The Baroque period, which lasted for a century and half, is an important phase in the history of music.It is in this period that artists explored and developed a new realm of music, which, although was considered overtly ornamental and decorative during then, is now believed to be a significant era…
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The prominent musicians in the Baroque period were Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Frederic Handel, Arcangelo Corelli etc, of which the most important was Johann Sebastian Bach. The paper at hand is a music appreciation of J S Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto, which was composed by him for the Calvinist chapel of the court that promoted instrumental music. The Baroque period is unique in terms of its various characteristic traits including its mood, melody, rhythm, texture, articulation, dynamics, style, basso continuo, timbre etc. The Brandenburg Concertos is primarily a collection of six movements and here the focus is on movement number one. Thus, this paper tries to use these elements and show how J S Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos is representative of Baroque music. Although the exact date of composition of the Brandenburg Concertos is still a mystery, it is known that Johann Sebastian Bach presented them to the Margrave of Brandenburg in the year 1721. What makes this piece Baroque is mainly its composition in that period, however for modern people, it is important to know the exact features that make the concertos an apt example of Baroque music. First of all, the most distinct feature of Baroque music is probably its unity of mood, this means that the mood remains same throughout the composition. Now in case of the Brandenburg Concertos, one can see that this is true, as the first movement of the concertos has a kind of happy mood from beginning till the end. Therefore, a single expression or mood is projected and presented till the second movement, and this predominantly makes the Brandenburg Concertos characteristic of Baroque music. When one analyses the melody of the pieces composed during the Baroque area, they find that the melodic idea basically remains the same throughout the whole piece. There is a continuity that can be felt when one listens to Baroque music, and this is especially so in case of the Brandenburg concertos. The audience will find that the opening melody is followed till the end of that piece. Despite the fact that Baroque music is usually elaborate and complex, there is only a minimal use of the piano’s extreme notes and, furthermore, it is seen that there is no use of the technique of pedalling either. So in overall, the Baroque music gives off a very complicated vibe with a lot of ornamental notes, however, the listener can still recognize the distinct theme the musician is trying to reach out to him or her. In case of the rhythmic aspect of the music composed during the Baroque era, the listener will find that the rhythmic patterns are mostly repeated throughout the piece. Thus, in Brandenburg Concertos’ first movement, the audience can find that the melody has a distinct theme and at the same time the rhythm is often continuous too, that is, the “lively rhythm” patterns are reiterated in the course of the composition (GCSE Music, n.d., p.9). Therefore, it can be said that Baroque music has a continuous or constant rhythmic drive, where the beat and pulse of the song are clear as well as distinct and, furthermore, the song consists of regular rhythms, which at times are dotted. Focusing on the texture of the Baroque music, it becomes clear that such music mainly consists of polyphonic or contrapuntal texture. The piece of composition under study is reminiscent of baroque music as it is made up of different melodies that are played simultaneously. As opposed to playing one melody at a time, Baroque music is very complex in the sense that it plays polyphonic, which is two or more melodic lines played
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