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Musical Notation In The Baroque Period

Baroque music began to develop in the early 1600 under the composition of Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel. Originally descending from Renaissance music, Baroque style used more elaborate and complex musical themes with substantial changes brought to the musical notation that required performers to become highly proficient in their skills.

Although Baroque music was characterised by articulations, accents and dynamics, the proficiency of the performer can be clearly noted in double-dotting. This process implied the extension of a note by one half, and provided the initial written piece a degree of exhilaration which could have not been achieved by simply performing the piece as it was written. In some cases, the compositor would add the double-dotting on to the musical sheet, yet in other circumstances it was left to the performer to add the double-dotting through his interpretation. Nevertheless, interpreters were not to distort the poetry of their songs in order to fit the musical notation, but rather to adjust the notation in order to fit properly with the words. In a performance group, the singers would thus also perform a translation of the musical notation into correct speech patterns that the instrumentalists were to follow with their performance.

The early Baroque period can be regarded as a time of experimentation, where the early concepts of toccata, sonata, concerto, suite, fugue, and prelude emerged. Contrasting rangers, tempo and tone colour from this period set the base of the modern tonality. By 1690-1750, the initial tonality of the Baroque music generated substantial formal patterns such as the ritornello form in concerto and the grand da capo aria. The Baroque period was thus strongly characterised by changes brought to musical notation and the development of new instrumental playing techniques which further contributed to the expanding complexity range, and size of the instrumental performance. This made possible the establishment of opera as a musical gender during the Baroque period. Changing the idea of notes with chords during this time became one of the basic ideas in musical notation.

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