Baroque - Musical Definition

Baroque - The Baroque period in music as it is known today lasted from around 1600 to 1750, culminating in the great works of J.S.Bach and G.F.Handel. The word itself is French in origin, and apparently describes a pearl of irregular shape and referred to the strangeness, irregularity and extravagance of art in the period. Later it was adopted by the music community.

Various features are given special emphasis during the period - the use of [basso continuo] (a group of accompanying instruments which variously included harpsichords, double bass, lute and other instruments); the emphasis on contrasts as epitomised by the form of the [Ritornello], in which a central tutti is contrasted with solistic elements in between; and a belief in 'the doctrine of the affections'.
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Musical examples from the Baroque Period:

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