Italian Arias Of The Baroque And Classical Eras Pdf


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The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly and The Classical period falls between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and is less complex.

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture , including both liturgical religious and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from to the Classical period , this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods.

Music Appreciation

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly and The Classical period falls between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. Classical music has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music and is less complex. It is mainly homophonic , using a clear melody line over a subordinate chordal accompaniment , [2] but counterpoint was by no means forgotten, especially later in the period.

It also makes use of style galant which emphasized light elegance in place of the Baroque's dignified seriousness and impressive grandeur. Variety and contrast within a piece became more pronounced than before and the orchestra increased in size, range, and power.

The harpsichord was replaced as the main keyboard instrument by the piano or fortepiano. Unlike the harpsichord, which plucks strings with quills, pianos strike the strings with leather-covered hammers when the keys are pressed, which enables the performer to play louder or softer hence the original name "fortepiano," literally "loud soft" and play with more expression; in contrast, the force with which a performer plays the harpsichord keys does not change the sound.

Instrumental music was considered important by Classical period composers. The main kinds of instrumental music were the sonata , trio , string quartet , quintet , symphony performed by an orchestra and the solo concerto , which featured a virtuoso solo performer playing a solo work for violin, piano, flute, or another instrument, accompanied by an orchestra. Vocal music, such as songs for a singer and piano notably the work of Schubert , choral works , and opera a staged dramatic work for singers and orchestra were also important during this period.

Beethoven is regarded either as a Romantic composer or a Classical period composer who was part of the transition to the Romantic era. In the middle of the 18th century, Europe began to move toward a new style in architecture , literature, and the arts, generally known as Classicism. This style sought to emulate the ideals of Classical antiquity , especially those of Classical Greece.

In contrast with the richly layered music of the Baroque era, Classical music moved towards simplicity rather than complexity. In addition, the typical size of orchestras began to increase, [3] giving orchestras a more powerful sound.

The remarkable development of ideas in " natural philosophy " had already established itself in the public consciousness. In particular, Newton's physics was taken as a paradigm: structures should be well-founded in axioms and be both well-articulated and orderly.

This taste for structural clarity began to affect music, which moved away from the layered polyphony of the Baroque period toward a style known as homophony , in which the melody is played over a subordinate harmony. As a result, the tonal structure of a piece of music became more audible. The new style was also encouraged by changes in the economic order and social structure.

As the 18th century progressed, the nobility became the primary patrons of instrumental music, while public taste increasingly preferred lighter, funny comic operas. This led to changes in the way music was performed, the most crucial of which was the move to standard instrumental groups and the reduction in the importance of the continuo —the rhythmic and harmonic groundwork of a piece of music, typically played by a keyboard harpsichord or organ and usually accompanied by a varied group of bass instruments, including cello , double bass , bass viol , and theorbo.

One way to trace the decline of the continuo and its figured chords is to examine the disappearance of the term obbligato , meaning a mandatory instrumental part in a work of chamber music. In Baroque compositions, additional instruments could be added to the continuo group according to the group or leader's preference; in Classical compositions, all parts were specifically noted, though not always notated , so the term "obbligato" became redundant. By , basso continuo was practically extinct, except for the occasional use of a pipe organ continuo part in a religious Mass in the early s.

Economic changes also had the effect of altering the balance of availability and quality of musicians. While in the late Baroque, a major composer would have the entire musical resources of a town to draw on, the musical forces available at an aristocratic hunting lodge or small court were smaller and more fixed in their level of ability.

This was a spur to having simpler parts for ensemble musicians to play, and in the case of a resident virtuoso group, a spur to writing spectacular, idiomatic parts for certain instruments, as in the case of the Mannheim orchestra , or virtuoso solo parts for particularly skilled violinists or flautists. In addition, the appetite by audiences for a continual supply of new music carried over from the Baroque. This meant that works had to be performable with, at best, one or two rehearsals.

Even after Mozart writes about "the rehearsal", with the implication that his concerts would have only one rehearsal. Since there was a greater emphasis on a single melodic line, there was greater emphasis on notating that line for dynamics and phrasing. This contrasts with the Baroque era, when melodies were typically written with no dynamics, phrasing marks or ornaments, as it was assumed that the performer would improvise these elements on the spot.

In the Classical era, it became more common for composers to indicate where they wanted performers to play ornaments such as trills or turns. The simplification of texture made such instrumental detail more important, and also made the use of characteristic rhythms, such as attention-getting opening fanfares, the funeral march rhythm, or the minuet genre, more important in establishing and unifying the tone of a single movement. The Classical period also saw the gradual development of sonata form , a set of structural principles for music that reconciled the Classical preference for melodic material with harmonic development, which could be applied across musical genres.

