Aspects of Baroque Style (V) – Tempo of Baroque music

In J. S. Bach’s “urtext”, the performer can understand how to interpret because his outstanding way of writing the chords and the order of scores explains how to use the bow and how to express notes into music line. Thanks to his spectacular style of composition and the demands he makes on the musician’s skills, we can clearly understand that Bach had a substantial connection with the contemporary standards of technique for the violin. But still, the hardest and the most important thing is to accomplish the right tempo, although for baroque music, there is no exact answer that what tempo should be chosen.After baroque period, later period composers found convenient tempos over time.

Firstly, acoustic affected the tempo very much because of the “resound” so performers may slow down in the fast movements to distinct and clarify the sound. Secondly, mood changes can provide which tempo should be used if we understand it from the text. For instance, when we see a tempo like “allegro” we directly think that it is probably a cheerful movement, on the other hand “adagio” or “andante” lead us to think that it is an emotional movement or a romantic movement. In my opinion, it has been found when the musicians play the score that it leads them to think the movement’s mood. However, every performer uses own creativity and show how s/he connected to the composer in what mood.

In 21st century, a universal tempo is accepted by people, so every performer plays approximately in the same tempo, and teaches us as in the same way by our professors.

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