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Musical baroque: ornamentation, basso continuo, suite and sonata. Find out what they are.
Baroque music is a seminal period in the history of classical music, characterized by its wide variety of styles, virtuosic ornamentation, basso continuo technique, and the use of musical forms such as the suite and sonata.

The Baroque period is a precious gem, a powerful era that danced in harmony in the ears of the nobility and brought about lasting changes in the world of music, with its flamboyant and imaginative atmosphere still evident until the mid-18th century. 

The Baroque period spans about 150 years, starting with the Opera Daphne, the first attempt at opera in the 1600s, until Johann Sebastian Bach's death in 1750. The term Baroque derives from the Portuguese term "barroco", which means " Formless pearl”. While this term is often used in a negative sense, it does accurately describe Baroque music.

Jean Jacques Rousseau explained that “Baroque music is music whose harmony is not obviously full of incompatible tonalities and difficult to perform”. The music of this period is characterized by contradictions, conflicts between groups of instruments and the use of different pitches.

In the Baroque period, the instruments were fiercely opposed to each other and the technique used in this period ushered in the age of concerts. Volume level was used to reinforce musical expression, and the opening and closing parts of works were emphasized more than the middle ones.

Also, music for instruments, particularly for the violin, began to grow around this time. Music such as the sonata and the concert were produced, devoid of a human voice.

The Baroque period was the era of opera and two important styles of singing were used: recitative and aria. Recitative is a type of song, while aria has effective melodies.

One of the hallmarks of Baroque music is ornamentation. Baroque composers decorated the main melody with a series of additional notes, called ornaments, which added a sense of virtuosity and emotional expression.

This technique consists of adding extra notes or small musical decorations (called "ornaments") to the main melody. The ornaments can be of different types, such as trills, mordents, gruppettos, acciaccaturas, portamentos, appogiaturas and other rhythmic or melodic variations.

Some of the composers best known for their ornamentation are Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Friedrich Händel.

Another distinctive trait of Baroque music is the 'continuous bass', an accompaniment technique in which a figured bass is played by an instrument such as the cello or bassoon, while an instrument such as the harpsichord or organ plays the harmonic part. This technique allowed composers to create a great variety of sonorities, while maintaining a coherent harmonic structure.

Baroque music is also characterized by the use of musical forms such as the suite and sonata, which allowed composers to explore a wide range of musical expression within a single composition. For example, a Baroque suite might include a variety of dances such as the gigue, sarabande, and minuet, while a Baroque sonata might include a variety of movements such as the adagio, allegro, and presto.

Some of the most notable composers of the Baroque period include Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi, Arcangelo Corelli and Henry Purcell. These composers profoundly influenced later music, and their impact can still be felt today.

Baroque music is a seminal period in the history of classical music, characterized by its wide variety of styles, virtuosic ornamentation, basso continuo technique, and the use of musical forms such as the suite and sonata. 

The Baroque period continues to hold a legendary place in the history of art, and the intense emotions evoked in every Baroque period work we hear is testament to its lasting impact on music.

“Musical Society” painted by Johannes Voorhout in 1674. The harpsichordist in the painting has been identified as Johann Adam Reinken, the organist of the Katharinenkirche in Hamburg. Furthermore, the sheet of music on his knees contains a dedication to Reinken and to Dietrich Buxtehude, an important composer and organist of the Lübeck Marienkirche.

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