The sonata itself continued to be the principal form for solo and chamber music, while later in the Classical period the string quartet became a prominent genre. The symphony form for orchestra was created in this period this is popularly attributed to Joseph Haydn. The concerto grosso a concerto for more than one musician , a very popular form in the Baroque era, began to be replaced by the solo concerto , featuring only one soloist.

Composers began to place more importance on the particular soloist's ability to show off virtuoso skills, with challenging, fast scale and arpeggio runs. Nonetheless, some concerti grossi remained, the most famous of which being Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat major. In the classical period, the theme consists of phrases with contrasting melodic figures and rhythms.

These phrases are relatively brief, typically four bars in length, and can occasionally seem sparse or terse. The texture is mainly homophonic , [2] with a clear melody above a subordinate chordal accompaniment , for instance an Alberti bass.

This contrasts with the practice in Baroque music , where a piece or movement would typically have only one musical subject, which would then be worked out in a number of voices according to the principles of counterpoint , while maintaining a consistent rhythm or metre throughout. As a result, Classical music tends to have a lighter, clearer texture than the Baroque. The classical style draws on the style galant , a musical style which emphasised light elegance in place of the Baroque's dignified seriousness and impressive grandeur.

Structurally, Classical music generally has a clear musical form , with a well-defined contrast between tonic and dominant , introduced by clear cadences. Dynamics are used to highlight the structural characteristics of the piece. In particular, sonata form and its variants were developed during the early classical period and was frequently used.

The Classical approach to structure again contrasts with the Baroque, where a composition would normally move between tonic and dominant and back again, but through a continual progress of chord changes and without a sense of "arrival" at the new key.

While counterpoint was less emphasised in the classical period, it was by no means forgotten, especially later in the period, and composers still used counterpoint in "serious" works such as symphonies and string quartets, as well as religious pieces, such as Masses. The classical musical style was supported by technical developments in instruments.

The widespread adoption of equal temperament made classical musical structure possible, by ensuring that cadences in all keys sounded similar. The fortepiano and then the pianoforte replaced the harpsichord , enabling more dynamic contrast and more sustained melodies.

Over the Classical period, keyboard instruments became richer, more sonorous and more powerful. The orchestra increased in size and range, and became more standardised. The harpsichord or pipe organ basso continuo role in orchestra fell out of use between and , leaving the string section woodwinds became a self-contained section, consisting of clarinets , oboes , flutes and bassoons.

While vocal music such as comic opera was popular, great importance was given to instrumental music. The main kinds of instrumental music were the sonata , trio , string quartet , quintet , symphony , concerto usually for a virtuoso solo instrument accompanied by orchestra , and light pieces such as serenades and divertimentos. Sonata form developed and became the most important form. It was used to build up the first movement of most large-scale works in symphonies and string quartets.

Sonata form was also used in other movements and in single, standalone pieces such as overtures. In his book The Classical Style , author and pianist Charles Rosen claims that from to , composers groped for a new style that was more effectively dramatic. In the High Baroque period, dramatic expression was limited to the representation of individual affects the "doctrine of affections", or what Rosen terms "dramatic sentiment".

For example, in Handel's oratorio Jephtha , the composer renders four emotions separately, one for each character, in the quartet "O, spare your daughter". Eventually this depiction of individual emotions came to be seen as simplistic and unrealistic; composers sought to portray multiple emotions, simultaneously or progressively, within a single character or movement "dramatic action". Musically speaking, this "dramatic action" required more musical variety. Whereas Baroque music was characterized by seamless flow within individual movements and largely uniform textures, composers after the High Baroque sought to interrupt this flow with abrupt changes in texture, dynamic, harmony, or tempo.

Among the stylistic developments which followed the High Baroque, the most dramatic came to be called Empfindsamkeit , roughly " sensitive style " , and its best-known practitioner was Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. Composers of this style employed the above-discussed interruptions in the most abrupt manner, and the music can sound illogical at times.

The Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti took these developments further. His more than five hundred single-movement keyboard sonatas also contain abrupt changes of texture, but these changes are organized into periods, balanced phrases that became a hallmark of the classical style. However, Scarlatti's changes in texture still sound sudden and unprepared. The outstanding achievement of the great classical composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven was their ability to make these dramatic surprises sound logically motivated, so that "the expressive and the elegant could join hands.

