Baroque Music Composers

The word "baroque" comes from the Italian word "barocco" which means bizarre. The Baroque period was a time when composers experimented with form, styles and instruments. This period saw the development of opera and instrumental music. Some notable composers during this period or those whose works represent Baroque music are:

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Johann Sebastian Bach. Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons

The Bach family is one of the most notable German musicians in history. Out of this lineage comes the celebrated composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach wrote more than 1,000 compositions in every genre except opera.

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Dietrich Buxtehude

Public Domain Image of Dietrich Buxtehude. from Wikimedia Commons

An organist and highly-regarded composer of church music who influenced other composers such as George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach is said to have walked from Thuringia to Lubeck (more than 200 miles) to hear him play.

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Arcangelo Corelli. Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons
During the High Baroque period, Italian opera became more expressive and expansive. During this time, the composer/violinist Arcangelo Corelli became known and music for the harpsichord was also given importance.

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Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre

One of the most notable women composers during the Baroque period. She was known as a gifted harpsichordist, improviser and composer.

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George Frideric Handel. Public Domain Portrait by Balthasar Denner from Wikimedia Commons
Composed operas and oratorios; the most famous of which is "Messiah." Handel also wrote cantatas based on the Italian style.

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Jean-Baptiste Lully

Public Domain Image of Jean-Baptiste Lully. from Wikimedia Commons
A violinist in Louis XIV’s court band and later became the King's court composer. Lully helped establish the French opera and overture styles. He is said to be very ambitious to the point of being ruthless and many intrigues followed him, especially at the height of his career.

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One of the great composers of the Baroque period and one of the great English composers. He wrote among others, operas, incidental stage music, chamber music including suites and sonatas, church music and court music.

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Jean-Philippe Rameau

Jean-Philippe Rameau. Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons
A French organist, harpsichord teacher, music theorist and composer. A very inspiring fact about this composer is that many of his works, especially his operas, were written when he was already in his 50s. Rameau was embroiled in several controversies; the first was brought about by those who supported the works of Lully and the second, by those who favored the style reflected in Pergolesi's works.

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Domenico Scarlatti

Portrait of Domenico Scarlatti by Domingo Antonio Velasco. Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons

An Italian composer of the Baroque period. He was a harpsichord virtuoso who wrote over 500 sonatas. His influence reverberates in the works of other composers such as Carlos de Seixas; a Portuguese composer of keyboard music.

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Heinrich Schütz

A German composer of the 17th century whose works influenced other composers after him, including Johann Sebastian Bach. His works include Italian madrigals, an opera, vocal and instrumental pieces.

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He was a composer, conductor, music teacher and writer of the late Baroque period. He was a prolific composer who wrote sacred and secular music. He was especially known for his church music. He was also known for reorganizing student music groups, holding public concerts and publishing his compositions.

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Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi. Public Domain Image from Wikimedia Commons
Believed to have invented the ritornello form; he was a virtuoso violinist, composer and maestro de’ concertin. Vivaldi influenced instrumental music during the latter part of the Baroque period.