MUSIC 254 - Baroque and Classical music

Laura Gray

Estimated reading time: 59 minutes

Table of contents

Baroque Era

  • end of 16c to mid 18c
  • Baroque: Negative connotations
    • Barocco
    • 1734
    • 1768: disonances create tension
    • 19C
    • Late 19C
    • 1950s: used to describe era.
  • Contradictions:
    • Music: break with immediate past
    • Absolute monarch patrons of music
    • 17C-early 18C: bloody wars
  • 1st half 17C
  • some well-known composers born late

Difference between Renaissance & Baroque

Micheelangelo, David: static Bernini, David: motion, emotion

Baroque Sculpture: drama, virtuosity, emotion. See examples in textbook.

Baroque Music: drama, virtuosity, emotion!

  • Some examples


Lec 2 - Jan 9

As said last time, the class is cancelled.

Music of the early Baroque: Characteristics of a New Era

3 streams in Baroque & 3 streams in Classical eras

a) Vocal music

b) rise of the violin family: foundation of orchstra

c) keyboard music

General Characteristics of Baroque Music

  1. Texture
    • treble-bass polarity: two different threads
    • basso continuo: emphasize bass part, foundation of music.
      • only bass line.
      • improvised. They would understand and then improvise.
      • figured bass notation. Up to performer to fill it up.
      • Later Baroque often 2 instruments:
        • bass line + chords: keyboard or plucked instrument like organ, lute, theorbo (long extension to have bass sound.)
        • bass line: reinforced by bassoon…
    • combining voices and intruments: colors. New thing.
      • Different instrument has different tuning system. String instruments can be adjusted easily, but not the case with keyboard.
      • independent tuning systems:
        • mean-tone for keyboard.
      • equal temperament (compromise). Take the octave and divide it by 12 equal semitones.
  2. Harmony

They are not thinking major minor, instead, modal music previously. Bass oriented and build it up. More types of dissonances (clashes) were permitted.

  1. Rhythm
    • bar lines and time signatures.
    • contrast and pairing: improvised rhythm in prelude, but strict in fugue.
  2. Emotion
    • Affections: states of mind, such as sadness, joy.
    • Relatively stable. Cause body fluids in bounds.
    • arouse affections
    • embellishment: emotional impact. Not written in.

Dramatic Shift in Musical Practice

Claudio Monteverdi

  • 5th book of Madrigals
  • 5-voices madrigal: polyphonic setting of a 16C Italian poem
  • Breaking rules of dissonances for dramatic effect
  • word painting
    • using musical gestures
      • cruda (cruel)
      • jeering laughter

Bitter Debate: Artusi vs Monteverdi

Monteverdi: build on the previous foundation

First Practice: Monteverdi’s term.

  • Zarlino & Artusi
  • rules: dissonances. Carefully prepared and resolved.
  • Palestrina: benchmark

Second Practice: more modern. Cruda (cruel)

The Birth of Opera


Caccini, singer in the group

1570s & 80s.

  • discussed literature, science & arts
  • Members: V. Galilei (father of Gallieo Galilei)…
  • Greek tragedy as model. really move people
  • speculated on role of music in ancient theatre
  • Criticized current vocal polyphony. can’t understand the word. Somewhere between song and speech.
  • Developed Monody: accompanied solo singing.
    • texture? solo song + 1 instrument. bass continuo

Caccini I’ll see my sun

style is very different, example of monody. Prototype of recitative(宣叙调): made opera possible.

repetition not happened in recitatives. but you have time to pause in opera.

Opera & its antecendents

opera = italian for work = drama with music


  1. pastroal drama (1471, Florence: on Orfeo)
  2. madrigals: emotion, dramatizing poetry
  3. Intermedio: interesting invention: musical interlude on a pastroal, allegorical or myyhological subjects before, after between acts of play

Most famous one: Florence, 1589 for a wedding of Grand Duke…

Orpheus: musician. rock beat. not a happy guy.


Peri’s recitative style (see textbook source reading)

halfway between singing and speaking (speech). no repetition, through composed. Words are clear, and vocal line are written to reflect the words.

stressed syllables: consonant with bass.

Caccini: lots of repetition of text, ornamations. but this is different. has own opera. Published before Peri’s (rival…)

aria or recitative, are mostly accompanied by bass continuo.

2 exerpts: 2 styles of monody used in Peri’s opera, L’Euridice

a) Tirsi’s song “Nel pur ardor”

  • aira = “air” or song
  • more strict rhythm because of dance music, dance rhythm
  • very charming…
  • Introduced by Sinfonia.
  • pastroal style
    • compoound lilting meter (6/4)
    • drone
    • 2 recorders with lilting
    • Parallel 3rds motion

b) Dafne (new style)

  • employs bass continuo
  • mirrors speech
  • syllabic setting: one note per syllable

Lots of repeated notes. In the score, only bass line and voice. Lots of words are in B-flat, which is similar to our speech, monotone. Candence, end of phrase. Sheppard is coming after her.

  • Dafne
  • Orfeo’s reaction: breathless then grief (unprepared dissonances, hold over notes, unexpected harmonic progressions)

this expressive recitative: ability to melt the words, emotitions.

Monteverdi - L’Orfeo

Monteverdi did sth different. 40 when coming to opera. Great gig, works for Italian family (rich powerful). Grew up in very difficult time when getting the gig.

  • first opera
  • libretto: Allssandro Striggio
  • first performance: Mantua
  • private entertainment: room in apartments of Gonzaga family
  • modelled on Peri but musically & dramatically more effective
    • expanded Rinuccini’s 5 scences to prologue + 5 acts. Grab the same story.
    • recitative: more varied than Peri’s. More variations.
    • Orchestra: larger, more variety, specific instrument.
  • story based on Orpheus legend.
  • Characters:
    • allegorical
    • pastroal
    • underworld
    • Euridice, Orfeo, Sylvia (messenger)
    • Chorus: empathizes the character. very important function
    • Orchestra

Act II excerpt

a) Orfeo’s aria


  • regular dance rhythm
  • strophic
  • only voice + bass continuo

He is just so happy. Strong rhythm. Joy.

  • ritornello: “refrain”
    • 5 parts

b) short shepherd’s song

c) Messenger’s recitative

  • Dialogues: horrorable expression on her face. Back and forth. When messenger arrives… Another shepherd wants to interject, bring to his understanding.
    • basso continuo: switch to wooden pipe organ & theorbo
  • Messenger narrates death of Euridice.
    • varied style: straight narration -> highly emotive.
    • Music: more chromatic, jarring.

d) Orfeo’s lament (哀叹)

  • barely speak
  • basso continuo: wooden pipe organ & theorbo, again… specify this specific dialogue.
  • chromatic, dissonant, jarring.
  • word painting: “goodbye earth..”
    • sudden plunge

e) Chorus: Greek chorus

  • Part I: share grief. bassline takes the initial melody, share the grief.
  • Part II: moral of drama.

Early Baroque Vocal Music for Church and Chamber: Strozzi, Carissimi, Schutz

Babara Strozzi (1619-1677): interesting character. early 17C. Probably natural daughter of Giulio Strozzi. Only women to the groups (literature arts science and so on). Sing beautifully. Amazing women. One of most prolific composers of vocal chamber music.



Her Cantata (Lagrime mie)

  • Cantata: piece to be sung (Italian)
  • secular, not meant for church
  • one voice with basso continuo
  • private. For her all amazing singing, no opera or public.
  • poetry: free form. male perspective.
  • several secions of recitative, arioso (somewhere between aira and recitative), aria ~ narrative & lyrical poetry
  • softened recitative style


  • mm1-22: lament: recitative, long melismas (“tears”, “pain”, “heart”)
  • mm23-48: narration about Lidia:
    • arioso: style of singing that approaches the lyricism of aria but is freer in form
  • mm49-62: descending bass line, triple meter, long melisma (“weep”)
  • mm63-70: opening lament returns
  • mm71-87: strophic aria (4X 8-syllable lines)
  • mm 88-96: recitative
  • mm97-end: triple meter, descending bass line (repeated)
  • [+ mm 1-22: repeats opening lament]

every single section, she’s applying techniques from early opera.

