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Characteristics of Baroque and Reanaissance music

The shift in music from the Renaissance to the Baroque was quite dramatic. Particularly regarding instrumentation, function, texture, melody and harmony, the changes were striking and long-lasting. Much of our current music still employs conventions fostered during this era. We will discuss these conventions. The shift is seen in pieces by Purcell, Gabrieli, Weelkes, Monteverdi and Vivaldi. Music by these composers will be considered.

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During the time of transition between the Renaissance and the Baroque period, many changes took place. One change was the specification of instrumentation. During the Renaissance, specific instruments were not called for, but during the Baroque period, this became a regular practice. The first composer to call for specific instruments was Giovanni Gabrieli. Gabrieli was the choirmaster at St. Marks church in Venice. Gabrieli was also the first composer to specify dynamics.
Another change involved the switch in texture from the older contrapuntal style of the Renaissance to the homorhythmic style of the Baroque. This is best exemplified by Gabrieli's polychoral motet O quam suavis.
Harmony also changed during this time, moving from modal to major/minor.
Function moved from vocal forms and dance music to instrumental pieces such as the sonata and sinfonia.
Performance sites also changed, moving from the church and court to public theatres.

Bibliography: Machlis, ...

Solution Summary

The shift in music from the Renaissance to the Baroque is assessed.

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