Aspects of Baroque Style (II) – The Baroque Music Style and Techniques

Baroque music is emerged in 1600’s end nearly end in 1750’s and grouped as -early- middle- and late- baroque music. This era is become really important for the Western Music for the last 50 years, before that, it was not really cared.The period is remembered especially with “basso continuo” and “counterpoint”. In that period, it is really common that writing a bass line and a solo upon it, bass lines usually in dialogue with the upper parts. Composers were chosen bright and leading instruments which are the trumpet and the violin. In addition to these, making contrast (fast-slow, piano-forte) and dramatic elements are the basis characteristics of the Baroque Period. Contrast is a very significant content of the period, difference between the dynamics, orchestra – solo dialogues in the concertos.

In the score of the Baroque period, the performer cannot read every musical detail of the composing like dynamics or articulation because there are not much of them in the score. In modern era, it is performers’ choice how to play and interpret it. In the baroque period, the performers had already known and get used how to interpret it. There are a lot of differences between that period instruments and modern instruments because they are based on different structures so they sounded really differently. String instruments used “gut” strings which sounded sharper rather than the modern strings which cuddled up with metal. (modern strings sounded softer.)  In addition to different timbres, string instrument performers has to play softer with modern bows while doing crescendo-diminuendos and while playing the longer notes. Furthermore, vibrato should be use economically, especially in the important phrases, to emphasize a musical sentence or note.

In baroque period, the way of the orchestras’ tuning is also different than this year’s tune. It is like half-tone lower than this time’s tuning. It changes with early, middle and later baroque, or changes by countries. (France, Germany or Italy). In some recordings, orchestras or solo instruments do their tuning appropriate to the baroque style.



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