  • word-painting/text depiction: opening lament (conventional devices: opening recitative: weeping, sobbing)
    • long melisma on “La-grime”
    • minor mode: E minor
    • dissonances: D♯ F♯ over E
    • augmented intervals: D♯-C♮: notes of harmonic minor scale
    • descending line on ‘La’: falling tears. In Baroque, it usually means death, sad.

Now go to Rome.


Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674): 1629: Master of the chapel & teacher at Jesuit college in Rome

  • described as “musical orator”; patron; musical works protected by decree of Popes
  • Archives destroyed in 1773 crackdown on Jesuits & Napoleon’s raids
  • Oratorios written for the Archoconfraternita del SS Concifrisso

not performed in church.


  • ORATORIO: “oratorio” (Italian) = prayer hall (named for where performed & groups met)
  • religious dramatic music for outside church: incl. narrative, dialogue & commentary
  • Only musical performances allowed during Lent (religious event)
  • text: Latin or Italian
  • operatic: recitatives, arias, instrumental preludes & ritornellos.

but how is it different from opera?

  • sacred subject matter
  • not staged: nattared (sung): describe action
  • greater role to chorus

Particular work

NAWM 80: Carissimi, Historia di Jephte (Story of Jephte, ca. 1648)

  • Latin: paraphrased biblically based story (from Judges)

Promise: if wins the war, first person come sacrifices, but it’s his daughter singing happily.

a) solo recitative [+ echo]: daughter (filia), “Plorate colles” (Weep, Hills), from final scene

  • Basso continuo: theorbo
  • Echo: 2 singers (2 friends) biting harmonies
  • lament: long recitative + arioso passages
  • repeated words/phrases
  • flatten melodic pitches: pathos
  • harmony: expressive dissonances

b) Chorus: “Plorate filii Israel” (Weep, Sons of Israe)

  • 6-voice chorus
  • Repeats last 4 lines of daughter’s lament
  • Opening: bass line descends twice through 4ths
    • gesture of lament
  • downward movement all voices, lots of tension.
  • dissonances: suspensions: pile up at end of section

new invention of 17th century. Operatic someways, not staged, but ok for that time.

Heinrich Schütz

Wealthy. German composers, very influenced. Influenced by two different composers, Gabrieli and Monteverdi (in 1628).

  • Studied with G. Gabrieli in Venice, 1609-1612.
  • (1585-1672): 1615-72: master of chapel of Elector of Saxony, Dresden
  • 1618-48: 30 Years War

NAWM81: Saul, was verfolgst du mich? (ca. 1650) (Saul, why do you persecute me?)

  • Post-war collection of Symphoniae sacreae
    • used full force of Dresden chapel
  • Sacred Concerto = grand concerto in Gabrieli’s Venetian style:
    • large-scale work, mixing voices & instruments
    • style: merges Gabrieli’s polychoral style with Monteverdi’s expressiveness
      • e.g. Gabrieli In Ecclesiis: 4 solos, 4-part chorus, 6 part instrumental ensemble, organs. Many styles: modern aira, late 16C polyphony.
  • based on Paul (Saul)’s conversation
  • Schutz’s score:
    • 2 violins
    • 6 solo voices (SSATBB)
    • 2 X 4-voice choirs (doubled by instruments)
    • bass continuo (organ + cello/theorbo for recitative sections)
  • form:
    • sectional: exploits forces & dramatizes text:
    • mm1-16: “Saul, Why do you persecute me?”
      • 4 pairs of solos rise from depths
      • D minor - A minor - F major - D major
      • “persecute” (“verfolgst”): intense dissonance. Not bright.
    • mm 17-23: chorus & solos: grand concerto style
      • echoes: dynamics (f - mp - pp). Want to sound like echo via dynamics.
      • D major
    • mm21-23: Short 6/8 meter & G major/minor: distortion of echoes?
    • m.24: recitative style:
      • solo voice + basso continuo (“it will be difficult for you”)
      • Passed from Tenor – Alto
      • “Kick”: ornamental turn
    • m.34: choral refrain “Saul…”
    • m. 39: recitative material in imitation
      • “kick”: now a long melisma. lots of notes.
    • m.60: recitative & polychoral styles combined
      • grows in intensity and ends in pianissimo echo
  • Musical figures:
    • In Baroque, melodic pattern or contrapuntal effect conventionally employed to convey the meaning of a text
    • Codified by Schutz’s text
    • break old rules, but give a name what gestures mean. 2 examples. Not accidentals.
      • harsh cadential notes
      • harsh leap

Baroque Instrumental Music I: the Violin Family – Marini, Corelli, Vivaldi

2 main string families in Baroque:

Viol family

  • Viola da gambda (=viola of the leg)
    • invented in Spain, late 15C
    • 6 strings
    • frets, like guitar
    • bowed underhand, creates different sound
    • different size
    • violone (big viol) by 1600 - persisted as continuo instrument
    • used in court & chamber music

Violin Family

  • Viola “da braccio” (=arm): violin & viola
    • violin, viola, violoncello
    • emerged independent of viols
    • 4 strings (tuned in 5th) - ca. 1550
    • no frets
    • overhand bow
    • early use for dancing

Violin, viola, violoncello: co-existed; violin eventually supersedes viol family by mid 17C (rise of orchestra)

Baroque violin: from wiki,

A Baroque violin is a violin set up in the manner of the baroque period of music. The term includes original instruments which have survived unmodified since the Baroque period, as well as later instruments adjusted to the baroque setup, and modern replicas.

Note the difference between Baroque Violin and modern Violin.

and then on Jan 30th, guest lecture on Baroque Violin and modern Violin.

Guest Lecture/Demonstration: Elizabeth Loewen Andrews, violin (on Baroque and Classical performance practice)


Baroque Sonata

  • contrasting tempos & textures
  • often for 2-4 solo instruments + basso continuo

NAWM 84: Biagio Marini (1594-1663), Sonata IV per il violino per sonar con due corde (op. 8), ca 1626

  • sonata for violin & basso continuo
  • contrasting sections: figuration, mood, meter, tempo
  • sectional single-movement sonata:
  • paralleled rise of vocal monody:
    • recitative-like and aria-like sections
  • idiomatic possibilities of violin: double stops (see title!) + ez to jump between high & low notes chord for vocals

Here double stops means: playing on two strings at the same time


1) mm1-30: “Tardo” slow: like recitative. m.6 rapid violin figuration

2) m31: like aria: more regular pace: double stops

3) m51: scale figures, thrills, large leaps; tempo alternates “tardo” & “presto” (slow & fast)

4) m70: “affetti”

5) m83: ¾ meter, fast

6) m95: slow recitative-like melody, 4/4 meter

7) m102: aria-like passage: bass moves steadily

8) m.116: rhapsodic section

9) m127: “aria” in 3/4

10) m148: slow, arioso-like conclusion, 4/4

repeated from m 127

4 types of Baroque Sonatas

a) sonata for unaccompanied instruments (popular after ca. 1700)

b) trio sonata:

How many instruments?

2 treble instruments + basso continuo = 4 instruments, treble instruments usually violins

(most common instrumentation of sonatas post 1670)

c) church sonata (da chiesa):

  • Baroque instrumental genre intended for performance in church (or private performance)
  • usually in 4 movements (slow-fast-slow-fast)
  • abstract movements & untitled dance movements
  • for one or more treble instruments +basso continuo

d) chamber sonata (da camera):

  • for one or more treble instruments + basso continuo

Example of Baroque Trio sonata/ sonata da chiesa:

NAWM 96: Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Trio Sonata, Op.3, no.2, 1689


  • sections of sonata (e.g., Marini) expanded to movements
  • sonata da chiesa (church sonata)
  • How many movements? 4 (slow-fast-slow-fast)
  • some stylized dance movements
  • How many performers? 4 (2 violins, basso continuo: cello+organ)

1) Grave: slow, serious, D major

  • walking bass (basso continuo has lots of notes)
  • chains of suspensions

2) Allegro, D major

  • Fugal/imitation: including basso continuo part

3) Adagio: sarabande, B minor

  • a standard movement of a suite = sarabande
    A slow dance in binary (2-part) form & in triple meter, often emphasizing 2nd beat
  • Like vocal duet: alternately imitate each other, parallel 3rd
  • suspensions on 1st & 2nd beat of triple meter
  • End: cadence on V: D (to prepare for next movement)

4) Allegro: gigue, D major

  • “Jig” in French: a standard movement of a suite = fast dance in binary form & compound meter (6/8 or 12/8), wide melodic leaps & continuous triplets
  • 2 sections begin with imitation
  • binary form of dance (||:A:||:B:||)
  • Subject of B = inversion of A

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

  • son of St Mark’s violinist (Venice)
  • conductor, composer, priest, teacher: Ospedale della Pieta, Venice (1703-40)
  • 1737: censured for behaviour; died pauper
  • He wrote a lot of instrumental music, but he also write 49 operas, and direct by himself.


