Talk:Baroque music

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I think it is time to hammer out a way of proceeding, instead of just chipping away at this and that detail, as has been happening over the past several days. This is beginning to take on the appearance of a petty editing war between Harpsichord246 and myself, and I do not believe either of us means it that way. There are some serious issues here that involve other articles on Wikipedia beside this one. Harpsichord246 recently removed what I think we both regard as an ill-considered statement, with the edit summary: "The late Baroque can also refer to the Galante style since Galante is not an era of its own. This extends to the 1750's and beyond". While I agree that the late Baroque can be defined as synonymous with the galant(e) style, this is not usual, and the question of a separate period called the "Galant era" is not uncontroversial. Bukofzer clearly regards there to be a Galant era standing between the late Baroque and the beginning of the Classical era, and some more recent scholars (notably Daniel Heartz) appear to agree with him. It is also the case that "late Baroque" is not an era of its own, but rather a vaguely defined subregion of the Baroque era. We have on Wikipedia two separate articles which cover substantially the same subject, Galant and Galante music. Neither is entirely plain about whether this is a style within a larger era, or a period of its own, but both suggest it is a period. They disagree about the boundaries, however. The former describes it as "a style, principally occurring in the third quarter of the 18th century, which featured a return to classical simplicity after the complexity of the late Baroque era"—in other words, not a part of the late Baroque, and this article is categorized as "Classical period (music)". The latter article, by contrast, sets the time frame as "A new style of classical music, fashionable from the 1720s to the 1770s". This article is also categorized as "Classical period (music)", and not Baroque. Adding to the confusion, the article Rococo (though to be sure an article primarily about the visual arts, not music) states "also referred to as 'Late Baroque'", and its subsection on music says "The Galante Style was the equivalent of Rococo in music history, too, between Baroque and Classical". (FWIW, the link here redirects to the article "Galante music", rather than to "Galant".) On the larger scale, Claude Palisca's article in the New Grove (which was the subject of Harpsichord246's deletion and comment quoted above) shows great deference to Bukofzer on the question of the beginning and end dates for the Baroque era, as well as to the subdivision of it into early, middle, and late periods. However, he also makes plain that there is considerable variation of opinion, particularly about when it should be considered to have begun. Bukofzer may take pride of place but, as Palisca points out, the French musicologist Suzanne Clercx "arrived at an autonomously musical analysis of the Baroque in music" independent of but contemporaneously with Bukofzer, and came to quite different conclusions. For one thing, she "pushed the beginning of the period back to the middle of the 16th century, where she located a phase of ‘primitive Baroque’". For Clercx, the true or "full" Baroque era is synonymous with the 17th century, and she described the period from 1700 to either 1740 or 1765 as the "tardy Baroque". In this respect, it may be worth keeping in mind that French music historians often use the term "classique" to refer to the entire 18th century, not just its second half, as is usual in the English-language literature. It seems to me that this article ought to at least take into account these differing opinions on periodization. I propose that the current three-part division into "early", "middle", and "late" be expanded to five sections, adding a discussion of Clercx's "primitive Baroque" (perhaps a source can be found with a better English expression for this—perhaps "Proto-Baroque"?), and incorporating the present (unreferenced) section "Transition to the Classical era" as a fifth subdivision, discussing the Galant(e) style/era and related conceptions. This would balance the "transition out" with a "transition in", as well as introduce the element of differing scholarly opinions. At the same time, there needs to be some discussion of the different views about where the boundaries should be between the early, middle, and late phases of the Baroque. Former versions of this article placed the boundaries (especially between the first two) very differently, but without offering any sources. I suspect these came from some student's class notes, which in turn may have been based on who knows what. I changed these to follow Bukofzer, because after more than half a century he remains the most highly respected authority on the subject, but his is not the only view. Bach's death in 1750, for example, is a convenient excuse for using that year to mark the division between the Baroque and Classical periods, but it is just as artificial a distortion of history as that comedian who once quipped, "On 31 December 1599, all the Renaissance composers died".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:45, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Old Style or New Style? Contact Basemetal here 19:28, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
You have raised a number of separate issues. Here are some initial thoughts:
  • No eras have definitive beginning or ending dates, and that's especially true in the mid-18th century. There was substantial overlap between the ongoing Baroque style and the new galant/rococo style, and many composers were still writing Renaissance-style motets as well. Bach even wrote a cantata poking fun at the contrast, with Apollo making music in the old style and Pan competing with him in newer styles.
  • The tripartite division of the Baroque is reallly entrenched in the literature, so moving to a 5-part division doesn't really serve our readers well. The "proto-Baroque" idea should be presented as a minority view, but the "transition to the Classical" section should stay as it is, although there's no reason not to provide references for authors who describe the galant as a "late Baroque" variant. In fact, really most information about the galant should be outsourced to its own article and just a couple sentences here would suffice.
  • Galant and Galante music should be combined into one article.
Wahoofive (talk) 18:16, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I think one of the questions I have about labeling things Galante is which composers fall under this category, since there is indeed a large overlap of the "Galante period" with the Baroque and Early Classical Eras. — Harpsichord246 (talk) 01:20, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Misleading content[edit]