Between the death of J. Bach and the maturity of Haydn and Mozart roughly — , composers experimented with these new ideas, which can be seen in the music of Bach's sons. Johann Christian developed a style which we now call Roccoco , comprising simpler textures and harmonies, and which was "charming, undramatic, and a little empty.

Bach's eldest son, extended Baroque traditions in an idiomatic, unconventional way. At first the new style took over Baroque forms—the ternary da capo aria , the sinfonia and the concerto —but composed with simpler parts, more notated ornamentation, rather than the improvised ornaments that were common in the Baroque era, and more emphatic division of pieces into sections.

However, over time, the new aesthetic caused radical changes in how pieces were put together, and the basic formal layouts changed. Composers from this period sought dramatic effects, striking melodies, and clearer textures. One of the big textural changes was a shift away from the complex, dense polyphonic style of the Baroque, in which multiple interweaving melodic lines were played simultaneously, and towards homophony , a lighter texture which uses a clear single melody line accompanied by chords.

Baroque music generally uses many harmonic fantasies and polyphonic sections that focus less on the structure of the musical piece, and there was less emphasis on clear musical phrases. In the classical period, the harmonies became simpler. However, the structure of the piece, the phrases and small melodic or rhythmic motives, became much more important than in the Baroque period. Another important break with the past was the radical overhaul of opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck , who cut away a great deal of the layering and improvisational ornaments and focused on the points of modulation and transition.

By making these moments where the harmony changes more of a focus, he enabled powerful dramatic shifts in the emotional color of the music. To highlight these transitions, he used changes in instrumentation orchestration , melody, and mode. Among the most successful composers of his time, Gluck spawned many emulators, including Antonio Salieri.

Their emphasis on accessibility brought huge successes in opera, and in other vocal music such as songs, oratorios, and choruses. These were considered the most important kinds of music for performance and hence enjoyed greatest public success. The phase between the Baroque and the rise of the Classical around , was home to various competing musical styles. The diversity of artistic paths are represented in the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach : Wilhelm Friedemann Bach , who continued the Baroque tradition in a personal way; Johann Christian Bach , who simplified textures of the Baroque and most clearly influenced Mozart; and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach , who composed passionate and sometimes violently eccentric music of the Empfindsamkeit movement.

Musical culture was caught at a crossroads: the masters of the older style had the technique, but the public hungered for the new. This is one of the reasons C. Bach was held in such high regard: he understood the older forms quite well and knew how to present them in new garb, with an enhanced variety of form.

By the late s there were flourishing centers of the new style in Italy, Vienna, Mannheim, and Paris; dozens of symphonies were composed and there were bands of players associated with musical theatres.

Classical music

During the period, composers and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation, made changes in musical notation, and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today. Early Medieval c. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement about time boundaries of the period, especially concerning when it began. Bach under a single rubric. Nevertheless, the term has become widely used and accepted for this broad range of music.

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An Authoritative Edition Based on Authentic Sources. Ed. John Glenn Paton. Low Voice Book. A sampling of the world's greatest Baroque and Classical arias.


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The Baroque period is divided into three major phases: early, middle, and late. Overlapping in time, they are conventionally dated from to , from to , and from to Baroque music forms a major portion of the " classical music " canon , and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. The term " baroque " comes from the Portuguese word barroco , meaning " misshapen pearl ".

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An aria is a formal musical composition unlike its counterpart, the recitative. The typical context for arias is opera , but vocal arias also feature in oratorios and cantatas , sharing features of the operatic arias of their periods. The term was originally used to refer to any expressive melody , usually, but not always, performed by a singer. By the end of the 16th century, the term 'aria' refers to an instrumental form cf. By the early 16th century it was in common use as meaning a simple setting of strophic poetry; melodic madrigals , free of complex polyphony , were known as madrigale arioso. In the context of staged works and concert works, arias evolved from simple melodies into structured forms. In such works, the sung, melodic, and structured aria became differentiated from the more speech-like parlando recitative — broadly, the latter tended to carry the story-line, the former carried more emotional freight and became an opportunity for singers to display their vocal talent.


A sampling of the world's greatest Baroque and Classical arias. In addition to offering fascinating background information about the arias and their composers,​.


Classical period (music)

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A sampling of the world's greatest Baroque and Classical arias. In addition to offering fascinating background information about the arias and their composers, the editor has corrected a multitude of errors which have accumulated over time, and has replaced Romantic-era misinterpretations with accompaniments that are faithful to historical styles. Includes word-by-word transcriptions into the International Phonetic Alphabet. John Glenn Paton. Teacher's Supplementary Materials Book.

Italian Arias of the Baroque and Classical Eras for High Voice and Piano

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