= composition in which one or more solo instruments (or instrumental group) contrast with an orchestral ensemble

  • concerto grosso: contrast between group of soloist (concertino) (as opposed to one) & whole orchestra
  • solo concerto: contrast between a single soloist & whole orchestra

Example: Concerto for Violin in A Minor, Op.3, no.6

Solo Concerto:

  • 3 movements: fast - slow - fast
  • fast movements: Ritornello Form
    • standard form for fast movements in concertos
    • featuring a ritornello (refrain) for full orchestra
    • alternates with episodes characterized by virtuosic material played by one or more soloist

Ritornello = refrains

  • is a recurring passage in Baroque music for orchestra or chorus. (from wiki)
    • made up of small units
  • “a recurrent musical section that alternates with different episodes of contrasting material. The repetition can be exact or varied to a greater or lesser extent. In the concerto grosso the full orchestra (tutti) has the ritornello; the solo group (concertino) has the contrasting episodes.” from here
  • pillars of structure

Episodes = passages featuring soloist between ritornellos

Middle movement is different.

  1. Allegro: A minor
  2. Largo cantabile: D minor
  3. Presto: A minor

Baroque Instrumental Music: Keyboard Music: Instruments, Composers, Forms & Styles

Keyboard Instruments

  • Harpsichord: keyboard instruement popular 15C - 18C; strings plucked by quill. Doesn’t have wide range but you can combine two to create different sounds.
  • Clavichord:
    • popular 15C - 18C
    • brass tangent strikes string
    • stays in contact as long as key depressed
    • loudness controlled by player
    • unlike piano or harpsichord, it has tangent. you can control the sound quality of the string.
    • quite small in 17th C. Not for a big group of people, maybe at home.
    • more like a lute, guitar, since plucke the string. Mechanically by a keyboard.

Girolamo Frescobaldi: popular, well-known during his life time. But he is also organist. Teach Harpsichord. He also wrote some Toccata.

Italian Keyboard Toccata

Toccata: Italian “touched”

  • for keyboard or lute. Sounds like improvised
  • may contain imitative sections (repeating melodic material in another part or parts)
  • style: improvisatory, exploratory, virtuosic, free-sounding
    • player explores a range of harmonies & figurations
    • often played as preludes to other pieces
    • clearly defined the mode/key of following piece.

1615: Toccatas and Partitas Intabulated for Harpsichord, Book I

  • 1st conceived exclusively for keyboard
  • Idiomatically suited to harpsichord
    • fits easily under 2 hands
    • avoided long sustained sounds

Frescobaldi, Toccata No.3

  • harpsichord
  • maintains forward momentum: from constant motion, evaded candences; restless character
  • Typical: series of brief phrases or sections
    • each closed with a cadence, distinct figuration
  • Style shifts frequently
    • Opening: like recitative
    • m.5: like Arioso: chains of suspensions over walking bass
    • mm.8-11: imitative passage
    • rest of the piece: shifts every 2 or 3 bars
    • Improvised sound
    • Also improvised ornaments

French Baroque Suite

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729)

  • French
  • harpsichordist & composer
  • 1687: 1st publication – works for harpsichord
  • chlid prodigy: age 5 sang & performed at court of Louis XIV
  • Paris: gave lessons & concerts
  • very accomplished women

Suite No. 3 in A Minor, Pièces de clavecin [Pieces for Harpsichord], Book I (ca 1687)

  • Suite
    • collection of stylized dances
    • from trend of pairing dance types
    • contrasting tempos & character
    • NOT danced: psychological states
  • Form: most dances in binary ||: A :||: B :||


  • improvisatory
  • slurs…: sustained notes, phrase groupings
  • no bar lines, no time signature
  • explores key

allemande: “German”

  • moderate 4/4 meter; begins with upbeat
  • 8th & 16th note
  • picardy third at the end


  • Moderate 3 or compound meter; begins with upbeat
  • Hemiola: shifts between 3/2 & 6/4


  • slow
  • dignified
  • triple meter, emphasis on 2nd beat

gigue (jig)

  • (England/Ireland)
  • fast, compound meter 6/4
  • bach has been doing this

Ornamentation (argrements)

  • Harpsichord imitating lute (style luthe): Borrowed figuration & practice
  • Pratical reasions for ornaments on harpsichord?
    • sound only has short period of time. So to compensate for decaying sound of plucked strings
    • emphasizes notes.
  • Artistic reasons?
    • Aesthetic
    • taste
    • Performer can add ornaments (acc. to taste)
  • notes inegales: “uneven notes”: 17C French convention of performing passages of short notes of even duration by alternating longer and shorter notes to create a lilting rhythm

Some common French ornaments: Pince. Tremblement. Double. Port de voix.


Organ instrument consisting of a number of pipes that sound tones when supplied with pressurized air & a keyboard that operates a mechanism controlling the flow of air to the pipes

  • Ranks of pipes engaged by stops; one pitch/pipe
  • One or more manuals & pedal board
  • Pre-electricity: one person operated bellows.
  • continuously supply of wind, so long sustained notes possible

You can hold a note for years…

1650-1750: Golden age of Lutheran German organ music

Dietrich Buxtehude

  • 1668-1707: Organist, St Mary’s Church in Lübeck (N. Germany)
  • didn’t publish his works; found after his death
  • Abendmusiken (free evening concerts during Advent)
    • 1705-6: JS Bach visited, walked 378 kms
  • Liturgical Function: Sunday services:
    • started with large Prelude for organ, as well as preludes for other portions of the service
    • BuxWV141: probably prelude to service; challenge for organ students

NAWM 97: Praeludium in E major, BuxWV 141

  • late 17th century
  • organ (2 manuals + pedal)
  • Praeludium (Latin = Prelude)
    • = Toccata: free & imitative/fugal sections alternate
    • = Series of short sections in free style alternating with longer ones in imitative counterpoint
  • virtuosic: keyboards & pedals
  • suggest improvisation
  • imitative/fugal sections have related themes
  • 4 imitative/fugal sections preceded by free sections
  • Free Fugue Free Fugal/Figurative Fugal Trans Fugue Coda

actual music is half step higher than the score

J.S. Bach I: Instrumental Music

J S Bach: church gigues. didn’t write opera…

Review of Fugue

  • FUGUE: a musical genre based on the systematic imitation of a theme
  • IMITATION: texture of independent musical lines (as opposed to homophonic)
  • VOICES: independent musical lines representing different ranges
    • usually no more than 4 (SATB)
    • ranges on a keyboard or in an orchestra
  • EXPOSITION: opening section of a fugue where each voice states the entire theme once
    • SUBJECT: the main theme of a fugue, the musical “idea”
    • ANSWER: a statement of the subject in the exposition starting on a different note
      • usually the 2nd and 4th statement of the subject
    • COUNTERSUBJECT: a theme that is played/sung at the same time as the subject
      • usually stated by a voice that has already stated the subject
    • The exposition ends once all the voices have stated the subject once only


  • Alternation of
    • EPISODES: sections without statements of the subject
    • STATEMENTS OF THE SUBJECT: one or two voices state the subject
    • MODULATIONS: go through many different keys before returning to the tonic

NAWM 102: Bach, Prelude & Fugue in A Minor

  • for organ
  • ca. 1715: Weimar Main points:
    1. pair of pieces
    • free & fugal: no more alternating sections
      1. idomatic writing borrowed from another genre/instruement
    • influence of Italian concerto composers: like Vivaldi
    • Prelude: violinsitic figuration
    • fugue subject: like ritornello form of concertos
      • episodes like solo sections; return of subject like ritornellos


  • A minor
  • mm 1-24: violin-like figuration; descends choramatically
  • mm 37-8: chains of suspensions (like Corelli!)



