Baroque music : fascinating modern current

Baroque music – The term Baroque indicates the set of stylistic trends that have marked architecture, painting, sculpture, poetry, music and literature between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In the specific field of music, it is difficult to mark a clear line of demarcation that marks the beginning and the end, since the Baroque in music can be understood as a development of ideas already present during the late Renaissance.


In any case, it is an intense and interesting historical, artistic and cultural period, which has involved most of the European countries and, in particular, Italy; It is here, in fact, that baroque music originated thanks to the work and dedication of composers of the caliber of Claudio Monteverdi and it is from here that, subsequently, began to expand in the rest of the continent through the emigration of artists and musicians.

Even today, when we speak of “baroque music” we refer to all musical genres that have evolved since the end of Renaissance music and the birth of the style first gallant and then classical, in a period of time roughly between 1600 and 1750. The name, however, is not entirely accurate and the first to talk about it was the musicologist Manfred Bukofzer who, in 1947, in his book “Music in the Baroque Era from Monteverdi to Bach” made a more precise distinction between the three great styles that marked Western music between the late seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century:

  • the Italian concertante style;
  • the German counterpoint style;
  • the French instrumental style.

For this reason, experts prefer to speak more of “seventeenth century music” and not of “baroque music”, taking into account also the large number and wide variety of ideologies, trends, customs and traditions of the centuries in question.


The best known Italian composers of baroque music

In any case, one aspect remains unchanged: baroque music is Italian, therefore it owes its fame and its notoriety to the extraordinary Italian composers who allowed not only its birth, but also its success abroad, making it so memorable that it is practically unchanged today. Here are the 5 most important artists:

Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi was born in Cremona in 1567 and, with his artistic activity, has clearly marked the transition from Renaissance music to Baroque music and is fully one of the main innovators of musical language.

Claudio Monteverdi

Monteverdi’s career began at the court of Mantua, and then continued in the Republic of Venice; most of his works were unfortunately lost, but nine books of madrigals, religious works and three complete operas survived. The most important is certainly L’Orfeo, especially because it is the first example of Baroque music, from which the following will take inspiration.


Alessandro Scarlatti

Alessandro Scarlatti, originally from Palermo, was among the most famous Italian composers of baroque music, as well as among the leading exponents of the Neapolitan music school. Nicknamed “the Italian Orpheus”, he lived his career between Naples and Rome, where he gave life to much of his production. His works are known all over the world and have inspired the compositions of Cesti, Cavalli, Carissimi, Legrenzi and many other musicians who have worked after him. In addition, he was the creator of the Italian overture in three movements, the sonata in four parts and the technique of motion development.

But not only that: it was a great source of inspiration for the musical theater of his time, also touching other musical genres such as the big concert, the oratorio alla cantata and the motet of the mass.


Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, born in Venice in 1678, is among the Italian composers and violinists who best represented the musical baroque. Despite being a priest, for health reasons he was never able to celebrate Mass, thus devoting himself to music and composition.

Vivaldi is still considered the most important, influential and original Italian musician of his time, also because he contributed to the development of the concert (especially the solo one) and the technique of violin and orchestration. Among his compositions there are also concerts, sonatas and sacred pieces, but the most important remain undoubtedly “The four seasons”.


His work is very limited, since it corresponds to only six collections published but, despite this, has been very successful in Europe and has been an example for the artists who have succeeded him. In particular, Corelli was deeply admired for his balance and refinement, as well as for his sumptuous and original harmonies; his textures are majestically theatrical and his polyphony decidedly clear and melodious, all characteristics and qualities much appreciated by supporters of the classic ideals.

Over the course of his life, Corelli has taken on the role of conductor and soloist violinist at performances of operas and oratorios and it is thanks to him that the violin has found a privileged place among the most prestigious solo instruments. Courted by numerous courts, he was also admitted to the most important artistic society of the time, namely the Academy of Arcadia.

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