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
- Read pp. 205-6 carefully. Western Art Music is traditionally divided into style periods, and we'll use them to organize the information. Make a note of the style periods and their approximate dates. What factors have driven style change in art music? What roles have women had over the history of Western art music?
- Why "Western"? Why "Art"?
- What social institution dominated musical life in the Medieval era?
- Describe the use of music in the early Christian church.
- What is Gregorian Chant? What did Pope Gregory have to do with it?
- Describe the musical style of Gregorian chant (pp. 209-210). Understand the difference between syllabic (one note per syllable) and melismatic chant (several notes per syllable).
- What was the purpose of chant?
- We take the modern musical notation system for granted, but it didn't always look this way. Read about early notation.
- Who were the first known composers of polyphonic music? We'll listen to examples of their music in class.
- What was the Renaissance? What does the word "Renaissance" mean?
- Describe the musical style of Renaissance vocal music.
- What is counterpoint?
- What problem does polyphonic religious music create for the listener?
- The three main Renaissance vocal genres are Mass, motet, and madrigal. Study the characteristics of each.
- What's the difference between the Proper and the Ordinary of a Mass? What are the five parts of the Ordinary?
- Important Renaissance composers: Josquin des Prez (c. 1450-1521) and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525-1594).
- What is a cantus firmus?
- What do the terms "sacred" and "secular" mean? What does it mean for church music to be "sung in the vernacular"?
- What was the Reformation, and what effect did it have on music?
- Read about four important composers on pp. 218-19: Hildegard of Bingen, Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and Giovanni Gabrieli.
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 11general points:
- secular art music in court setting becomes important, along with sacred music
- growth of cities provides more musical performance contexts
- Baroque mindset is both scientific and methodical and emotional; the music reflects this
Baroque musical style
- homophonic texture is used more; polyphonic texture still important
- major-minor tonal system (tonality) develops during this period
- basso continuo used in many kinds of music: bass line and chords
- improvisation is important in realization of figured bass, in keyboard works, and in opera
- contrasts: loud/soft; different keys; theme/variations; texture; instrument types and groupings
- strong beat and clear meter
- melody is complex, developmental, instrumentally-conceived, and emotional and expressive
- tone painting is used in some pieces: representing the meaning of a text literally in music
- instrumental music becomes more important, orchestra develops
- important genres: opera, solo concerto, concerto grosso, oratorio, fugue, suite
- social status of the composer: craftsman and servant of the elite
- important composers: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
- musical form in this period tends to be standardized and logical, for two reasons: 1) Composers had to work quickly because of their patronage situation. Music had to be composed on demand and in large quantity. 2) The scientific worldview of the age favored a methodical approach to musical form.
- Functional harmony is an important part of the methodical Baroque approach to musical form. Functional harmony organizes the chords in a key into a system. The tonic or "home" chord is the most stable sounding chord. The other chords in the key support this chord and lead back to it. The last chord of a movement is usually the tonic chord.
- Instrumental music had higher status in the Baroque era than it did in the Renaissance. Composers wrote for interchangeable groups of instruments: the same work could be performed by a quartet of violins, or recorders. It is only in the Viennese Classical era that composers consistently specified exactly which instruments they wanted to play each part. Important Baroque instrumental genres include:
- solo concerto: single soloist contrasted with orchestra
- concerto grosso: small group of soloists (concertino) contrasted with orchestra (ripieno)
- passacaglia: variations on a bass line
- fugue: polyphonic composition for a fixed number of voices based on a single theme
- dance suite: collection of instrumental dances
- The special name for the theme of a fugue is "subject". Some fugues include a theme that is often heard along with the subject, called the countersubject. The exposition of a fugue presents the theme in all of the voices in turn. From that point on, subject entries alternate with sections of polyphonic music that don't include the subject, called "episodes".
- Composers and intellectuals in the early Baroque period looked for ways to make vocal music more expressive. They wanted to recreate the expressive power of poetry and drama in classical Greece and Rome, which was based on the skill of orators. They believed a solo singer could express emotions more clearly than a group of singers using word painting in a madrigal. The result was recitative, or musically heightened speech.
Opera was invented to set dramas to music in this new expressive style. The word "opera" is the plural form of "opus," Latin for "work". The word was applied to this new genre that included several different kinds of artistic "work". Operas included recitatives, arias, choruses, dances, costumes, and elaborate stage sets and machinery. Operas quickly became very popular. The first public opera house opened in 1637.
- The two main types of sacred Baroque vocal music are the oratorio and the cantata. An oratorio is an opera on a sacred or religious theme, presented in concert form without costumes or staging. A cantata is a smaller scale work, like an opera scene, also without staging. The chorus is featured prominently in both kinds of piece, since choral singing has long been an important part of religious services. Both oratorio and cantata use recitatives and arias in operatic 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:
- instrumental introduction (track 14)
- recitative, nonmetrical, accompanied only by the continuo (track 15)
- aria, metrical (track 16)
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.
- first entry of the subject (00:00-00:16)
- second entry of the subject (00:18-00:34)
- third entry of the subject (00:40-00:57)
- fourth entry of the subject (00:58-1:15)
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.
- subject entry in minor (1:24-1:44)
- subject entry in major (1:51-2:08)
- subject entry in major (2:19-2:36)
- subject entry in minor (2:53-3:11)
- subject entry in minor (3:39-4:00) the last entry of the subject
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:
cadence in a major key 1:09
statement of first motive in imitation 2:25
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%.
Music 190W page
This file was last modified on 16 May 2000.