Not to intervene in the periodization question I note that the contents of the article are misleading. The most egregious example being that anyone reading the "Early baroque" section will come out with the incorrect impression that "Early baroque" was an exclusively Italian phenomenon. In general there's no attempt, despite a series of composers from various regions of Europe being mentioned in the lede, to give an accurate picture of the geographic spread and relative importance of the various regions of Europe in the three subperiods. At the very least all the composers mentioned in the lede should be mentioned again in the body of the article and should be placed in their subperiod. Contact Basemetal here 19:10, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Another important flaw of the article I've just noticed: Basso Continuo is only mentioned once in the body of the article and nowhere in the lede, even though it is an essential feature of the Baroque period. Indeed the Baroque period is almost exactly coextensive with the period of use of the Basso Continuo (as a living practice, I don't mean the notational device). A reader who comes to the article knowing nothing (granted such a reader is not likely to exist, but still orientation articles such as this one should be written as if) is certain to miss, remain ignorant of this defining feature of the Baroque period. Contact Basemetal here 11:13, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Agree with most of this. This article doesn't do justice to the topic by a long shot. What we really need is a new section ("Characteristics of the Baroque style"?) detailing the characteristics that make the Baroque a single period BEFORE we break it into three (or however many) pieces. And we might want another section on genres, with subsections for opera and concerto and so forth; in many cases those would be summaries linked to larger articles. —Wahoofive (talk) 03:54, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh, another good 'un: heard of a fellow by the name of J.S. Bach? Not mentioned in any subperiod. Only as one of those who continued composing into the classical era but were "more of the past". You've gotta be kidding me! I'll stop. The problems are obvious. Like Wahoofive I'll post my wishlist. If someone decides to put in the time, they'll know what we as readers would like. Contact Basemetal here 12:20, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Trivia: An exclusively French way of labeling a Baroque subperiod[edit]

Just a note about the diversity of labels for the Baroque period in various countries. I remember seeing a French set meant for the wider public consisting of two books and a collection of (vinyl) records about the history of music from probably the 1960s or the 1970s which used the label "Pré-classique" for a whole bunch of composers which would now be called Baroque. The so-called "Pré-classique" was used essentially for Italian composers from Corelli to Vivaldi (say). However this is not to say that no Italian were applied the label "Baroque", because, if I remember correctly, Pergolesi ("Pergolèse") was in the Baroque section of the collection. Go figure. I wonder if anyone knows what musicologist used that "Pré-classique" label. Contact Basemetal here 19:29, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

