The Baroque Period - Bardi to Bach

The Baroque (1600- 1750) is a period of immense musical change. The era begins with a group of men in Florence, led by Count Bardi, influencing the direction of music and finishes with the wonders of the late Baroque and composers like Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, who changed music forever.


  • Renaissance vs Baroque – Composers in the early Baroque had a very different approach to music than those in the late Renaissance. What were these major differences, how did these changes come about and what was their impact on the rest of the era?
  • Early Baroque 1600- 1650 – In the Baroque, music was reinventing itself, shifting the emphasis from elaborate music using words to paint pictures, to new forms of music called monody, homophony and even the recitative and basso continuo.
  • The Sociology of Baroque Music– What was the world like for the musician at the beginning of the Baroque? How were they educated? How were they employed? What were their roles? Who were the Castrati and how did they come about?
  • The middle years of the Baroque– In the middle of the 17th century the focus of innovation moved from Italy to France where Jean-Baptiste Lully developed a new strain of opera amid the grandiloquence of the French court. Lully also established a new ensemble which would later develop into an orchestra.
  • Instrumental music of the late Baroque – The last 50 years of the Baroque is where some of the most beautiful, sublime music of the period is written: Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Passions and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to name a few. This class looks at the instrumental music of the late Baroque.
  • Vocal music of the late Baroque – There are many different types of vocal music to explore in the last part of the Baroque including the opera, cantata, oratorio and finally the mass.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify key characteristics of the period.
  2. Explain changes which occurred throughout the era.
  3. Discuss various different compositional techniques from the period.

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.