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 being, and its end is generally considered to have come with the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750. The history of music underwent extraordinary changes in this century and a half during which forms that were to exist for hundreds of years were devised, and the structure of harmony was established on foundations that lasted into much later times.
In music, the term Baroque has been used to describe a certain concept of art, a stylistic idiom, but also a method of composition built on a specific component, the basso continuo. Described in simple terms, such compositions consist of a melodic line and a continuous accompaniment in a set form, often played by a cello or double bass. This type of composition is quite different from that of the preceding period·the Renaissance·when the emphasis was placed on polyphony; that is, music in which there are several parts of equal importance ("Baroque").
In Renaissance music, there is a fixed structure that was strictly adhered to by composers. This style was often taught in schools, and deviation was not tolerated by audiences or patrons. Baroque music was a reaction to...