Rapid keyboard composition for organ dating from the baroque period

The realities of patronage Any discussion of a Baroque composer’s artistic philosophy should be tempered, at least slightly, by the reality of their lives.

In modern times, artists frequently earn a living producing exactly the kind of art they are moved to create.

A belief in music as a potent tool of communication One of the major philosophical currents in Baroque music comes from the Renaissance interest in ideas from ancient Greece and Rome.

The Greeks and Romans believed that music was a powerful tool of communication and could arouse any emotion in its listeners.

Contrast as a dramatic element Contrast is an important ingredient in the drama of a Baroque composition.

The differences between loud and soft, solo and ensemble (as in the concerto), different instruments and timbres all play an important role in many Baroque compositions.

Composers also began to be more precise about instrumentation, often specifying the instruments on which a piece should be played instead of allowing the performer to choose.

Brilliant instruments like the trumpet and violin also grew in popularity.

As part of the effort to imitate ancient music, composers started focusing less on the complicated polyphony that dominated the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and more on a single voice with a simplified accompaniment, or monody.

If music was a form of rhetoric, as the writings of the Greeks and Romans indicate, a powerful orator is necessary—and who better for the job than a vocal soloist?

This has been confirmed to me since by several who were there.

Such is the power and force of melody, rhythm and harmony over the mind.

When viewed in this light, Baroque music can provide a fascinating window into history.