Instrumental Baroque Music


The 17th and early 18th centuries saw a dramatic change in musical styles, particularly with regard to instrumental music. Until the early 1600s, instrumental music was secondary to music for voice. Words were a key part of music, with instruments serving largely as accompaniment. That began to change as technology brought about better instruments and more varied instruments capable of producing varying dynamics and with a wider range in tones. Increasingly, composers focused on the intricacies of instrumental music, in some cases using the instruments as a substitute for the human voice. The Baroque musical period, as this time became known, saw the rise of opera·particularly in Italy·and also gave rise to one of the greatest composers of Western music, Johann Sebastian Bach. It is with Bach's death that the period is generally considered to come to an end and the Classical period to begin. The 150 years designated the Baroque period borrows the title from architecture, and is marked by a time of increased energy and movement. To understand the Baroque musical styles, it is also necessary to understand the style that preceded it and which formed the basis for the Baroque "reaction." This research examines the key characteristics of the Baroque period in instrumental music.

The starting point of the new epoch is usually taken as the year 1600, when the Italian melodrama (opera) came into



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