  • violin-like subject
  • 4 voices
  • order of voices: soprano alto tenor bass


1st Episode

  • structure
    • like 1st movement of concerto
  • elaborate cadenza (like concerto)
  • other things Bach does with fugue:
    • Fugue subject in subsequence statements:
      • use stretto: when one voice enters with fugue subject before a previous voice is done
    • varies the fugue subject
    • only states part of subject (e.g., 2nd half)
    • starts in one voices, complete in another

Bach’s Music for Harpsichord

  • Well-tempered Clavier (German: das wohltemperierte Clavier): WTC Book 1: 1722 & WTC Book 2: 1740
  • Pairs of Preludes & Fugues for keyboard
    • All 24 keys (major followed by parallel minor from C to B)
  • Tuning system
    • near-equal temperament vs. mean-tone
    • made it possible to play in every key

NAWM 104: Bach, Prelude & Fugue No. 8, Well-Tempered Clavier Book I

  • Demonstrates new tuning system well:
    • Prelude: E♭ minor (6 flats)
    • Fugue: D♯ minor (6 sharps)
    • Enharmonic equivalents: entire spectrum of notes in WTC
  • Both adapted from previous work

Pedagogical aims in Well-Tempered Clavier Book I

  • Prelude
    • Specific techniques, like etude
    • Performance conventions & compositional practices:
    • No. 8: Italian concerto slow movement or French sarabande?
      • repeated chords on almost every beat
      • large leaps
      • Ornamentation, like french: dotted
      • cosmopolitan mixture: typical of Bach
  • Fugue
    • Various techniques of fugal writing & treatment of subject:
      • Almost omnipresent fugue subject
      • Very few episodes & short
      • constant variation of subject
      • augmentation, inversion, stretto (overlapping entrances of subject)
      • coda
    • Fugue subject & exposition:
      • Subject: “old-fashioned”: narrow range
      • 3-voice fugue: Alto, Soprano, Bass (m.8). Instead of 4.
      • starting at middle

Bach’s Vocal Music

NAWM 105: Bach, Cantata BWV 62, Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland, 1st movement

(Now Come, Saviour of the Heathens/Gentiles)

Liturgical Function & Text:

  • 1st performance: Dec. 3, 1724 [1st Sunday of Advent: before Xmas]
  • between Gospel reading & sermon
  • chorale text by Martin Luther:
    • uses 1st & last of 8 stanzas in choruses
    • Luther adapted Catholic Latin chants
  • text for rest of cantata (recitatives & arias): unknown author – paraphrased stanzas 2-7

Extra src: Texts of all movements

Genre: Chorale cantata

= sacred setting of a Lutheran hymn (& related poetry) incorporating chorus, orchestra, soloists

  • chorale = a Lutheran hymn; congregation familiar with hymn
  • Drew on wide range of styles & genres (Bach’s ablility to assimilate)
  • Wrote in every genre BUT opera!
    • but he uses the components of Italian opera:
      • arias, recitatives (accompanied & dry), choruses, orchestra
  • cantata provides maximum variety:
    • solos: feature song types of contemporary opera
    • moving from complex to simple
  • Instruments used in the cantata:
    • horn, 2 oboes, violin 1, violin 2, viola + basso continuo (organ & violone)

Overall Form of the Cantata

quite typical form

  1. Chorale Motet (chorus): b minor1st verse of Luther’s hymn (see next page)
    • (you will only be tested on movement 1)
  2. Da capo aria (ABA) with orchestra (tenor): G major
    • style of a minuet
    • B: contrast, minor mode
    • long melismas (as long as 20 bars)
  3. Recitative with continuo only (bass)
    • Angular, wide leaps
    • Text painting: “run” displays a 16th-note run; “fallen” - large leap down
  4. Da capo aria (ABA) with continuo & unison orchestra (bass): D major
    • violins & violas play same as bassline but octave higher
    • B: contrast, minor mode (b & f#)
  5. Accompanied Recitative (soprano & alto): modulates through keys to b minor
  6. Chorale harmonization (chorus): b minor – Last verse (8) of Luther’s hymn
    • 4-part harmony (SATB): doubled by instruments
    • last verse (8) of the Luther’s hymn

No. 1: opening chorus

most complex & weightiest movement of the cantata

= CHORALE MOTET: setting of a chorale in the style of a 16C motet (polyphonic vocal piece)

Combines: a) new & b) old techniques

a) NEW: ritornello structure & instrumental concerto style (like Vivaldi)

  • mm1-16: opening instrumental ritornello – repeated at end
  • ritornellos: frame 4 phrases of chorale (like solo episode)
  • ritornello: derived from chorale
    • also includes some statements of chorale (mm 3-5: bass, 15-17: oboes)

b) OLD: Cantus-firmus*: soprano & horn present chorale tune in long notes (m. 22, etc)

  • Alto, Tenor & Bass: imitative counterpoint beneath soprano line
    • m.17, etc: Alto Tenor Bass sing imitation based on chorale

* Cantus firmus: “fixed melody”: existing melody on which a new polyphonic work is based; melody presented in long notes


where does the chorale show up?

Instrumental Ritornello:

  • mm.3-6 & mm.48-51: bassline: long notes
  • mm. 15-17, 31-33, 54-56: oboes, right before imitation

Choral Verses:

  • sopranos (doubled by horns): long notes (4 lines of verse 1)


  • ritornello theme derived from chorale
  • imitation of ATB: derived from chorale

Late Baroque Opera

in France & England: Lully & Purcell

Baroque Opera in France

  • under Louis XIV: dominated by Lully & Quinault
  • resisted following Italy. love hate relationship with Italy.
  • national French Opera Style: influenced by 2 strong Fren traditions:
    • court ballet: “passacaille”
    • theatre: classical tragedy
  • poetry & drama given priority on stage
  • opera = tragédie en musique –> tragédie lyrique

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-87)

  • king was impressed by his dance, then play a role in his court. Then become more involved.
  • exclusive right to write operas.

tragédie lyrique

:(lyric tragedy) = French 17C & 18C form of opera, pioneered by Lully, combining French classical drama & ballet with music, dance and spectacle


  • classical French drama, ballet, French song tradition & new recitative
  • dramatic structure: prologue + 5 acts
  • plots: mythology, gods
  • orchestra: all strings (24 violins): 5 parts, some winds & long ritornello
  • dramatic eloquence over vocal brilliance
  • static monologue airs (arias)
  • spectacular choruses & dancing

Lully, Armide, 1686

Armide: Princess of Damascus, sorceress

Renaud: crusader knight, put into magic sleep

  • Armide puts spell on him to fall in love with here & abandon his crusade
  • saved by 2 fellow knights (diamond shield)
  • resumes his quest & she destroyes her realm

ActII/sc5: intends to kill him but finds herself unable

Let’s examine some components.

a) Overture = (opening) an orchestral piece introducing an opera or other long work

  • typical French overture:
  • in 2 parts:     ||: A:||: B :||


  • slow, duple meter, majestic quality
  • homophonic
  • 2 performance pratices:
    • dotted rhythms (overdotting): dotted note held longer than written, while short one is shortened
    • notes inegales (unequal notes)


  • faster tempo, compound triple meter (6/4)
  • imitative entrances
  • end of B: slower tempo & duple meter, majestic

Divertissement (diversion) at center of every act:

  • extended episodes: songs, chorues, instrumental dances. aimed at pleasing audience

b) Act II, sc 4: Divertissement (conclusion): Laissons au tendre amour (Let tender love)

  • long interlude of ballet, solo airs, choral singing, &spectacle, intended as entertainment
  • Form: prelude -> chorus

importance of recitative: adapting recitative to French language . Note that it’s always connected to the language, speech. French is really different from Italian.

Features of Lully’s recitative:

  • scored for solo voice & bass continuo
  • alternates freely between bars of 2,3,4 beats
  • natural declamation of text; as speechlike as possible:
    • modeled on French actors’ declamation
    • some sections: more regular metrical style & active bass

c) Act II/v: prelude, recitative & aria: “Enfin il est en ma puissance” [Finally he is in my power]

  • prelude: tense, some characteristics of overture
  • recitative:
    • shifting meter
    • accompanied only by bass continuo
    • dramatic use of rests
    • m.66: more regular meter recitative
      • end of recitative before aria
  • air (aria)
    • introduced by orchestra
    • Aria: accompanied only by basso continuo
    • style & meter: minuet style (triple meter)
    • text-setting: syllabic
    • simpler than contemporary Italian arias

Opera in England:

At the same time, not too long afterwards, 3 years later, we have the only? English opera in Baroque.

