Term 1 Perspective Lessons & Assignments

3 Assignment 1.2 - Baroque Era

What is Baroque?

The word "baroque" comes from the Portuguese word "borocco" which means irregular or unique. Music in this era changed to be more elaborate and ornamented. People travelled across Europe more regularly and, by the 1600's, Western music was being composed and performed all over Europe. New centres of music developed in France, Germany, England, and in Italy. The Catholic Church had less control over society and new churches emerged that had different ideas and different styles of music.

Musical Instruments

Renaissance instruments like the luterecorder, and viol de gamba continued to be used in the Baroque period.

As the Baroque period went on, the recorder was eventually replaced by the flute. The baroque flute was a simple instrument made of wood. Another new instrument was the trumpet. Baroque trumpets were also simple and did not have valves like modern trumpets. The design of the violin was also established during this time. It was the melodic instrument of choice in the Baroque era.

The harpsichord, the grandfather of the modern piano, was a very popular instrument and many Baroque composers wrote music for it. The strings of a harpsichord are plucked, rather than hit with a felt hammer like on a piano, and that gave the instrument a unique sound.

The Baroque Orchestra

Before 1600, large groups of musicians were not favoured. Instead, smaller chamber groups of 4-8 musicians were the standard. The formal setting of the orchestra emerged in the Baroque era. It consisted of:

  • A harpsichord in the centre, who doubled as the conductor
  • Multiple strings (violin, viola, cello, bass)
  • Few woodwinds (flute, oboe, bassoon)
  • Very few brass (horn, trumpet)
  • Occasionally, lute and timpani drums were added

Assignment 1.2 - Baroque Era

Look at the pictures of the Baroque orchestra and the Modern orchestra. List the similarities and differences between the two. You can use a Venn Diagram or T-Chart, if you like.

Baroque Orchestra

Modern Orchestra

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