The Baroque period dated from 1600 to 1750, which means that it lasted for 150 years. “The name Baroque describes a highly ornamental style of European art, architecture and music”. Many new musical forms had been created in this time, including opera, and new instrumental music such as the suite, concerto and sonata. Another significant change was the proper musical groups such as, symphonies, orchestras, quartets, quintets and some others.
Before this period the main style of music was a style called polyphony, in which several lines of melody were played simultaneously, although since 1600, music has usually consisted of one main melodic tune and accompanied by what’s called a harmony. The main melody is usually accompanied by some sort of a bass part, and chords (two or more notes played at the same time), the chords were also usually played by a harpsichord or an organ, this melodic line was known as the basso continuo part. Most composers were employed by wealthy people or the church, for usually writing music for religious ceremonies and church, and for entertainment during court. In the late 1600’s public concerts had begun. This would mean that the composers could start writing music that would suit the taste of an actual audience. This had obviously gotten huge publicity.
Something called a suite was also invented. A suite was a certain number of instrumental pieces that were played one after another, they were usually dance tunes, although they were not meant for people to dance to, only for listening, “but their style and rhythm was based on Baroque dances”. There were two types of concerto in the Baroque period. One called the concerto grosso which was suited for a small group of instruments and an orchestra. Sometimes the small group played alone and sometimes it played with the orchestra, but there were always a small group of instruments in the composition no matter what. The solo concerto always consisted of either one or two soloists in the piece. Most of the songs that were played had a version that could be played as an orchestra, although when they were played as a solo piece it didn’t sound much like the piece when played as an orchestra. “The trio sonata is a piece in a few sections, or movements, for one or two instruments with basso continuo. After 1700 solo sonatas for one instrument and continuo became more popular”.
The characteristics of the Baroque music is known to be very raw, strong, and very intense. Composers and conductors really experimented with the sound of the orchestra, since this was the era that the orchestral sound had been very well developed. The music was very rough and hot for people to listen to. The Baroque era in terms of music is one of the most significant.