Music 214


Baroque 1600-1750
Baroque Angel, organ case 1714Baroque Angel, organ case 1714


The increasing importance of scientific investigation
Scientists such as Galileo Galilei (1564-1622) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727) broke away from the older model of science, whose purpose was the proof of an a priori assumption. Instead, through observation and experimentation, scientists devised hypotheses about why things happened.

The culmination of royal despotism
A small group of leaders (kings, queens, and emperors) wielded enormous power in Europe. Such was their power that Louis XIV (1638-1715) was to declare, "L'Útat š'est moi" ("I am the state").

Development of the
New World
The English, French and Spanish holdings in the New World continued to supply Europe with wealth. But as the generations passed, colonists began to feel a growing allegiance to their new homes. Ultimately, such feelings would lead to the independence of these lands.

Artificiality and marvelous effect were valued in the arts
Sculptors, building on the techniques of artists such as Giovanni Bernini (1598-1680), found ways to create the illusion of energetic and even violent movement in their works. Painters created larger and more crowded canvases. Virtuosity was highly prized in all the arts.


A Time of Experimentation

Expanding Roles for Music

A Growing Awareness of National Styles

       The Full Equality of Instrumental Music


The English word baroque is derived from the Italian barocco, meaning bizarre, though probably exuberant would be a better translation more accurately reflecting the sense. The usage of this term originated in the 1860s to describe the highly decorated style of 17th and 18th century religious and public buildings in Germany and Austria, as typified by the very baroque angelic organist adorning the Gottfried Silbermann organ completed in 1714 for the Cathedral in Freiberg, Saxony (illustrated below). Later, during the early-to-mid 1900s, the term baroque was applied by association to music of the 17th and early 18th century, and today the term baroque has come to refer to a very

BAROQUE MUSIC PERFORMANCE: (click for an article on performance ideas of the Baroque)

Please click on the following links to see Art from the Baroque and Rococo periods:

Baroque Angel, organ case 1714