Baroque Literally Means Bizarre – Renaissance

Published: 2021-07-02 04:06:12
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Category: music, Sound, Baroque, Composers

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The Baroque period happened right after the Renaissance, an era best defined by the emergence of unique styles. Baroque literally means “bizarre”, and this is used to describe architectural designs during that time. Buildings of this design were observed to be highly ornamented and decorated. Later, the term has also been applied to music.

This style differs greatly from the Renaissance and the Classical style of music by means of instruments used, amount of experimentation, and techniques utilized in composing and in performing the musical pieces.



Musicians of this time experimented greatly on music genres, used different playing styles, evolved and changed a lot of traditional musical notations, improved on the complexity of instruments, and highlighted a point in history where music has changed dramatically. This era was indeed a turning point for music, giving birth to composers destined to be remembered until now. One of these geniuses is Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was born on the 21st of March, 1685 to a well renowned family of musicians.
His father was Ambrocious, the court trumpeter for the Duke of Eisenach and a musical director for the town and his mother was Maria Elisabetha Lammerhirt. Many of the Bachs were known for being instrumentalists, church organists, and singers all through out the town. Johann Sebastian Bach, as early as eight years old, begun singing in a choir they and his friends have founded at their school. Prior to this, he has been taught on how to play the violin and the harpsichord by his father and the organ by his uncle. He immediately became proficient with these instruments, particularly the organ.
But fate has not been very kind to him, and at an early age, he lost his mother, father, a brother and a sister (Boyd, 1983). These early tragedies did not slow Bach down, and at a young age of 18, Bach started to be known all through out his village and other neighboring towns. He became a regular singer at choirs and a much praised organist at congregations. He traveled to different places, and was hired by different courts as their chief musician and composer. He was able to start a family by marrying Maria Barbara, who gave birth to four children.
His wife then died shortly after while Bach was out on a traveling performance. Bach then remarried, this time with Anna Magdalena, who remained faithful in taking care of their children and in copying Bach’s manuscripts. He lived his life well, created a family, and composed hundreds of pieces before lying to rest on July 28, 1750 (Boyd, 1983). The life of Bach can be seen as a flow of history told by his compositions. His famous pieces, usually short scores collected in a book, are manifestations of his life at the current time the music was composed.
Take for example his work “Mass at B Minor”, started at about 1724 and completed at 1749, just a year before his death (Smith, 1996). This is a 4-part piece which depicts Bach’s lifetime devotion to religion. As a student years back, he studied Theology, and even topped his class at a very young age. Another piece Bach is known for is the lengthy “Brandenburg Concertos” which he completed at around 1721 or earlier. These 6 concertos are dedicated to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, who was pleasured by Bach’s innate talent for music. Bach used this piece to apply for a position on the Margrave’s court as a musician (Chee).
Finally, his work entitled “The Musical Offering” marks the timeline in his life when he played for the King of Prussia, Frederick II at around 1747. This King’s theme started as an improvised piece by Bach, and later became a full length book used by many of his successors (Rasmussen, 2001). Bach is a very accomplished musician. His life was not always that perfect, in fact he had a lot of pitfalls and severe tragedies such as death of a loved one. But he showed the world that by having a passion for something like music, one can surpass all trials presented to him.
And by dedicating his life to his work, he became a composer-legend the world will never forget. References: Boyd, M. (1983). Bach. Timeline retrieved from http://www. jsbach. org/timeline. html Chee, B. The Brandenburg Concertos. Inkpot Issue 95. Retrieved from http://inkpot. com/classical/bachbrandenburg. html Rasmussen, M. (2001). Bach, Mozart, and the 'Musical Midwife', The New Federalist, Retrieved from http://www. schillerinstitut. dk/bach. html Smith, A. (1996). Bach’s Mass in B Minor as a Musical Icon. Lecture retrieved from http://jan. ucc. nau. edu/~tas3/musicon. html

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