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Music Through the Centuries
by Don Robertson

2005 by Rising World Entertainment

-> About "Music Through the Centuries"

-> About Don Robertson

Part 3 - The Seventeenth Century

This very important century in Western classical music has been nearly forgotten. 

Let us help introduce it to you.

-> Part 1: Overview

-> Part 2: The Florentine Camarata

-> Part 3: Venice

-> Part 4: Sacred Music in Bologna

-> Part 5: Other Italian Composers

-> Part 6: Sacred Music in France

The music of the 1600s is different from that of the 1700s, both of which contain music that we call baroque. The baroque music that most of us are familiar with was composed during the 1700s. Manfred Bukofzer had this to say about this difference:

Why Don't We Know About this Music?

     "It is a strange though incontestable fact that of the immense treasure of baroque music, only certain compositions in late baroque style have succeeded in finding a permanent, if subordinate, place in the present-day musical repertory and that, as a consequence, the characteristics of late baroque style are commonly mistaken for those of the baroque as a whole. It would be wrong to explain this preference by contending that the late baroque masters were "greater" than their predecessors; this interpretation would only confirm the lack of familiarity with the previous periods of baroque music. 
     "The reason lies deeper than that. Late baroque music does indeed differ from that of the earlier phases of baroque style in one important respect: it is written in the idiom of fully established tonality. After the pre-tonal experimentations of the early baroque and and the use of a rudimentary tonality in the middle baroque period, the definitive realization of tonality in Italy about 1680 marks the decisive turning point in the history of harmony which coincides with the beginning of the late baroque period. It is precisely the use of tonality in the late baroque that connects this period more closely than any other with the living musical repertory of today."

Manfred Bukofzer from Music in the Baroque Era

Go to the Next Century

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