Skip to main content

Do You Know What Bach Knew? Music Invention in the Baroque Era

Classical music from the Baroque era set the groundwork for contemporary classical music
The Baroque Period in classical music boasted the creation of opera, the abandonment of the church modes, and new exciting musical forms like the Baroque Suite. Music from the Baroque from classical composers like Bach, Monteverdi, Strozzi, and Purcell shared several major characteristics common to all works of the Baroque period. The Baroque Era lasted from 1600-1750 (or the year that Bach died). Although many of these musical innovations occurred centuries in the past, contemporary compositions owe much to the developments of the Baroque Era.

While monophony prevailed during the early Baroque period, music of the late Baroque Era embraced more complex polyphony than even the complex lines of the Renaissance. Monophony essentially involves a single line with accompaniment. Monophony prevailed in opera, however, since understanding text and drama is essential to understanding the complex plots of most operas. Polyphony, with several complex musical lines crossing and countering each other, makes understanding text purely secondary. Therefore, while monophony was a mainstay of the Baroque opera (and operas of the following classical eras until the 20th century), polyphony made up the bulk of late Baroque compositions.

The Western view of harmony developed into our current minor and major scales during the Baroque period. Prior to this, compositions used what is called church modes, such as the Dorian mode or the Ionian mode (which later became the Major Scale). Composers became interested in creating beautiful music not only in the polyphonic lines, but through harmony and specific harmonic progressions. Typically these progressions involved some sort of move from tonic to dominant, and possibly back again. Even Bach's complex fugues maintained vertical structure throughout.

Although the complex polyphony of the Baroque era, such as the three-part fugue, are not en vogue today, classical composers still study the complex lines of the Baroque. Mastering fugues and canons is part of any serious classical composer's formal training, and even though the 20th century saw a dismissal of many harmonic functions (such as atonality and chance music), most classical music works, even contemporary works, still revolve around the harmonic functions of the Baroque Era from over two centuries ago.

The Baroque era in classical music gave contemporary composers many musical innovations, such as traditional harmony, complex polyphony, suites, and opera. Composers like Bach, Monteverdi, Strozzi, and Purcell enjoy popularity even today. Contemporary composers have learned much from the Baroque masters and mistresses. The Baroque classical composition will continue to play an important role in classical music for many centuries to come.

Award-winning composer Sabrina Pena Young is a foremost expert on Virtual Opera Production and Music Technology. A sought after consultant and speaker in music, arts, and technology, Young continues to push musical boundaries. Critics have called her "Wagner 2.0"and "Talented" with her works presented at Art Basil Miami, Opera America in NYC. the Beijing Conservatory, ICMC, London's Angel Moving Image Festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, SEAMUS, the NY International Independent Film Festival, Miramax's Project Greenlight, TEDxBuffalo, the Holland Animation Film Festival, TEDx, and countless venues in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.





Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 Mistakes When Writing for Percussion

Top 10 Mistakes When Writing for Percussionby Sabrina Young
10. Indicating the wrong mallets for an instrument.Brass mallets on vibes? Try a hammer on a violin!

9. Writing the glockenspiel part as heard.You shouldn't have to climb a ladder of leger lines to read a glock part. Keep it in the staff.

8. When in doubt, adding more suspended cymbal.This is a huge mistake made by arrangers. Yep, cymbals add automatic intensity to a piece, but so can a bass drum roll, a rousing hand drum part, exciting mallet licks, or a hundred other combinations. Well-written percussion parts stand out in the band and church repertoire.

7. Better means more complicated, right?This is my main mistake. A percussion part can be simple enough for a middle school, but it is the ability to use the different tone colors of the percussion palette properly that indicates a maturity in writing, not that impossible part for the timpanist that has them playing timpani, gong, crash cymbals, and triangle in the span of…

Music Industry Insider: 50 Ways to Make Money as a Musician

50 Ways to Make Money as a MusicianWant to have a musical career but not sure how to make money as a musician in today's market? Well, first you need to redefine your goals as a musician and realize that like any job, being a musician involves a lot of work, perseverance, and talent. And in today's Digital Age, you need to be able to combine your skills to help you make a living as a musician. You will probably need to select at least a dozen forms of income and micro-incomes in order to make a full time living as a musician or choose a primary steady gig and add on other projects (what most musicians have done for centuries). 

Each method of making money has a $, $$, $$$ or S for work that will make you a little pocket money ($), possibly significant money - hundreds to thousands ($$), at least part time or possible full time work ($$$), or is steady work (S). Notice that none of these options involve making millions of dollars so you can drive around in a diamond-crusted limo…

Top 5 Tips Submitting Your Indie Film to Film Festival in 2019

Top 5 Tips for Film Festival Submissions in 2019 You just finished your film! So now what? Sure, you can show your friends and family, even put it up on YouTube. But why don't you try getting it out to a much wider audience? Indie filmmakers and student filmmakers can have their movies shown around the globe at film festivals.

Film festivals run the gamut of red carpet affairs like Sundance and Cannes to more local events, online festivals, and university-led events. For example, in Buffalo, there are a number of incredible film festivals like the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival (a local film fest that has a special love for all horror and science fiction), the NCCC Film and Animation (a great venue for students and local film networking), and other film festivals like the Buffalo International Film Festival and the 48 hour Film Festival. 

The 48 Hour Film Festival is a worldwide phenomenon where filmmakers get together and create a film in, you guessed it, 48 hours! Best of …