Henry Purcell (1659-1695), Dido and Aeneas (1689 not sure…)

  • Purcell’s only all-sung opera
  • 3 acts, 2 sc in Acts II and III
  • libretto: Nahum Tate (derived from Virgil’s Aeneid): significantly altered
  • date & venue of premiere disputed:
    • Josiah Priest’s Boarding School for Young Girls, Chelsea (1689): first known performance
    • political allegory (托寓)?
  • sung in English

NAWM 90a-c: from end of opera, Act III

3 parts: a) recitative -> b) aria -> c) chorus

a) Recitative, Dido: “Thy hand Belinda”

  • word-painting:
    • melisma on “darkness”;
    • sighing figures on “death”, etc;
    • stepwise ➘ : 7th (C-D)

b) Dido’s lament (aria), “When I am laid in Earth”

ground bass (basso ostinato): “persistent bass”:

= a pattern in the bass that repeats while the melody above it changes

  • repeating bass line: heard 11 times
  • ➘ G - F♯ - F♮ - E♮ - E♭ - D - G
  • ground bass: string orchestra + basso continuo

  • melody: dissonant against bass line.

c) Chorus (repeats), Cupids: “With drooping wings” ➘ ➘ ➘

  • Ends opera: like Greek chorus
  • Word painting

Handel, Giulio Cesare [Julius Caesar]

Bach worked harder but paid less than Handel.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): begin of opera in Harmwork. Also wrote for public. London public.

One of his famous works is Giulio Cesare [Julius Caesar].

  • Libretto: Nicola Haym (1679-1729): in Italian! Fine with London audience…
  • premiere: Londone (King’s Theatre), 1724
  • Setting: Egypt, 47-48 BCE
  • 3 acts
  • Story: historical plot
    • Characters
    • Composer as dramatist: How does the music tell the story?

Opera Seria = Italian serious opera based on classical mythology or history

Recitative-Aria pairs: kinetic-static (stop & start)

  • very little action on stage: reported in recitative
  • 29 arias in Julius Caesar: arrival points!
  • uses da capo aria almost exclusively:
    • “da capo”
      • = Italian for “from the top”
      • = Instructions in score: sing from the beginning again
    • aria form with 2 sections:
      • 1st section (A) repeated after 2nd (B)
      • ABA’ form – A’: singer improvises embellishments. (If they sing exactly same, will be booted off the stage by the audience)

Castrato = male soprano/alto through medical procedure

  • high (pitch) voice
  • Castrato roles: Nero, Caesar & Ptolemy
  • leading parts played by treble voices
  • projected virility & range of voice
  • now sung by countertenor (or women)
  • popular esp in Italy, Varican; opera until 1830

An example: Alessandro Moreschi, Castrato, Ave Maria. Old audio… (last surviving castrato)

Act II, sc. 1-2

What is happening in this scene?

  • Cleopatra (disguised as Lidia) puts on a spectacle for Caesar:
    • in costume as “Virtue” on throne surrounded by 9 muses (9 musicians on stage)
    • Caesar is overcome with the beauty (sights & sounds!)

sc. 1: Recitative: “Eseguisti”:

  • setting the stage
  • dialogue: Nireno & Cleopatra -> Cl leaves; Caesar arrives
  • Recitative: secco (dry): recitative accompanied only by basso continuo

sc: 2: Recitative with Sinfonia:

  • Recitative: short dialogue between Caesar & Niren
    • Caesar interjects: reacts to music
      overlaps with
  • Opening of Sinfonia: introduces Cleopatra’s aria

“V’adoro, pupille”[I adore you, eyes]: DA CAPO ARIA: A B A’:

│   sinfonia     │    Caesar    │    A     │   B   │  [Caesar interrupts]  │      A’        │
│  instrumental  │  interrupts  │  aria    │       │  recitative secco     │  aria da capo  │
│  introduction  │              │          │       │  for dramatic effect  │                │

Created via ASCII Table Generator.

A: F major, Largo tempo

  • Sarabande rhythm (triple meter)
  • 4-note, dotted-rhythm motive (from sinfonia)
  • accompanied by soloists on stage*
  • sparse accompaniment by orchestra
  • *group of soloists on stage: integrated into plot

B: keys: d - g - a minor

  • constant ♪ rhythm
  • Orchestra drops out (only soloists on stage)
  • Cleopatra comes to a stop
    [Caesar interrupts]

A’: “da capo”

  • singer improvises added embellishments

seemingly strict form. Handel keeps music move forward with Caesar reacting.

Messaih (oratorio), 1742 original Dublin version

  • Opening Sinfonia
    • modelled on French overtures
      • in 2 parts
      • slow opening; stately
      • fast 2nd part in imitation
  • “Rejoice Greatly” (aira)
    • original version in 12/8 meter
    • manuscript: 12/8 but 4/4 (C) in bass
  • more common version 4/4 (~1749)

Ballad Opera & Early Classical Opera Reform


ballad opera: genre of 18C English comic play featuring songs in which new words are set to borrowed tunes.

  • opera in the local language
  • dialogue interspersed with songs. No recitative here.
  • new words to borrowed tunes
    • folk songs, dances, pop songs, airas from other shows
  • fashion peaked in 1730s
  • over time, more original music
  • development parallel to opera comique

NAWM 112: Ballad Opera: The Beggar’s Opera (1728)

  • libretto by John Gay
  • music likely arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch
  • Mocked Italian opera tradition:
    • Characters: replaced ancient heros of Italian opera with modern urban thieves and prostitutes and their crimes
    • Made fun of Italian opera divas
      • Fight between Cuzzoni & Bordoni mocked by Polly & Lucy’s quarrels
    • Simple Popular tunes mocked virtuosic arias of Italian opera seria
    • Dispensed with recitative for spoken dialogue
    • poetry and music sometimes spoofed opera
    • satirized London society

My Heart Was So Free (Macheath):

  • Like simile areas of serious Baroque operas:
    • character’s situation compared to vivid image, portrayed in music
    • recognize popular courting tune

“Were I Laid on Greenland’s Coast” (Macheath & Polly)

La serva padrona

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36) He is incredible popular, even some are not his work, people add his name to it after his death.

  • La serva padrona [The Maid as Mistress]
  • first performance: Naples, 1733
  • La serva padrona is an Intermezzo:
    • 18C genre of Italian comic opera
    • In 2 parts & performed between the acts of a serious opera or play: pergolesi’s The Prideful Prisoner
    • Plots: comedies involves ordinary people, sometimes parody serious opera
    • Most 2 singing roles (including Bass)
    • Music alternates between recitative & arias

Story & Characters: clever servants & foolish masters:

  • Uberto (buffo) combic bass: bachelor
  • Serpina (soprano) his mid (after his cash & marriage)
  • Vespone (mute character): his valet

a) Recitative: Uberto & Serpina. “Ah Quanto Mi Sta Male” (Ah, it doesn’t feel right). Dialogue between Serphina & Uberto.

  • 1st part: simple recitative (only basso continuo): dialogue between Uberto & Serpina
  • 2nd part: accompanied recitative:
    • Uberto alone
    • only for high drama: Comic exaggeration
    • harmony: modulates rapidly

b) Da capo aria (Uberto): A B A: “Son Imbrogliato” (I’m all mixed up)

  • music reflects Uberto’s conflicting feelings: humoruous
  • Mocking da capo arias

A section: Aria. I am all mixed up. I have a certain sth in my heart…

  • 2 statements of text, each framed by orchestral ritornello:
    • 1st statement:
      • rapid patter & much repetition (esp 1st line)
      • angular motive
      • ~Uberto’s indecision & paralyzed mental state
    • 2nd statement: words mixed up

B: contrasting section

  • Paralyzed mental state
  • new text & minor key
  • slower rhythm

A: repeats first part; not embellished

Scene excerpt from La Serva Padrona (Diego Fasolis & Barocchisti)

whole intermezzo (45 minutes)


1752-1754 Paris performances of La serva padrona: led to “La querelle des bouffons” (1752-54): war of the comic actors

furious dispute in France between:

