  1. The first movement was in a fast tempo.
  2. The middle movement was slow and in the same or a closely related key.
  3. The final movement, also fast and in the original key, was often shorter and livelier than the first movement.

Antonio Vivaldi’s ritornello form [5]

  1. Ritornellos, played by the orchestra, alternate with episodes by the soloist.
  2. Ritornello theme
    • Consists of small melodic units that can be manipulated by the soloist or in other ritornellos
    • Later orchestral statements may present only part of the original theme.
  3. Ritornello keys
    • The first and last ritornellos are in the tonic.
    • The second ritornello is usually in the dominant.
    • Other ritornellos are in closely related keys.
  4. Solo sections
    • Often contain virtuosic display
    • May modulate to a new key
  5. The soloist may interrupt or play part of the closing ritornello.

Antonio Vivaldi’s slow movements

  1. Vivaldi is the first to treat slow movements as equal to fast movements.
  2. The melodies tend to be long, cantabile, and expressive, like an opera aria.
  3. Common forms
    • Through-composed
    • Simplified ritornello form
    • Two-part form
  4. The slow movement of Concerto for ;Violin in A Minor, Op. 3 No. 6; is unusual: the accompaniment is limited to upper strings.

ritornello form

standard form for fast 18th Century concertos featuring a ritornello with full orchestra that alternates with episodes of solo material


Vivaldi frequently used this form of concerto

Fran;ois Couperin [2]

(1668 – 1733)


1.) Oraganist to the King of France and at the Church of Saint Gervais in Paris, taught harpsichord to members of the aristocracy.


2.) Famous for successfully combining French and Italian styles.

Jean-Philippe Rameau [4]

(1683 – 1764)

  1. Rameau began his musical career as an organist in the provinces of France.
  2. By age forty, he was recognized as a theorist.
  3. He achieved fame as a composer in his fifties.
  4. His music was initially criticized for being radical, but later it was thought to be reactionary.

Bach cities [5]

1.) Arnstadt (1703)- worked as a church organist


2.) M;hlhausen (1707)- worked as a church organist, tutored private students


3.) Weimar (1708)- hired by the Duke of Weimar first as organist, later as concertmaster


4.) C;then (1717)- hired by Prince Leopold of Anhalt in C;then to be Kapellmeister (music director) in his musical court


5.) Leipzig (1723)- hired to be cantor of the Saint Thomas School and civic music director

Johann Sebastian Bach
collegium musicum

an association of amateurs who gathered to sing and play together for their own pleasure


Bach led a collegium musicum in Leipzig in the early 1730s, which is where he wrote many of his concertos

recitative secco

style of recitative scored for voice and basso continuo, used for setting dialogue or monologue in as speechlike a fashion as possible, without dramatization


Handle used this in his recitatives

recitative accompagnato

recitative that uses orchestral accompaniment to dramatize the text


Handle used this in his recitatives



prima donna

a soprano singing the leading role in an opera


divas often were paid more than the composer or conductor, and were hired to bring in a crowd

18th Century cantata [4]

1.) orchestra

2.) chorus

3.) soloist

4.) based on chorales

18th Century musical style that featured songlike melodies, short phrases, frequent cadences, and light accompaniment
Italian vs. French music in Paris

  1. The latest Italian music was performed in Paris.
  2. Some French composers sought to blend Italian and French styles.

Couperin’s ordres [3]

  1. The orders, or suites, were published between 1713 and 1730.
  2. Each ordre contains a number of miniature works, generally based on dance rhythms and set in a binary form.
  3. Most of the pieces have evocative titles.

Vingt-cinquieme ordre [5]

  1. Composed by François Couperin
  2. La visionaire (The Dreamer) is a whimsical French overture.
  3. La misterieuse (The Mysterious One) is an allemande.
  4. La Montflambert is a tender gigue, probably named after the wife of the king’s wine merchant.
  5. La muse victorieuse (The Victorious Muse) is a fast dance in triple meter.

L’art de toucher le clavecin [3]

  1. The Art of Playing the Harpsichord, 1716
  2. Couperin’s treatise on playing harpsichord
  3. One of the most important sources on French Baroque performance practice

Fran;ois Couperin’s chamber music [6]

  1. Synthesized French and Italian styles.
  2. He believed that the best music would be a union of the two national styles.
  3. He dedicated suites to both Corelli and Lully.
  4. Couperin was the first and foremost French composer of trio sonatas.
  5. Les nations (The Nations, 1726) and other works contain characteristics of both French and Italian music.
  6. He composed twelve suites, called concerts, for harpsichord and various combinations of instruments.

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s operas [4]

  1. Because of a monopoly by the Acad;mie Royale de Musique, operas could be produced only in Paris.
  2. For an extended period, Rameau served the wealthy patron Jean-Joseph de la Pouplini;re, whose gatherings attracted many significant figures.
  3. Pouplini;re funded Rameau’s first opera, Hippolyte et Aricie (1733).
  4. A number of outstanding works followed.
    • Les Indes galantes (The Gallant Indies, 1735), an opera-ballet
    • Castor et Pollux (1737), his masterpiece
    • Zoroastre (1749), a late tragic opera

Lullistes vs. Ramistes [4]

  1. Two camps developed, one favoring Rameau and the other attacking him for subverting the traditions of Lully.
  2. During the French and Italian opera controversy of the 1750s, Lully supporters hailed Rameau as the champion of the French style.
  3. Similarities with Lully
    • Recitatives have realistic declamation with precise rhythmic notation.
    • Recitatives mix with tuneful airs, choruses, and instrumental works.
    • The differences between recitative and air are minimized, after moving smoothly between them.
  4. Rameau made a number of significant changes.
    • The melodies are derived from the harmony.
    • Rameau uses a richer harmonic palette, including more chromaticism.
    • Rameau’s orchestral writing is exceptional, as seen in his overtures, dances, and descriptive orchestral passages.
    • He explored the joint use of solo of chorus.