Claudio Monteverdi
Monteverdi’s work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition: the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque and the heritage of Renaissance polyphony. Enjoying fame in his lifetime, he wrote one of the earliest operas, L’Orfeo, which is still regularly performed.
Giulio Caccini
Giulio Caccini was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the single most influential creators of the new Baroque style.
Jacopo Peri
Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600).
Giacomo Carissimi
Giacomo Carissimi was an Italian composer, one of the most celebrated masters of the early Baroque, or, more accurately, the Roman School of music. The great achievements generally ascribed to him are the further development of the recitative, later introduced by Monteverdi, and of infinite importance in the history of dramatic music; the further development of the chamber-cantata, by which Carissimi superseded the concertato madrigals which had themselves replaced the madrigals of the late Renaissance; and the development of the oratorio, of which he was the first significant composer.
Francesco Cavalli
Cavalli was the most influential composer in the rising genre of public opera in mid-17th century Venice. Unlike Monteverdi’s early operas, scored for the extravagant court orchestra of Mantua, Cavalli’s operas make use of a small orchestra of strings and basso continuo to meet the limitations of public opera houses. In addition to operas, Cavalli wrote settings of the Magnificat in the grand Venetian polychoral style, settings of the Marian antiphons, other sacred music in a more conservative manner (notably a Requiem Mass in eight parts [SSAATTBB], probably intended for his own funeral), and some instrumental music.
Marc Antonio Cesti
Cesti is known principally as a composer of operas. The most celebrated of these were La Dori (Venice, 1663), Il pomo d’oro (Vienna, 1668), and Orontea (1656). Il pomo d’oro (The Golden Apple) was performed for the wedding of Emperor Leopold I. It was far more elaborate than contemporary Venetian operas, including a large orchestra, numerous choruses, and various mechanical devices used to stage things like gods descending from heaven (deus ex machina), naval battles, and storms. Orontea was revived seventeen times in the next thirty years, making it one of the most frequently performed operas on the continent in the mid-1600s.
Dietrich Buxtehude
Dieterich Buxtehude (Dietrich, Diderich) (c. 1637 – 9 May 1707) was a German-Danish organist and a highly regarded composer of the Baroque period. The bulk of Buxtehude’s oeuvre consists of vocal music, which covers a wide variety of styles, and organ works, which concentrate mostly on chorale settings and large-scale sectional forms.
Heinrich Schutz
Heinrich Schutz (October 8 (JC) 1585 – November 6, 1672) was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi. Heinrich Schutz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy, and as such had a large influence on the German music which was to follow.
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Lully’s music is from the Middle Baroque period, 1650 to 1700. Typical of Baroque music is the use of the basso continuo as the driving force behind the music. Lully’s music is known for its power, liveliness in its fast movements and its deep emotional character in its sad movements. Some of his most popular works are his passacaille (passacaglia) and chaconne which are dance movements found in many of his works such as Armide or Phaeton.
Alessandro Scarlatti
Alessandro Scarlatti was an Italian Baroque composer especially famous for his operas and chamber cantatas. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera. He was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti.
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell was an English Baroque composer. Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements but devised a peculiarly English style of Baroque music.
Reinhard Keiser
Reinhard Keiser was a popular German opera composer based in Hamburg. He wrote over a hundred operas, and in 1745 Johann Adolph Scheibe considered him an equal to Johann Kuhnau, George Frideric Handel and Georg Philipp Telemann (also related to the Hamburg Opera), but his work was largely forgotten for many decades.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France.
Jean Philippe Rameau
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside Francois Couperin. Rameau’s 1722 Treatise on Harmony initiated a revolution in music theory.[48] Rameau posited the discovery of the “fundamental law” or what he referred to as the “fundamental bass” of all Western music. Rameau’s methodology incorporated mathematics, commentary, analysis and a didacticism that was specifically intended to illuminate, scientifically, the structure and principles of music.
George Handel
George Frideric Handel (German: Georg Friedrich Handel was a German-English Baroque composer, who is famous for his operas, oratorios, and concerti grossi. His life and music may justly be described as “cosmopolitan”: he was born in Germany, trained in Italy, and spent most of his life in England. Born in Halle in the Duchy of Magdeburg, he settled in England in 1712, becoming a naturalized subject of the British crown on 22 January 1727.[1] His works include Messiah, Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Strongly influenced by the techniques of the great composers of the Italian Baroque era, as well as the English composer Henry Purcell, Handel’s music became well-known to many composers, including Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
Florentine camerata
At the end of the 1500s, a group of Florentine noblemen wanted to bring back ancient Greek tragedy. Calling themselves the Camerata, they created the stil rappresentativo, or theater style. This was a new style of singing of drama, and, consequently, became the earliest operas. This new form of music developed because composers of the polyphonic madrigal style were looking for ways to convey dramatic expression. This new “theater style” became prevalent and was used consistently in opera.
