Music 190W Week 11

Western Art Music to 1600


Music of the Baroque (1600-1750)


Chapters 10 and 11; Hacker topics: 17, 18, 19, 20


CD 2, tracks 9-22

This week we continue our study of Western art music. We've been referring to it often as we studied American folk, traditional, and popular music and several kinds of world music. When we studied oral traditions, for example, we compared them to Western art music, in which most of the music is composed and notated.

Now we begin addressing art music directly by learning about early music up to 1600, which includes the music of the Medieval Period (or Middle Ages), up to the early 1400s, and the Renaissance, approximately 1450-1600, and Music of the Baroque (1600-1750).

Self-study materials are included here for both chapters. The emphasis in our class meetings and in your quiz and writing assignment will be on chapter 11.

Study questions for chapter 10

Listening review for chapter 10

"Benedicta es" is a plainchant sequence that is representative of the style of Gregorian chant. Listen to the entire track (CD2, track 9).

The main listening goal is recognizing the pure melodic style of Gregorian chant or plainchant. This chant is syllabic. Page 223 shows the melodic contour of this entire selection. Notice how the melodic contour of the first line changes in the third and fifth verse while the other two lines stay the same. Follow the gentle rise and fall of the lines. This is relatively simple music, but the melodies are so well shaped that composers used them as the basis for more complex compositions for centuries.

"Gloria" from Missa Benedicta es by Palestrina, CD 2 tracks 10-11 Listen to the entire track.

This is polyphonic Renaissance sacred music, part of the Mass. The cantus firmus is the plainchant melody "Benedicta es."

Listen for the independent melodic lines (polyphonic texture). They join together on cadences (points of rest) in homophonic texture. Between cadences, there are points of imitation, where a phrase of text will be traded between the voices in polyphonic imitation.

"April is in My Mistress' Face," a Renaissance madrigal by Thomas Morley, CD 2 track 12

A madrigal is a secular composition based on a poem, with one person per voice part. The texture alternates between polyphonic and homophonic; the meter is duple (2 or four beats).

The text is very short. How does the musical setting of the text relate to the meaning of the text? We'll describe it and discuss in class. The timings are shown for those using portable CD players; use these links to cue the CDLink examples.

April is in my mistress' face, [0:00-0:17]

And July in her eyes hath place, [0:17-00:27]

Within her bosom is September, [0:27-0:44]

But in her heart a cold December. [0:44-1:26]

"The Frog Galliard" by John Dowland (1563-1626) track 13

A piece for lute. Listen for the antecedent/consequent phrase relationship in each pair of phrases: the first phrase ends with an open cadence, the second with a closed cadence. Listen also for the improvisatory feel. Baroque musicians improvised routinely.

phrases 1-2 (00:00-00:00:29)
phrases 3-4 (00:29-00:58)
phrases 5-6 (00:58-01:29)
phrases 7-8 (01:29-02:00)

Listen to the entire track.

Study guide for chapter 11

general points:

Baroque musical style

Listening review for chapter 11

"Le Sommeil d'Ulisse" by Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, CD 2 tracks 14-16

This is an excerpt from a French cantata. It demonstrates the difference between recitative and aria in the operatic style, which was new in this historical period.

Use these links to hear the three main sections:

J.S. Bach, "Little" Fugue in g minor, track 17

First, get to know the subject (main theme) of this fugue (00:00-00:16). It is shown below in standard musical notation, then in graphical notation, which can help you focus on the melodic contour if you don't read musical notation.

Then listen to the exposition, the first section of the fugue where the subject enters in all four voices, one after the other, from high to low range.

Now, listen to the entire track and try to hear when that subject returns. When you hear the subject, it's called a subject entry. When you don't, it's called an episode.

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, second movement, by J.S. Bach, tracks 18-19

This is the second movement of a three-movement concerto grosso, a work for soloists and orchestra. This slow movement features the three solo instruments (flute, violin, harpsichord).

This movement is built from the elaboration of two motives:

The first motive stated by violin, then flute (00:00-00:09).
The second motive stated by harpsichord (00:43-00:48).

Start the CD playing at track 18 and use the elapsed time to listen for these landmarks in the piece:

track 18
cadence 00:31
cadence in a major key 1:09
statement of first motive in imitation 2:25

track 19
extended section of dialogue between voices, modulation to new keys starts 00:00
return to tonic key and statement of original imitative motive 01:47
first motive heard again 02:41
ritard and V-I cadence in B minor 03:08

Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8 ("Christmas Concerto"), parts IV, V & VI, by Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

Use these three movements from a concerto grosso played by a small string orchestra with harpsichord to listen for Baroque style.

movement IV (track 20)
fast triple meter; mostly in minor mode; mostly homophonic texture (one prominent melody) with a strong bass line

movement V (track 21)
moderately fast duple meter; mostly in minor mode; trading between a few instruments (soft dynamics) and the full ensemble (louder dynamics)

movement VI (track 22)
slow duple meter, with each beat divided into three parts; major mode; as in all three movements, listen for sequence (replaying melodic/rhythmic idea starting on a new pitch)

Hacker handbook exercises

Read topic 17, on commas, and topic 18, on the semicolon and the colon. I realize that this may not be the most exciting reading, but these are aspects of writing you use in all the writing you do. Why not take the time to learn how to use them more consistently?

The quiz questions on the Hacker topics will ask which sentences use each of these three kinds of punctuation correctly.

Topic 19, the apostrophe, and Topic 20, quotation marks, include some of the most common errors I find in your writing. Please read these sections carefully. The quiz questions will ask you to identify correct and incorrect uses of apostrophes and quotation marks.


Take the quiz on Music to 1600 to prepare for the final exam questions drawn from this chapter. There is no writing assignment linked to this quiz, only a special picture when you score 100%. You will be asked about this picture on the Baroque Music quiz.

Take the quiz on Baroque Music. This one has the week 11 writing prompts included when you score 100%.

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This file was last modified on 16 May 2000.