Baroque music

Evaristo Baschenis, music instruments, center 17. Century

the period of the baroque music in the abendländischen art music, also designation as general bass ages, follows the Renaissance and extends from the beginning 17.into the center18. Century. It ranks among the old music.

The beginning of the musical baroque is marked by the compositions Claudio Monteverdis. A possible organization of the further period, which must being approximately regarded however only than, is as follows:

  • Early baroque(approx. 1600 to 1650), under Italian dominance;
  • High baroque (approx. 1650 to 1710), with important French influences;
  • Late baroque (approx. 1710 to 1750), with tendency for the combination of regional styles.

Totalculturally followed the phase Rococo; in the music had itself alreadystarting from the 1730er years the empfindsame style in such a way specified to establish begun. Starting from years music-historically the period of the Viennese classical period followed the 1780er .

Table of contents


at the beginning the 17. Century arising characteristics, which justify the beginning of a new music age, are Monodie (solo singing with meager company),the general bass and the kinds opera and Oratorium developed again.

composition techniques


was a characteristic of the time, to the form at least the same as much weight to measure out as contents. During the baroque emanzipierte itself - beforestrictly to the singing coupled - instrument valley music. This shows up in „konzertanten principle “, which cooperating and competing voices moved (vocal like instrument valley). „The Concerto Grosso developed “, that the solistische („Concertino “) and chorische (orchestra, „Tutti “) Konzertieren of groups of instruments designates. Further important musical forms, which were formed in the baroque age, were Passacaglia, Chaconne, joint, Sonate, solo concert, Kantate and passion.
Operas were in the baroque popular music. Straight if so oneOpera was successful, arranged one from the dance sets of Ouverturen, also Suiten contained in it mentioned, - one can speak here quite of „uncoupling “. Menuette and other dance sets were afterwards gladly written the text also. Like that is z. B. delivered that itin of Paris at the beginning 18. Century an interpreter gave, who at the same time sang Menuette and danced.


the musical language and melody formation was based on a rich system of figures, to a musical Rhetorik corresponded and on „Affekte “coupledwere, i.e. tried, to point human mind conditions out. When only one is under very many possible examples the chromatically descending bass LINE (passage duriusculus) mentioned, which was again and again gladly used, if a complaint singing were to be composed.
A possibly meeting characterisation of theCircumstances comes from Nikolaus Harnoncourt and is here after the sense quoted: „The music of the baroque speaks, which paints after-baroque music “.
Particularly in the early baroque the venezianische Mehrchörigkeit - making music including the spatial distribution - was resumed.


Already in the Middle Ages developed and in the Renaissance the Polyphonie, thus the Zusammenklingen of independently led melody lines, led to their completion, found broad use in the baroque. To these melody voices stepped usually the general bass, in a special number notation a noted,continuous and improvisatorische company by instruments such as sounds or Cembalo, frequently strengthens by a further bass instrument such as cello or rare bassoons. Often these polyp-hone structure imitatorisch composed, for example in joints.
The entire concert set became by thatOpening motive melodisch as rhythmically coined/shaped; Ritornelle of the Tutti arranged the global process. A steady repetition of rhythmic and melodischer small motives (Motorik) led to a firm stress order and accent arrangement, to the clock. As characteristic conclusion idioms for the formal arrangement and demarcationclear ranges of kind of clay/tone (Dur and Moll Tonarten) cadences served.

Sound theory

the baroque music was coined/shaped by the investigation of the Chromatik. The common kinds of church clay/tone were limited to Dur and Moll; mitteltönige and later tendencies also kept at a moderate temperature arose.


thosebaroque forms today still common instruments differ in the sound considerably from their descendants, since completely different sound ideal was present, with whom instruments of the human voice remind should. Caper instruments (baroque violin), in addition, Holzbläser sounded generally more quietly, lessradiating and load-carrying, but however more softly and modulation in the tone quality.

The large instrument wealth of the Renaissance shrank in the baroque. Instruments such as tines, Dulzian and other wind instruments could still hold themselves some time in the Stadtpfeifereien. Lires, Fideln and lastalso the Gamben disappeared from the caper instruments and by the violin family was replaced.

That on caper instruments developed and with wind instruments supplemented orchestras began itself to standardize - in gradual break with free and changing instrument valley occupations of the Renaissance.
Key instruments how Cembalo and organ experienced an extension of their extent and/or. their registers and an improvement of their mechanics.

important representatives

see also: List of baroque composers

early baroque

at the beginning of the baroque stands for Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), alsocomposition-technical innovations and the development of new music kinds pioneer work carried out. It combined all in the late Renaissance appearing new developments as a first composer.Heinrich contactor (1585-1672) took itself the new Italian style to the model and connected it with the styles to thatGerman language, which brought in for it as first German composer European call.

Together with contactor January Pieterszoon Sweelinck ( 1562-1621) exerted large influence, which partly settled in the works of its pupils.

In the consequence some instrument aluminum and vowel forms became underother one by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643), Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623-1680) considerably coined/shaped.

high baroque

the music life late 17. Century became relevant by Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) to yards of Ludwig XIV.coined/shaped. In-usual music Lullys,those above all the enthusiasm for dance of this epoch satisfied, coined/shaped „the baroque “within all everyday life ranges. As typically French musical form the Suite is mentioned, great importance had also the ballet.

Contrary to the popular, dance-stressed style Lullys stood in the high baroquethe rather intellectual and perhaps „progressive “Italian music, whose most distinguished representative was Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713).