  1. those who favoured Italian opera buffa (comic opera) style:
    • simplicity, clarity, warm Italian melodic style, naturalism
    • simple harmony & accompaniment; frequent repetition
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: admired by Gluck as “pioneer of the expressive natural style”
      NAWM 111: Le devin du village, 1752
  2. those who favoured French style of Lully, Rameau: (favor exisiting French Opera)
    • labeled “intellectuals”, unnatural style, sophisticated

La Serva padrona:
Model of comic opera in later 18C:

  • Contrasts of styles & mixing of serious & comic
  • Servants outwitting masters: laugh at Uberto’s expense

OPERA REFORM MOVEMENT: mid 18C; Wanted opera to be more natural

  • Flexibility in recitatives & arias
  • More use of orchestra & chorus
  • Resisted demands of singers

Early Classical Style

Classical Style: New musical language


Europe: mid-late 18C: social & intellectual background. Revolution in France & America


  • improvements in agriculture: increase in population
  • Urban growth
  • rise in middle class: impact on music: leisure
    • Patrons of Music: Royal, state, church + public
    • concerts: wider audience, teaching
    • Middle-class amateur musicians (including women, esp. keyboard - not professional)
    • bought published music & journals: learning, making reviews and funding publishing industry
  • Cosmopolitan age: Music: “one music for all of Europe”

Enlightenment: reason, nature, progress

  • scientific advances: reason, experience, observation
    • applied to emotions, social relations, politics
  • belief in natural law:
    • individual rights & human condition
    • universal education
    • doctrine of individual rights: Voltaire, Rousseau -> Jefferson, Franklin: constitution
    • Dirot, Encyclopedie: compendium of everything known
    • Humanitarianism
      • Freemasonry: universal brotherhood
      • Arts: common people, culture for all


Classical style: variety of styles co-existed: overlap late Baroque/early classical

New musical language: prevailing taste: immediately appealing

  • songful, periodic melodies (built-up 2/4 bar phrases), light accompaniment
  • 1st found comic opera: natrual music, expressive, immediately appealing
  • preference for the “natural”
    • rejected artifice and complexity, regarded as unnatural

Classical: ambiguous term:

  • Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven?
  • 1730s-1815: Classic period (text)
  • Analogy to Greek & Roman art: noble simplicity, balance, formal perfection, diversity within unity
  • wit, freedom from excessive ornamentation
  • value judgements

Galant style: French term (“elegant”):

  • mid-late 18C foundation for new musical idiom
  • chic, smooth, sophisticated, modern
  • featured song-like melodies, short melodic phrases (2-4 bars)
  • simple harmony & freq cadences
  • light accompaniment
  • homophonic style (vs learned counterpoint)
  • derived from Italian operas

Empfindsam style

  • German for “sentimental or sensitive style” but Italian origin
  • surprising turns of harmony, chromaticism, nervous rhythms, rhapsodic
  • speech-like melodies
  • associated with CPE Bach: slow melodies

Musical Features of Classical Style

Melody = Focus of Classical Style

Periodicity: organized in discrete phrases/periods

  • Period: complete musical thought concluded by a cadencel made up of 2+phrases
  • frequent resting points
  • distinct phrases: 2 or 4 bars
  • 2+ phrases = period
  • 2+ periods = composition
  • phrase made up of segments


  • Supports melodic phrases & periods
  • Changes less frequently than Baroque


  • animated: need to drive music forward
  • Alberti bass: keyboard music: underlying broken chord accompaniment into repeating pattern of short notes


  • Coherence by function of material: beginning, middle, end gestures
  • Like devices by orators in speeches


  • Constantly in flux, unlike Baroque static emotional states
  • Contrasting moods in one movement or theme (e.g. Mozart sonata)

Classical Keyboard Music: the Sonata & Concerto

Scarlatti: good friend of Handel in Italy, connection here. Son of famous opera composer, ….

Scarlatti, Sonata in D, K.119, ca. 1740s

Domenico Scarlatti

  • Royal houses of Portugal & Spain
  • compiled several volumes of sonatas
  • written for harpsichord
  • Sonata (Scarlatti)= one-movement work in binary form

Three types of binary form:

  • simple
  • balanced
  • Rounded binary form

Balanced binary form: 2-part form in which the latter part of the 1st section returns at the end of the second section but in the tonic

  • closing part of 1st part (m. 36) returns to close 2nd part in tonic
  • Typical format for Scarlatti: minor key for new material before major
  • sections & keys
||: A       B    C  :||: D        B    C  :|| (represents the material)
    I -> V  v    V       V -> I   i    I

difficult: keep the chord and then trilling. Balanced because it goes back to the key from the beginning.

Some features

  • opening: several ideas, each immediately restated (like comic opera)
  • large leaps, rushing scales, rapid arpeggios
  • crossed hands
  • Spanish character?
    • simulates castanets (rhythm)
    • simulates guitar strumming (cluster of 6 notes)

CPE Bach, Sonata in A, II, Poco adagio Wq55/4

CPE Bach

  • many works for keyboard: favourite clavichord
  • last 5 sets - fortepiano: type of piano from 18C & early 19C
  • classical-period piano: different from later pianos
    • lighter wooden frame (vs metal)
    • shorter range (5 octaves)
    • string struck with hammer
    • can vary dynamics (forte, piano, crescendo)
    • instead of pedal, it requires right/left knees

back to this piece…

  • 1765 (pubd 1779): from Six Sonatas for Connoisseurs and Amateurs, No. 4, II
  • purpose: played for private enjoyment
  • played on fortepiano
  • sonata (CPE Bach) = established 3-movement (fast-slow-fast)
  • 1st & 3rd in tonic; 2nd mov. in related key
  • mov. 2 (slow mov.)
    • form: binary
      • sonata form without development & no repeat of sections
      • A (1st part); f# minor (to A major)
      • B (2nd part): repeats opening (varied) but ends in tonic
  • Empfindsam style = sentimental style
  • CPE Bach: elements of surprise:

main characteristics of Empfindsam style in CPE Bach Sonata slow movement:

a) gestures

  • opening: melodic sigh, singing motive; ends on appoggiatura; resolves on weak beat; followed by rest

b) ornamentation

  • decorated: turn, Scotch snaps, trill
  • ornamentation essential to expression, not just incidental to melody

c) rhythm

  • nervous, restless quality: many rhythmic patterns, constantly changing (short dotted figures, triplets, flourishes of 5, 13 notes)

d) harmony

  • modulates to relative major (A) but immediately returns to tonic, opening
  • nonharmonic tones (esp appoggiaturas)

e) texture

  • expressive melody + light accompaniment

Mozart !!

Finally, Mozart!! Two pieces today

  • NAWM 124: Sonata No. 12 in F Major, *K. 332, 1st movement
  • NAWM 125: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, *K.488, 1st movement

* Fun fact: K stands for Köchel, who catalogued Mozart’s works in the 19th century

  • Sonata Form
    • Other names: Sonata-allegro form or first movement form
    • Form typically used in first movements of symphonies, string quartets, keyboard sonatas in late 18th & 19th centuries
  • Koch, Introductory Essay on Composition, 1793
    • repertoire ca. 1770s
    • more flexible description, focused on phrases
    • 18th-Century view: expanded binary form (A B): see slide 3
    • Vs 19th-century view: ternary form (A B A’)

Quick Review of Sonata Form

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Austrian composer, 1756-1791)

  • Child prodigy:
    • Thorough training by father
    • *Accomplished keyboard & violin age 5 (see figure 23.8)
    • Leopold toured Mozart & his older sister throughout Europe: exposed to many styles (including JC Bach in London)
  • Started in court of Bishop of Salzburg: father’s patron
  • 1781-1791: Vienna as freelance musician (performing, teaching, publishing)
    • Financial difficulties
  • Was a friend of Haydn: mutual respect
    • exposed to music of JS Bach (interest in counterpoint)
  • Died young of a fever (not poisoning)
  • Prolific composer (over 600, including operas, symphonies, sonatas, concertos)

*Fun fact: In a 1762 audience before Empress Maria Theresa, 6-year old Mozart leapt into her lap and kissed her!

Piano Sonata No. 12 in F Major, 1st movement K.332

The piano Sonata first movement is in Sonata form. It uses many contrasting styles: recognizable to contemporary audience.