The term "préclassique" (which I believe means "classic field" ;-) has been used by the French since time immemorial, or 1870, whichever came first ;-) Seriously, my Petit Robert (1972) says it first came into use "v. 1870", and is a term used in literature and the arts signifying "Qui précède la période classique." For the term classique, however, Robert gives for music, "d'une période arbitrairement limitée (xviiie s.), en musicologie", while also conceding its use more generally to refer to "Musique des grands auteurs de la tradition musicale occidentale (opposé à folklorique, légère, de variétés). Cf. Grande musique." Although I can find examples in the former sense as early as 1909 in texts by ordinary French human beings, for an actual musicologue, I find Antoine Goléa, Esthétique de la musique contemporaine (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1954), p. 149: "grâce auquel une œuvre moderne inspirée de la musique préclassique nous apparâit plus évidemment moderne, plus authentique qu’une œuvre moderne se réclamant de Liszt, de Wagner ou de Brahms." This would seem to suggest we have got it all wrong with the idea of neoclassical music, which ought to be corrected to "neopreclassical music" ;-). (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) For the other French usage I mentioned some months ago, the locus classicus (if you will pardon the expression) is Bernard Champigneulle, L’âge classique de la musique française (Paris: Aubier, 1946) who treats under the term "classique" all of the music of the 17th and 18th centuries.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:58, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I want to confirm that the label I was alluding to was indeed "préclassique" as Jerome Kohl wrote, and not "Pré-classique" as I did. All the English around here messes up my French. As to the joke about "classic field" (which I suspect was inspired by my (mis)spelling) it comes from the fact that French "pré" means "meadow". Finally in French "musique classique" can mean both music in the classical style and classical music (i.e. Western art music broadly speaking). Contact Basemetal here 05:51, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Not necessarily a mis(-)spelling: I have seen it with a hyphen, though more often without. The French are not to be outdone by the English when it comes to inconsistency! Who was that Frenchman who said, "Dois-je me contredis? Très bien, alors je me contredis. (Je suis vaste, je contiens des multitudes.)"?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:06, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Gautier Ouitemane.(Gautier Leblanc?). He ran off to America, where he got himself a new SSN, and the rest is history. Contact Basemetal here 10:30, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Ouai, c'est le mec!—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:49, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Too much[edit]

Too much info about Baroque composers was deleted.

Anonymous96.226.22.43 (talk) 05:42, 11 January 2014 (UTC)


The lede states that the term "baroque" wasn't applied to music until the 20th century, after the first usage for architecture; while the Etymology section states that the term's first usage for music was in 1734, predating the usage for architecture. It looks like the lede is the one that's out of date, but both sections reference honest-to-goodness BOOKS that I don't own. I'm a tourist here, can anyone easily resolve this?TheCensorFencer (talk) 06:30, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

A very good point. I think what is in the lede is a remnant that has lost something along the way. The term "baroque" was not applied as a period designator in music history until the twentieth century, though the term itself was used (in a pejorative sense) in application to music as early as 1734. This definitely needs to be corrected. Thank you.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:43, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

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Proposal for updating the list of key composers.[edit]

My intention is updating the list of prominent composers. The list includes 21 names and it’s been said that it shouldn’t be increased, therefore I propose the substitution of Denis Gaultier and Johann Pachelbel (or Jan Dismas Zelenka), by Juan Cabanilles and José de Nebra because, in my humble opinión, they have more merits to be included on that list.

A short summary (Google translation)

-Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712). Summit organistic Spanish tradition. Born in the town of Algemesí (Valencia), Juan Cabanilles was a prominent composer and organist in the Spanish Baroque (called by some people "the Spanish Bach"). Cabanilles’ life evolves around the religious world, which will be greatly influenced by, because of his religious studies conducted in the cathedral of Valencia and also was taught by the organist of the parish of San Jaime de Algemesí, Onofre Guinovant. Over the years he was acquireing mastery on the instrument, until he became the principal organist of the Cathedral of Valencia when he was 21 years old. He held this position until his death in 1712. Cabanilles' work is, almost entirely, organ and within this embodiment he shows special interest in the tientos and verses. A lot of his organ Works have been preserved: more than 200 tientos, 160 verses, 2 battles 5 Galliards 5 Pasacalles, 6 tocatas, etc. “Tiento” is a very musical way of Hispanic music which is essentially composed for solo instruments as the key, harp or organ (late seventeenth century only make up for keyboard instruments such as organ). Organ music of Juan Cabanilles represents the culmination of the Spanish-Portuguese organist music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His works include: "Mortales Que Amais" and "Gloria Patri et Filio"