In Germany the music was coined/shaped particularly by the composers of the north German organ school, whose most representative representative was Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). From the religious concerthere the Kantate developed.

In England developed under Henry Purcell and other one a completely own style.

late baroque

developed in the high baroque the music still independently in different regions of Europe, then drew the late baroque througha borderspreading spreading of the styles out. In the German area George Philipp Telemann ( 1681-1767) introduced this development and finally became „the icon “among the clay/tone artists. Further famous clay/tone creators of the late baroque were Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Adolph hate. InSaxonia and Thuringia enjoyed also Johann Sebastian brook (1685-1750) celebrity.

Particularly in the late baroque operas enjoyed of large popularity. In England above all George Friedrich trade ( 1685-1759) within this range was productive.

With death Telemanns and other last representatives thatfrom German baroque music into the 1770er years shrank also the popularity from feeling seeds or „galanten “style in favor of the Viennese classical period.

mental background

typical for the time of the baroque is the absolutism, its purest expression toYards Ludwig XIV. and its cultural work in completely Europe found was imitated. The culture flowered under feudalistischer promotion up, and in buildings, garden plants and other one the representative and monumental one were aimed at up to the exaggerating.

The designation of this epochthat comes and from the Portuguese „barroca “- an ambiguous term. A. Tongefässe, in addition, loam/rubble means. However „barocca “the later Italian variant is here already exclusive - than designation of the baroque epoch. The expression baroque is in any case onerather unfriendly title, which became only in neighbour ochers time the name mentioned epoch. Frischs Teutsch=Frantzösi dictionary („other edition “, 1719) designation „baroque “as a bead, „those not gantz round “is.

Otherwise the contemporary of the baroque felt as a representative of onemodern, unlocked, „galanten “time. The fact, which the style term stands „for baroque “for quite different time currents, is problematic. The early baroque was inclined rather to the crude one, Rauen - complete contrary to the Galanterie of the high baroque. The designation „late baroque “is likewise problematic, because theselater epochs actually overlaps, those its own name have (Regence, Rococo).

In the arts of the baroque time one was interested in particular for it to express and in firm forms represent the different human tendencies (Affekte).
Oneone had special preference for the Allegorie, which „symbol-eat “. The ideals of the Galanterie were meant actually moral philosophical. It concerned thereby simply the regulation of human living together: Consideration, Zuvorkommenheit, politeness, bearing SAMness. But „leichtlebige “mind already at that time interpreted the nature of theGalanten to a way of life over, which was considered to take that in each case different sex with pretended behaviour for itself. Religious Schwärmer took this again to the cause to subordinate well-known galanten ladies and gentlemen generally sündhafte intentions. Here that shows upContradictory one of the baroque: On the side it stands for joy of life, desire - on the other hand one also always pushes strictly asketische attitudes (see and. A.Pietismus).

With the death of the sun king (1715) then the time feeling seemed itself changedto have. In the mode pierced starting from approximately 1715 completely new accents: the baroque said good-bye slowly and it clears the Regence style on around the center of the century replaced to the Rococo, however those blur within the music-historical rangeTerms „baroque “and „Rococo “.

modern trend Rezeption


after the end of the baroque age was regarded baroque music as outdated and was not no more specified, whereby the performance tradition was interrupted. Only in the process 19. Century began oneto be interested again in now „the old persons masters “; the motive for it essentially lay in the romantic turn to a mythisch made a sea protest Vorzeit, from which the own (also national) identity should be explained.

An important milestone for Wiederentdeckung thatBaroque music was the reperformance of Johann Sebastian of brook matte house passion 1829 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The work was submitted drastic working on (instrumenting, shortening), since it was not reasonable felt in its original form as. Besides simply the up-to-date usual instruments became,Play techniques and orchestra sizes assigned. This „romantic “performance tradition lived years (and in individual cases until today) into the 1970er - away.

today's aspect

with the Wiederentdeckung of brook Oeuvre became the foundation-stone for into the today's timehanding posthume celebrity of brook put, whose works are still considered as epitome and partial completion of the baroque. However brook was well-known during lifetimes hardly outside from Saxonia and Thuringia. Starting from years ever more Notendrucke and manuscripts of others dipped the 1950erClay/tone creators up, that besides relate the music-historical meaning of brook. Above all the popular interest in brook, which was satisfied by a large selection of clay/tone carriers, help nevertheless to the Wiederentdeckung of the baroque.

The current interpretation of baroque music essentially becomes ofMusicians made, who try to begin in the context of historical performance practice in such a way specified this music own means and play ways. Each interpreter of baroque music is nowadays aware of these realizations, even if in individual cases compromises concerning the which are used meansare received or also consciously differently one decides.

With the historical performance practice, which was at first smiled at and only approximately into the 1970er years interspersed itself, it came also to an increasing opening of the baroque repertoire. Today world-wide similarly many becomeClay/tone carrier of the old music - under it in particular the baroque - like the classical music of following epochs sells.

See also: List of baroque interpreter


  • Isolde Ahlgrimm: To the today's performance practice of the baroque music, in: Organa austriaca, 2 (1979),S. To 1-36
  • Inge-borrow allit (Hrsg.): Baroque music leader. Instrument valley music 1550 - 1770, Metzler, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-476-00979-3
  • Robert Haas: The music of the baroque, VG Athenaion, potsdam, 1979, ISBN 3-7997-0728-X
  • Hans's J. Moser: The sounding foundation-stone. The fate of the German baroque musicin twelve narrations, Essener publishing house, meal, 1937

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