Baroque Music: The Critique Of The Baroque Ear

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The Baroque Masters lecture performance by Dr. Yelena Grinberg showcased a selection of keyboard works composed during the Baroque Ear (1600-1750) by t Baroque Masters George Frederic Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, and Johann Sebastian Bach. The ideal of the Baroque period was that music should not only be pleasing, but it must also induce very strong, visceral emotions and stir the passions of the soul. Some important features of the Baroque ear are the precise and elevated rhythms, clear and defined meter, irregular or embellished melodies, and an enriched and unified texture which was he together by the ongoing ground bass known as basso continuo. Although each of these Baroque Masters composed music that was highly reflective of the Baroque…show more content…
Grinberg played Partita No.4 in D Major (1728) by renowned composer J.S Bach. Bach was a prolific composer, composing over 1,000 compositions for the keyboard, and is revered for his work 's musical complexities and stylistic innovations. The partita that was played was one of his six partitas, which are stylized dance suites. Like Scarlatti’s sonatas, Bach’s partitas were originally composed for keyboard practice; they were not intended to be performed. Also similar to Scarlatti’s sonatas, Bach’s partita was cast in the popular baroque binary form. The Partita was spontaneous in structure; each movement began with a different structure. The partita opened with a French overture. The first movement had a slow, dotted rhythm, while the second movement exhibited a livelier rhythm with imitative polyphony, a texture that was favored in Baroque compositions. Next there were two dance suites, an Allemande moderately paced in quadruple meter, followed by a Courante, which is paced in triple meter for a livelier beat. Like Scarlatti, Bach’s musical works were also creative and inventive, making them somewhat ahead of their time. After the two dance suites, Bach added an unusual additional movement titles “Air” which took the form of an area. The remaining three dance suites were a Spanish Sarabande, the same dance suite that Handel used in his Chaconne in G major. The Sarabande uses a chromatic scale with dissonant harmonies, which we hear a lot of in the Baroque era. Next came a French minuet, cast in triple meter. Later on in the Classical period, every symphony and string quartet would include a minuet as the moderate third movement. The fourth and final movement of the Partita was an exhilarating gigue in which Bach creatively inverted the subject. Although this was a particularly long piece, Bach’s rhythmic vitality and creativity made this work very festive and enjoyable to listen

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