Have you ever heard the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, musicians have their own version - "if it ain't Baroque, don't fix it"! We enjoy puns.
That being said, the Baroque Era (~1600 - 1750) was the first of several periods to define classical music. This style featured grand themes, clear and simple melodies, and dramatic ideas.
The handsome guy in the wig is J.S. Bach, one of the most famous Baroque composers. He, along with others such as George Fridric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Philipp Telemann utilized some very unique instruments to develop the style. One of them is the harpsichord, an instrument similar to piano that plucks strings when a key is pressed.
Here is a video showing J.S. Bach's use of the harpsichord (feel free to skip around; it's a long video!). Listen carefully to how the strings sound plucked, like a violin!
Other popular instruments of the Baroque era include: oboe, violin, and recorder. Click on the instrument names for Baroque musical examples!
Now onto some more information about another composer...
Antonio Vivaldi is the famous red-haired priest from Italy that helped popularize string quartets - that's two violins, one viola, and one cello to make an ensemble of four. (Of course, most paintings feature his wig and not his red hair...)
One of his most famous works is Four Seasons for orchestra. These are often performed at weddings and events that want to celebrate the season. Check it out!
These are some samples of Baroque music that best represent the period. If you're looking for more examples, check out this playlist of Baroque music. It may give you some inspiration!
Stay tuned for the next installment of the "Classical" Music Information Series - the actual Classical era!