Roman opera
In the 1630s, Rome became the center of opera. Roman opera differed from the Italian form in that it focused more on religious subjects than on Greek mythology. Roman opera also employed the use of its chorus to a greater extent. The aria and the recitative were beginning to become more distinct and greatly differed from one another. The intermezzi, a comedic interlude between acts, would be the model for the future comedic opera style.
Venetian opera
The Venetian opera had its own special attributes. It used less choral and orchestral music and placed more emphasis on formal arias as well as on elaborate stage machinery. The bel canto, or “beautiful singing” style, started to appear. This style placed more focus on vocal elegance than on dramatic expression. Two final characteristics of venetian opera were its complex and improbable plots and the prototype of its overture, which was a short instrumental fanfare performed at the beginning of the opera.
Neapolitan opera
European opera was dominated by the Neopolitan opera form during the later 1600s and early 1700s. During this period, operas became more artificial and formalized from the dramatic standpoint. An A-B-A sectional structure, called the da capo aria, and a siciliana, another aria in a minor key with six-eight meter and slow tempo, were widely used. As far as other components of the Neopolitan opera, the orchestra’s role was greatly diminished and the chorus was almost nonexistent. Recitatives were now being used, although they did not hold the same level of importance as the aria. The recitativo secco, or dry recitative, which had a declamatory melody with sparse continuo accompaniment, and the recitative accompagnato, which used and orchestral accompaniment were featured.
Prima prattica
Prima pratica, literally “first practice”, refers to early Baroque music which looks more to the style of Palestrina, or the style codified by Gioseffo Zarlino, than to more “modern” styles. Prima pratica referred only to the style of approaching and leaving dissonances.
Secunda prattica
Seconda pratica, literally “second practice”, is the counterpart to prima pratica and is more commonly referred to as Stile moderno. The term “Seconda pratica” was coined by Claudio Monteverdi to distance his music from that of e.g. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gioseffo Zarlino and describes early music of the Baroque period which encouraged more freedom from the rigorous limitations of dissonances and counterpoint characteristic of the prima pratica.
Le nuove musiche
Le nuove musiche is a collection of monodies and songs for solo voice and basso continuo by the composer Giulio Caccini, published in Florence in July 1602. It is one of the earliest and most significant examples of music written in the early baroque style of the seconda prattica. It contains 12 madrigals and 10 arias.
Doctrine of Affections
The doctrine of the affections, also known as the doctrine of affects, or by the German term Affektenlehre (after the German Affekt; plural Affekten) was a theory in musical aesthetics popular in the Baroque era (1600–1750). It derived from ancient theories of rhetoric, and was widely accepted by late-Baroque theorists and composers. The essential idea is that just one unified and “rationalized” Affekt should be aimed at by any single piece or movement of music, and that to attempt more was to risk confusion and disorder.
Bel canto
Generally understood, the term ‘bel canto’ refers to the Italian vocal style of the 18th and early 19th centuries the qualities of which include perfect legato production throughout the range, the use of a light tone in the higher registers and agile and flexible delivery. Operas of the style feature extensive and florid ornamentation, requiring much in the way of fast scales and cadenzas known as coloratura. More narrowly, the term is sometimes applied exclusively to Italian opera of the time of Rossini (1792–1868), Bellini (1801–1835), and Donizetti (1797–1848). These men composed opera during what is sometimes called the bel canto era, which flourished from approximately 1805 to 1830.
Gradus ad Parnassum
Gradus ad Parnassum is a collection of instructional piano pieces by Muzio Clementi and also a collection of instruction piano pieces by Carl Czerny.
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999.
In music, monody has two meanings: 1) it is sometimes used as a synonym for monophony, a single solo line, in opposition to homophony and polyphony; and 2) in music history, it is a solo vocal style distinguished by having a single melodic line and instrumental accompaniment. Although such music is found in various cultures throughout history, the term is specifically applied to Italian song of the early 17th century, particularly the period from about 1600 to 1640. The term is used both for the style and for individual songs (so one can speak both of monody as a whole as well as a particular monody). The term itself is a recent invention of scholars: no composer of the 17th century ever called a piece a monody. Compositions in monodic form might be called madrigals, motets, or even concertos (in the earlier sense of “concertato”, meaning “with instruments”).
