Music History Baroque vs. Classical Style Melody Term Paper

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Music History

Baroque vs. Classical style

Melody: In contrast to Classical music, Baroque music primarily tries to create a feeling of continuity rather than tell a story through a developing, evolving, or shifting use of melody. In Baroque pieces, the opening melody will be heard over and over again in the course of the piece. Many Baroque melodies are quite ornamental and elaborate while Classical melodies are much less adorned, and much easier to play and to remember ("Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007; "Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007). This greater simplicity allowed Classical composers to play with the use melody more within the different movements of the piece.

Rhythm: Baroque works are characterized by continuity of rhythm. Rhythmic patterns heard at the beginning of the piece are reiterated many times throughout the piece. The music sounds like it is pushing forward in an uninterrupted fashion, in contrast to the more flexible use of rhythm in Classical music ("Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007; "Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007).

Harmony: Because of the frequent use of polyphonic texture, the use of two different melodic lines that imitate one another, harmony is an important characteristic of Baroque pieces. The more continuous and similar uses of melody and rhythm in Baroque music means that Baroque harmonies are less varied than in Classical pieces ("Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007; "Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007).

Texture: Baroque music makes frequent use of polyphonic texture, where two or more melodic lines compete for the listener's attention, while Classical music is basically homophonic or singular in texture and melody.

Form: Classical works tend to favor forms that allow for many different movements, such as the sonata. Classical forms usually reach a kind of dramatic climax followed by a resolution. Classical works also have a more articulated internal structure. Baroque forms tend to have clear breaks and a single mood within pieces, with contrasts established only through different works ("Musopen: Music History Baroque," Musopen, 2007)

Dynamics: Dynamics are very clear in Baroque music, almost jarring to the listener. Baroque dynamics are called terraced dynamics, because they often have a slight pause, almost like stepping up or down a step and gradual changes are almost nonexistent in Baroque music. Classical music makes a much wider use of in-between dynamic changes ("Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007; "Characteristics of Baroque Music,", 2007).

Discuss the Sonata Allegro Form

When and how it is used: The Sonata Allegro form developed during the Classical era. It is a three part form, known as an ABA structure. The first part is called the exposition, the second section, the development of material from the exposition, where the melody… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Music History Baroque vs. Classical Style Melody.  (2007, March 26).  Retrieved January 18, 2020, from

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"Music History Baroque vs. Classical Style Melody."  26 March 2007.  Web.  18 January 2020. <>.

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"Music History Baroque vs. Classical Style Melody."  March 26, 2007.  Accessed January 18, 2020.