-José de Nebra (1702-1768). One of the greatest composers of the Baroque, especially his zarzuelas stand. Son of Jose Antonio Nebra Mosque (1672-1748), organist of the Cathedral of Cuenca and teacher of the Infants of Choir between 1711 and 1729, received music lessons from his father. His brothers also dedicated to music, both organists at the Cathedral of Zaragoza. Nebra becomes organist of the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1719. Towards 1723 begins to compose stage music that sells in the theaters of Madrid, in 1724 he was named second organist of the Chapel Royal. After the fire of the Royal Alcazar of Madrid in 1734, which disappeared completely the collection of sacred music of the Royal Chapel in, he dedicated, along with Antonio de Literes, to the composition of new works to replace the destroyed ones. He was named manager of the Music Archive of the Royal Chapel, whose assets will increase with their own works and with those of many national and international authors. He was named vice master of the Royal Chapel in 1751. When Queen Maria Barbara de Braganza dies in 1758, he is responsible for the music of funeral services, with a very prominent Requiem. In 1761 he teaches Infante don Gabriel top lay the harpsichord. Nowadays, more than 170 works of his works survive, although they continue to discover his works in different files. Among his most notable works we find "Iphigenia in Thrace" (1747), "Donde hay violencia no hay culpa" (1744) and "Viento es La Dicha de amor" (1744). If you are interested you can hear many of his works here.

--Historia Española (talk) 15:19, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

It is unfortunately the case on Wikipedia that humble opinions do not count for much. In the ordinary way of things, reliable sources are required, though in cases such as we are dealing with, they are seldom demanded. Instead, editorial consensus may be invoked, and I suggest that a discussion with the aim of reaching consensus should be begun. It seems to me that there are at least two separate issues here. First, how many names is it reasonable to list as "key" composers? The list presently has 21 names on it, but it began as a much shorter list of seven or eight names. Should it continue to grow unchecked, or can a number limit (perhaps only an approximate one) be set? The second point is more difficult, and that is, how does a composer qualify as "key" for this period. There is no question in my mind that Cabanilles, at least, is a key Spanish composer, but is that sufficient? If so, then other nations should also have their turn. Portugal, for example. What about Poland or Sweden (both major European powers in the 17th century)? Or is Cabanilles of sufficient stature that he rates higher than, say, Dieterich Buxtehude, who is not currently on the list? Up until now, this has been an open field, into which anyone can insert his or her favourite Baroque composer. I personally miss Biagio Marini, Giuseppe Tartini, and Francesco Maria Veracini, to restrict my "wish list" only to Italian violinists. Adding French violinists, I might suggest Jean-Fery Rebel and Jean-Marie Leclair as worthy names. Johann Joachim Quantz, Jacques-Martin Hotteterre, and Michel Blavet are important enough as flautists to be nominated. Now, if it were to be a competition, how should these eight names, plus the Spaniards Nebra and Cabanilles be ranked in importance, on a scale of one to ten? Please give your opinions.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:55, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
Hi, of course I do not think it is enough that a composer is prominent nationally to include him in the list. Buxtehude was a great composer, we could say he was the German Cabanilles, but, honestly, I do not consider them to have the same quality. About the composers you name, I think probably the most important are Veracini, Tartini (mainly by the Devil's Trill Sonata) and perhaps Rebel, I consider all of them less important than Buxtehude.--Historia Española (talk) 23:38, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Leaving aside for the moment the question of how large a number there may be of "key" composers, I notice you do not rank Nebra relative to these other composers. I find it interesting that you would rank Rebel above Leclair, which I don't think many would do. What is your reasoning for this?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:58, 19 August 2016 (UTC)