First theme group (1T): m. 1: Song-like melody over broken-chord accompaniment

  • Imitation (m. 5) – like learned style of counterpoint
  • simulated Hunting horns (m.12)

Transition (TR): m.22: style: Sturm und Drang = [German] Storm & Stress

  • minor mode, loud dynamics, chromatic harmony, strong dissonances, modulates

2nd theme (2T): m.41: galant style, immediately repeated & varied

  • Key: Dominant
  • m.56: transitional extension (syncopated & minor mode)

Closing Theme (CT): m.71: cadential ideas: firmly establishes dominant key


  • New melody (m.94)
  • Develops transitional syncopated passage between 2nd & closing theme (m.109)


Exposition material transposed to Tonic (m. 133)

Now let’s look at the score, 3 distinct styles of music in theme 1

  • a) Galant, songlike
  • b) Imitation/counterpoint
  • c) Hunting horns

transition: “storm & stress” style: sudden change to minor, forte, dissonance

Piano concerto no. 23 in A Major, K488 1st movement


  • 17 piano concertos written in Vienna
  • vehicles for his own concerts: showpieces to dazzle audience
  • Pleasing the connoisseur and amateur:
    letter to his father about first 3 Vienna piano concertos:

“a happy medium between what’s too difficult and too easy. They are brilliant – pleasing to the ear – natural without becoming vacuous. There are passages here and there that only connoisseurs can fully appreciate, yet the common listener will find them satisfying as well, although without knowing why.”

  • emulated JC Bach’s style (one of JS Bach’s sons):
    • met in London; transcribed JCB’s sonatas

ritornello form & sonata form hybrid

  • 1T = 1st theme
  • Tr = transition
  • 2T = 2nd theme
  • CT = closing theme
  • NT = new theme

The Classical Symphony

Sammartini Stamitz


  • large work for orchestra usually in 4 movements
  • multiple influences on development of genre:
    • Origins Italy ca 1730
    • Italian opera overture: sinfonia
      • early sinfonia in 3 movements:
        • fast – slow – dance (minuet or gigue)
        • became an independent pieces in concert
    • Many other influences, similarities to other genres

G.B. Sammartini (ca. 1700-1775)

  • Milan, Northern Italy
  • 1st prominent symphonist

Sammartini: Symphony in F, No. 32, I

[ca. 1740]

  • orchestra: 10-16
    • 4-part strings
    • including basso continuo
  • 1st movement of 3: fast – slow – fast
  • short (38 bars)
  • lots of variety: 1st 8 bars: 5 contrasting ideas
  • example of Koch’s binary repeated form: later known as sonata form:
||: Exposition :||: Development     Recapitulation :||
    1st period      2nd period      3rd period
    (mm.1-14)       (mm.15-24)      (mm.25-38)

mm. 1-8: 5 ideas: hammered octaves, rising scales, repeated melodic idea, rushing scales, rising arpeggios over ♪♪ bass

Stamitz: Sinfonia in E-flat, Op. 11, No. 3, I

Johann Stamitz (1717-1757)

  • Op. 11: mid 1750s, pub’d 1758
  • Mannheim

Stamitz’s orchestra:

  • 2 horns, 2 oboes (/flutes/clarinet), violins, viola, cello, bass
  • Stamitz was leader of orchestra
  • known for their precision & discipline:
    • Burney, “army of generals”
  • famous for their “Mannheim crescendos
    (transition section: string tremelos, pp -> ff)

Now let’s take a look at some features:

  • 1st movement of four:
    • 1st composer to use consistent 4-movement structure
    • minuet & trio 3rd movement
  • larger scale than Sammartini:
    • expanded proportions; repetitions omitted; more tuneful themes
  • one of 1st to introduce contrasting theme in dominant:
    • 2nd theme in exposition (2 oboes)
    • more lyrical than 1st theme
  • Recapitulation: themes stated out of order:
    • starts with 2nd & closing themes
    • elements of 1st theme group restated backwards order
    • horn call –> opening chords & unison

1st theme group: 3 different ideas

“Mannheim crescendo” Transition section

2nd theme:

  • In dominant key (B flat)
  • 2 oboes
  • More lyrical than 1st

Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)

  • Most celebrated composer of his day
    • choirboy in Vienna; singing, harpsichord, violin
  • 1761: Esterházy patronage
    • powerful Hungarian noble family
      • generous patrons, devoted to music
      • weekly concerts, operas for special occasions
      • daily chamber sessions with the prince
      • duties: compose, conduct, train and supervise music personnel, keep instruments in repair
      • Haydn built up the orchestra (14-25 players)
  • 1766 moved to Eszterháza: remote country estate
  • 1779 new contract allows publication sales: income
    • publications: fame throughout Europe
  • 1784 met Mozart: mutual admiration
  • release from Esterházys; 1790–95 London

Fun fact: Haydn’s skull was separated from his body for 145 years: get the gruesome details in “Don’t Lose Your Head” here.

Haydn’s Symphonic Form: “Father of the Symphony”

  • composed over 100 symphonies
  • from 3 movements to 4 movements
  • light concert work -> serious form, test of a composer
  • wit!!

sonata cycle: 4 movements

I allegro (Tonic Key): most serious attention (sonata form)

II andante (Related Key): contrast: gentle melody, change of key

III minuet & trio (Tonic Key): relaxing, popular style (added)*

IV allegro/presto (Tonic Key): fastest (sonata or rondo form)

Symphony No. 88 in G Major (1787)

  • Commissioned by Haydn’s violinist
  • Took it to Paris: written with audience in mind
  • Popular: rustic & learned style
  • Pastoral mood:
    • hymn-like theme in 2nd movement
    • 1st & last: contredanse (English country dance) in meter & style
    • 3rd trio section: drones imitate bagpipes
  • Standard 4 movements
  • Orchestra: strings, winds, horns, 2 trumpets & timpani (in 2nd movement first)

Movement 1

G major

  • sonata form with slow introduction
  • Motivic relationships between themes:
    • Variants of motive a & b in other themes
  • variety & strong contrasts but unified
  • Harmony: as expected but witty touches

Movement 2

D major

  • oasis of calm, contrasts with drama of movement 1
  • Haydn always playing with audience expectations
    • Main theme (solo cello & oboe): accompaniment varies each time
    • m.41: interruption: loud tremolos (strings) + trumpets & drums
  • elements of variations, rondo, and rounded binary form

Symphony No. 88, Movement 2: contrasting material, m.41 (2:04)

Movement 3

G major

  • Minuet (A) & Trio (B) form (A B A)
  • A & B: both in Binary Form with Repeats
  • “da capo” Minuet (end of trio)
  • trio: lighter texture; droning (rustic 乡村 quality)
  • Popular, light style
  • Humour:
    • grace-notes on upbeats (lurching)
    • 2nd phrase: 6 measures long

lurch: make an abrupt, unsteady, uncontrolled movement or series of movements; stagger.

Let’s take a look at the score.

  • Grace notes on upbeats
  • 2nd phrase 6 bars long

  • Lighter texture
  • Drones: like bagpipes

Movement 4

G major

  • Allegro con spirito: (fast with spirit)
  • Form: rondo: musical form in which 1st main section (A) recurs (usually tonic) between subsidiary sections/episodes (B, C etc):
    • Rondo Form: A B A C A (coda)
  • A is rounded binary (1st presented with repeats)
    • Theme a modulates G -> B minor

Mozart, Symphony No. 41 in C Major (Jupiter), K. 551: Finale (IV)

  • 1788
  • orchestra: string + flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 french horns, 2 trumpets, timpani
  • other movements: opera characteristics (esp movement 1)
    • I - Allegro Vivace (Sonata Form)
    • II - Andante Cantabile
    • III - Menuetto: Allegretto
  • IV Molto Allegro: Sonata form


Neal Zaslaw invokes the world of opera for an explanation of the “Jupiter” Symphony’s first movement: relationship between the opening fanfares and the closing theme is like that between a serious operatic character and a figure from comic opera.  Throughout the movement, Mozart moves between “high-brow” and popular musical styles with astonishing ease and without the slightest  incongruity.  Shortly after a great dramatic outburst (with a suspenseful general rest and an unexpected foray into the minor mode), we hear a beguilingly simple folk-like closing theme.  Mozart borrowed this theme from an aria for bass he had written just a few months earlier, in May 1788.  The words were possibly by Lorenzo Da Ponte, with whom Mozart collaborated on three of his greatest operas.  The aria, “Un bacio di mano” (“A Hand-kiss”), K. 541, was intended as an extra number for a comic opera by Pasquale Anfossi (1727-1797).  The text of the aria passage Mozart used in the “Jupiter” Symphony runs as follows:  “Voi siete un po’ tondo, mio caro Pompeo, le usanze del mondo andate a studiar” (“You are a bit naïve, my dear Pompeo, go study the ways of the world”).  In the development section, this theme becomes the starting point for a whole series of transformations, as if the simple melody were indeed “studying the ways of the world.