Cantata (sacred and secular)
Bach composed more than 200 church cantatas (cantata means sung, sonata means played). These are for soloists and choruses, accompanied by orchestra and continuo, and are like miniature oratorios. A fine example is Number 140, by Bach, based upon the chorale, ‘Sleepers, Wake’.
The motet was one of the most diversely treated forms in the Baroque era. Composers used every available combination of instrument and voices to express the religious texts they were setting.
The Mass, a form of sacred musical composition, is a choral composition that sets the fixed portions of the Eucharistic liturgy (principally that of the Roman Catholic Church, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and also the Lutheran Church) to music. Most Masses are settings of the liturgy in Latin, the traditional language of the Roman Catholic Church, but there are a significant number written in the languages of non-Catholic countries where vernacular worship has long been the norm. For example, there are many Masses (often called “Communion Services”) written in English for the Church of England.
Born about the same time as opera, this vocal music was at first very similar to operas. (They had arias, choruses and recitatives) They were acted out with scenery and costumes. The main difference was that an Oratorio was based on a sacred story. Eventually oratorios ceased to acted out, and were given musical presentation only. Handel’s Messiah, Samson, Israel and Egypt are all Oratorios.
A passion is a special oratorio telling the story of Christ’s crucifixion. Besides recitatives, arias and choruses, Bach also included settings of chorales (Gerinan hymn tunes.)
Opera seria
Opera seria (usually called dramma per musica or melodramma serio) is an Italian musical term which refers to the noble and “serious” style of Italian opera that predominated in Europe from the 1710s to ca. 1770. The term itself was rarely used at the time and only became common usage once opera seria became unfashionable, and was viewed as a historical genre. The popular rival to opera seria was opera buffa, the ‘comic’ opera that took its cue from the improvisatory commedia dell’arte.
Tragedie lyrique
Tragedie en musique (French lyric tragedy), also known as tragedie lyrique, is a genre of French opera introduced by Jean-Baptiste Lully and used by his followers until the second half of the eighteenth century. Operas in this genre are usually based on stories from Classical mythology or the Italian romantic epics of Tasso and Ariosto. The stories may not have a tragic ending – in fact, they generally don’t – but the atmosphere must be noble and elevated.
Da capo aria
A da capo aria is in ternary form, meaning it is in three sections. The first section is a complete musical entity, ending in the tonic key, and could in principle be sung alone. The second section contrasts with the first in its musical texture, mood, and sometimes also tempo. The third section was usually not written out by the composer, who rather simply specified the direction “da capo” (Italian for “from the head”) – meaning from the beginning, which meant that the first section should be repeated in full.
The da capo aria depended for its success on the ability of the singer to improvise variations and ornaments during the third section, to keep it from being a mere repetition of the first.
Opera-ballet was a popular genre of French Baroque opera. It differed from the more elevated tragedie en musique as practised by Jean-Baptiste Lully in several ways. It contained more dance music than the tragedie and the plots were not necessarily derived from Classical mythology and even allowed for the comic elements which Lully had excluded from the tragedie en musique after Thesee (1675). The opera-ballet consisted of a prologue followed by a number of self-contained acts (also known as entrees), often loosely grouped round a single theme. The individual acts could also be performed independently, in which case they were known as actes de ballet.
Recitativo secco/accompagnato
The mostly syllabic recitativo secco (“dry”, accompanied only by continuo) is at one end of a spectrum through recitativo accompagnato (using orchestra), the more melismatic arioso.
In classical music, arioso is a style of solo opera singing between recitative and aria. Literally, arioso means airy. The term arose in the 16th century along with the aforementioned styles and monody. It is commonly confused with recitativo accompagnato. Arioso is similar to recitative due to its unrestrained structure and inflexions, close to those of speech. It differs however in its rhythm. Arioso is similar to aria in its melodic form, both being closer to singing than recitative; however they differ in form, arioso generally not resorting to the process of repetition.
Ground bass
Ground bass or basso ostinato (obstinate bass) is a type of variation form in which a bassline, or harmonic pattern is repeated as the basis of a piece underneath variations.