ï»¿Comparison of the Characteristics of Baroque - Classical
and 20th Century music
1. Characteristics of Baroque Music
a. Unity of Mood
A baroque piece is famous for its doctrine of mood. What is happy will be happy throughout and what is sad continues to the end. Composers moulded the musical language to fit moods and affections. Some definite rhythms and melodic patterns are used to define certain moods and expressions.
The prime exception of this characteristics is an exception to this baroque principle of the unity of mood. Drastic changes of emotions in the text may inspire corresponding changes in music. But even in such cases, the certain mood continue for quite some time ...view middle of the document...
They were not able to provide the â€œin betweenâ€ sound.
Late baroque music are often and predominantly polyphonic in texture : two more melodic lines compete for the listenerâ€™s attention. Usually the soprano and the bass line is more important and imitation between various lines is very common. A melodic line that happen in one voice will happen in other voices as well. However, this was not strict during Bachâ€™s and Handelâ€™s time short snatches of homophonic pieces may also occur.
f. Basso continuo and figure bass
In any baroque piece, it is common to see figures basses, little numbers at the bottom of the stave, it indicates the chords that the basso continuo player must play. The basso continuo consists of the cello and the harpsichord.
2. Characteristics Of The Classical Period
a. Contrast Of Mood
A Classical composition will fluctuate in mood. Not only there are contrasting themes within a movement, but there also may be striking contrasts even within a single theme. Mood in classical music may change gradually or suddenly, expressing conflicting surges of elation and depression. But such conflict and contrast are under the firm control of the classical composer. Masters like Haydn and Beethoven were able to impart unity and logic to music of wide emotional range.
In Classical music, there is a flexibility of rhythm. A classical composition has a wealth of rhythmic patterns. The classical style also includes unexpected pauses, syncopations, and frequent changes from long notes to shorter ones. And the change from one pattern of note lengths to another may be either sudden or gradual.
Classical music is basically homophonic. However, texture is treated as flexibly as rhythm. Pieces shift smoothly or suddenly from one texture to another. A work may begin homophonically with a melody and simple accompaniment but then change to a more complex polyphonic texture that features two simultaneous melodies or melodic fragments imitated among the various instruments.
Classical melodie are among the most tuneful and easy to remember. The themes of even highly sophisticated compositions may have a folk or popular flavour. Occasionally, composer simply borrowed popular tunes, but more often, they wrote original themes with a popular character. Classical melodies often sound balanced and symmetrical because they are frequently made up of two phrases of the same length. The second phrase, in such melodies, may begin like the first, but it will end more conclusively and it will be easier to sing.
e. Dynamics And The Piano
The Classical composers' interest in expressing shades of emotion led to the widespread use of gradual dynamic change - crescendo (gradually getting louder) and diminuendo ( gradually getting softer). They did not restrict themselves to the terracd dynamics characteristic of Baroque music. During the period, the desire for gradual dynamic change led...