  • First theme group: several ideas (a, b, c)
    • Return in transition (a & c) & 2nd theme group (c & b’’) & closing theme c
    • New transition theme d (returns in 2nd theme group)
  • Evokes learned counterpoint (J.J. Fux treatise, Gradus ad parnassum, 1725)
    • 4-note theme a: from fugue example in Fux:
      • Full contrapuntal treatment (incl. stretto, fugato)
    • Many imitative and fugato passages
    • Displaying contrapuntal prowess within clear sonata form

Mozart, Symphony 41, IV – form

CODA (m. 356):

  • 5-voice fugato:
    • each voice introduces all the motives in turn (begins m. 372)
  • themes:
    • galant-style ideas in perfectly strict fugue:
      • reconciliation between learned and galant styles
  • one theme (b) left out of fugato:
    • functions as return to symphonic style (m. 402)

Coda form: counterpoint

Classical Chamber Music

Haydn, Op. 33, no. 2 “The Joke”

String Quartet

  • a genre of chamber music made up of 2 violins, viola and cello
  • usually 3 or 4 movements in sonata cycle
  • no direct predecessor
  • Haydn differentiated between symphony & string quartet style

String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2, “The Joke”, 1781

Haydn identified the Op. 33 quartets as of “a new and special kind”:

  • light, popular touch
  • integration of movements of varying character into a convincing whole
  • had a big impact on Mozart:
    • (“Haydn” quartets, 1782-5)
  • Koch used Haydn’s quartets as examples in his treatise on composition

form: 4 movements: Sonata Cycle:

  • I Sonata form, Allegro moderato cantabile, E flat
  • II [Minuet] & Trio (ABA), Allegro Scherzo*, E flat
  • III Theme & Variations, Largo e sostenuto, B flat
  • IV Rondo, Presto, E flat

*Scherzo = Joke in Italian

“The Joke”, finale IV (Presto) – Rondo Form

IV: Rondo: A B A C A + CODA (new form for finales)

  • typical form of rondo for Haydn

Rondo: alternates a theme (refrain) with contrasting episodes

  • Refrain (A): almost always in Tonic
    • mm.1-36
    • self-contained rounded binary: ||: a :||: b a :||
    • a = 1st 8 bars: return mm.29-36
    • never returns in full form with repeats
    • economy of material & constant novelty:
      • Whole refrain derives from 1st 2 bars - simplicity & sophistication
  • Episodes (B & C): modulate to nearby keys
    • provide contrast but develop figures from theme

“The Joke”, finale (Presto), 1781


A                B          A           C           A’      Coda
||:a:||: b a :||            a b a                   a       Adagio a’
E♭               A♭  f      E♭-------------------------------------------
m.1              M.36       m.72        m.107       m.141   m.148
  • Wit!!
  • comic elements:
    • plays with expectations
    • Melody of refrain:
      • Short phrases & staccato notes (opera buffa)
      • overruns bar line
    • Dramatic build-up before return of A (m72 & m 141): let down
    • Rests at end of movement, opening material used for ending (see score below)

Classical Opera

Mozart, Don Giovanni, 1787

Il dissoluto punito, ossia Il Don Giovanni
[The Profligate Punished or The Story of Don Juan]

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer
  • Lorenzo Da Ponte, librettist
  • Overture + 2 Acts + Epilogue
  • Don Juan story
  • in Italian
  • 1st performance, Prague, 1787

Prague Opera House: site of first performance in 1787

Mozart’s opera different from opera seria

  1. Dramatic continuity & forward momentum
    • vs stop & start of Baroque opera
    • “number” opera but more integrated
    • Still dry/simple recitative (just basso continuo accompaniment)
    • BUT more emotionally charged
  2. More ensembles (duets, trios) vs solo arias (about ½)
    • Dramatically and musically significant
  3. Characterization:
    • “real” people (vs myth/heroes) with complex feelings

Some Other Important Points About Don Giovanni

  • mixing genres and styles:
    • comedy & tragedy, funny & serious, low class/high class characters & styles
    • opera seria (serious opera) & opera buffa (comic opera):
    • “dramma giocoso”: Italian for “humorous drama”:
      =a comic opera admitting serious characters and themes
    • Don Giovanni: speaks buffa & seria
    • Donna Elvira: seria character or buffa?
      • Opening aria: over the top style – Baroque, large leaps
  • makes sense as music and drama:
    • continuous music & drama
    • coherent forms, logical key scheme: opening scene:
      Act I/sc i-ii: F (I) - B♭(IV) – g (ii or rel minor of B♭) – f (i)

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Overture

Overture: (D major/D minor):

Dramatically integrated:

  • sonata form with slow introduction (d minor)
  • D major/minor keys dramatically significant
  • returns in eerie cemetery scene: Commendatore’s statue
  • microcosm of the opera
  • mini portrait of Don Giovanni: dark/light
  • segues directly into scene 1

segue: to move easily and without interruption from one piece of music, part of a story, subject, or situation to another

Overture: dramatically integrated: SONATA FORM:

0:00      SLOW INTRO (D minor)
2:11      ALLEGRO THEME 1 (D major)
2:35      TRANSITION
2:52      ALLEGRO THEME 2 (A major)
4:58      TRANSITION
5:17      2ND THEME (D major)

Don Giovanni, Act I, sc.1-2

  • Some Main Characters in Act I, Scene 1-2:
    • Don Giovanni ( lyric baritone – comic style but constantly matching others)
    • Leporello: DG’s servant (opera buffa bass)
    • Donna Anna (stiff nobility; opera seria style)
    • Commendatore (Anna’s father, opera seria style)
  • Story in sc.1-2: fast, emotionally charged & continuous action
    • offstage attempted rape (Donna Anna) & a murder on stage (Commendatore)!
  • Ensemble Scene:


***continuous music & drama***

ARIA (Leporello): “Notte e giorno faticar” “Night and Day”

Text: Leporello complains that he always has to do the boring work: while his master, DG, gets to dally with beautiful women, L just gets to stand outside and keep watch.

Key: F Major


A      B       C       B       D       B' -> Trio
m.1    m.20    m.32    m.45    m.57    m.64

Music responds to text:

  • A: Leaping notes, quick scalar flourishes – pacing, comic tone
  • B: smooth, elegant, hunting horns: indicates gentleman (aristocrats hunt)
  • C: elegant, light
  • D: startled, fast comic patter

Segues directly into next scene

Leporello’s opening aria

LEPORELLO LEPORELLO A: Night and day I slave
for one who does not appreciate it.
I put up with wind and rain,
eat and sleep badly.
B: I want to be a gentleman
and to give up my servitude.
No, no, no, no, no, no,
I want to give up my servitude.
C: Oh, what a fine gentleman!
You stay inside with your lady
and I must play the sentinel!
B: Oh, what a fine gentleman, etc.
D: But I think someone is coming!
B’: I don’t want them to hear me, etc.

TRIO (m.73)

  • Don Giovanni, Donna Anna, Leporello
  • Key: B♭ – more serious style
  • Upward rushing string tremolos, crescendo
  • Form: A B B
  • Donna Anna: dramatic opera seria style
  • Don Giovanni: matches her style
  • Leporello: frets, hides
    • triadic, repetitive opera buffa style patter
  • confused situation:
    • repeat words, all singing at once, quick alternation

Act I, sc 1-2: final 3 sections


  • Commendatore enters & challenges Don Giovanni
  • Key: G minor
  • More tense, tremolos, rushing scales
  • Sword fight (m. 167): depicted in the music:
    • rapid rising scales, leaping octaves

CLOSING TRIO (m.176) (Don Giovanni, Leporello & Commendatore)

  • Commendatore mortally wounded, dies
  • increasing rests, sinking chromatic lines
  • Key: F minor
  • Ends on G triad: no final cadence, straight into recitative

RECITATIVE (SECCO): Scene 2 (NAWM 127b):

  • DG & Leporello make light of tragedy & exit

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