Baroque Music Timeline

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The word "baroque" comes from the Italian word "barocco" which means bizarre. This word was first used to describe the style of architecture mainly in Italy during the 17th and 18th century. Later on, the word baroque was used to describe the music styles of the 1600s to the 1700s.

Composers of the Period

Composers of the time period included Johann Sebastian BachGeorge Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, among others.

This period saw the development of opera and instrumental music.

This style of music immediately follows the renaissance-style of music and is a precursor to the classical style of music.

Baroque Instruments

Usually carrying the song where a basso continuo group, which consisted of a chord-playing instrumentalist like a harpsichord or lute and bass-type instruments carrying the bassline, like a cello or double bass.

A characteristic baroque form was the dance suite. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed for listening, not for accompanying dancers.

Baroque Music Timeline

The baroque period was a time when composers experimented with form, styles, and instruments. The violin was also considered an important musical instrument during this time.

Significant YearsFamous MusiciansDescription
1573Jacopo Peri and Claudio Monteverdi (Florentine Camerata)The first known meeting of the Florentine Camerata, a group of musicians who came together to discuss various subjects including the arts. It is said that the members were interested in reviving the Greek dramatic style. Both the monodies and the opera are believed to have come out from their discussions and experimentation.
1597

Giulio Caccini, Peri, and Monteverdi

This is the period of early opera which lasts until 1650. Opera is generally defined as a stage presentation or work that combines music, costumes, and scenery to relay a story. Most operas are sung, with no spoken lines. During the baroque period, operas were derived from ancient Greek tragedy and there was often an overture at the beginning, with a solo part and both an orchestra and chorus. Some examples of early operas are two performances of "Eurydice" by Jacopo Peri and the other by Giulio Caccini. Another popular opera was "Orpheus" and "Coronation of Poppea" by Claudio Monteverdi.
1600CacciniStart of monody which will last until the 1700s. Monody refers to an accompanied solo music. Examples of early monody can be found in the book "Le Nuove Musiche" by Giulio Caccini. The book is a collection of songs for the figured bass and solo voice, it also included madrigals. "Le Nuove Musiche" is considered one of Caccini's most important works.
1650Luigi Rossi, Giacomo Carissimi, and Francesco CavalliDuring this middle baroque era, musicians did a lot of improvisation. The basso continuo or figured bass is music created by combining keyboard music and one or more bass instruments. The period from 1650 to 1750 is known as the Age of Instrumental Music where other forms of music developed including the suite, cantata, oratorio, and sonata. The most important innovators of this style were the Romans Luigi Rossi and Giacomo Carissimi, who were primarily composers of cantatas and oratorios, respectively, and the Venetian Francesco Cavalli, who was principally an opera composer.
1700Arcangelo Corelli, Johann Sebastian Bach, and George Frideric HandelUntil 1750 this is known as the high baroque period. Italian opera became more expressive and expansive. The composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli became known and music for the harpsichord was also given importance. Bach and Handel are known as the figures of the late baroque music. Other forms of music like the canons and fugues evolved during this time.