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Thread: Did Baroque music have "keys?"

  1. #61
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubberDuckie View Post
    Exactly. It is the structure that takes center stage. The tonal center, or the lack of as in atonal music, takes a secondary (sometimes tertiary) role. The theme, or subject, or thematic material(s) would probably what our ears gravitate to in that case...
    In any case, how one uses a key in a Sonata Form is irrelevant to how the Sonata Form is usually utilized :

    (Intro)
    Exposition with Subject I, (transition/modulation), Subject II, (Codetta)
    Development (maybe new Subject)
    Recapitulation with Subject I, (transition), Subject II
    (Coda)

    No matter what one does, key or no key, this structure remains intact.
    I disagree, and think this is somewhat misleading. As we all know, harmony as a formal concept was not developed until after the Baroque. Still, Bach used harmony intuitively, and this ties in with what EdwardBast is saying: our sense of harmony and of perceiving key centers is largely intuitive, because it is guided by the ear.

    So you can't just ignore key centers and focus on form. Tonality DID EXIST in the Baroque. It was just not explicitly expressed in formal concepts or thought about.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2020 at 14:22.
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    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I disagree, and think this is somewhat misleading. As we all know, harmony as a formal concept was not developed until after the Baroque. Still, Bach used harmony intuitively, and this ties in with what EdwardBast is saying: our sense of harmony and of perceiving key centers is largely intuitive, because it is guided by the ear.

    So you can't just ignore key centers and focus on form. Tonality DID EXIST in the Baroque. It was just not explicitly expressed in formal concepts or thought about.
    I wonder how children learned to play back then? No chords?, no naming of the scales in sequential keys?
    "The Piano is my second self.” Chopin

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    Senior Member isorhythm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    I wonder how children learned to play back then? No chords?, no naming of the scales in sequential keys?
    They definitely learned scales, keys, and chords.

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    Quote Originally Posted by isorhythm View Post
    They definitely learned scales, keys, and chords.
    You forgot the most important part - they learned melo-chordal stylistic patterns and existing songs.
    Of course, they did learn about more abstract objects like scales and chords, but there was no unified and consistent system. And it was probably way more practical than theoretical teaching (someone recently created a topic on Neapolitan school, there are many funny details in books that research it, like the way children practiced cliche patterns on different instruments at the same time, I can only imagine the cacophony ). Many chords and modes were recognized quite recently as cyclic permutations of each other. Many interval names are also quite recent. I am pretty sure that village folk musicians (and most people didn't live in cities until 19th-20th century) were also not trained in whatever was passing for "classical" training and learned from older traditional music like it was until recently in places like India/Africa etc.
    Last edited by BabyGiraffe; Jul-29-2020 at 17:51.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I disagree, and think this is somewhat misleading. As we all know, harmony as a formal concept was not developed until after the Baroque. Still, Bach used harmony intuitively, and this ties in with what EdwardBast is saying: our sense of harmony and of perceiving key centers is largely intuitive, because it is guided by the ear.

    So you can't just ignore key centers and focus on form. Tonality DID EXIST in the Baroque. It was just not explicitly expressed in formal concepts or thought about.
    This is completely incorrect. The concept of harmony was well established in the late Renaissance and it was specifically established in favor of what we would call triads in root position and first inversion. In the third part of his Istitutioni harmoniche (1558), Chapter 59,* Gioseffo Zarlino describes in detail what is required for "perfect harmony." Since I have quoted passages from this chapter to correct your previous misstatements, I'll just summarize briefly: Zarlino advises that "harmony is truly perfect" when "in every change of chord … there are heard all of those consonances whose components give a variety of sound." The consonances to which he refers are the fifth and the third and their compounds, along with the sixth, which can sound in place of the fifth. He is advocating that composers use, as much as possible, complete triads in root position or first inversion. This is harmony as a formal concept used to describe the practice of composers 200 years before Bach.

    Oh, and tonality was explicitly expressed in formal concepts and it was thought about. You might want to look up the word "key."

    Conclusion: You don't know what you're talking about. You don't know enough about the history of theory to make pronouncements on the subject. You've repeated this same erroneous information several times in different threads. Please try to educate yourself or at least stop misleading others.


    *trans. Guy A. Marco and Claude V Palisca, New York, Norton (1976), pp. 184-90.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    This is completely incorrect....You don't know what you're talking about. You don't know enough about the history of theory to make pronouncements on the subject. You've repeated this same erroneous information several times in different threads. Please try to educate yourself or at least stop misleading others.
    I think you're just misinterpreting what I said, Edward. It's true that their was some elementary theorizing about harmony (Rameau also), but this concerned triads, and was geared for figured bass thinkers. There was no concept of chord function, or chord progression.

    Harmony had not fully developed in the Baroque; they still used figured bass. Every schoolboy knows that.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2020 at 20:01.
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I disagree, and think this is somewhat misleading. As we all know, harmony as a formal concept was not developed until after the Baroque. Still, Bach used harmony intuitively, and this ties in with what EdwardBast is saying: our sense of harmony and of perceiving key centers is largely intuitive, because it is guided by the ear.

    So you can't just ignore key centers and focus on form. Tonality DID EXIST in the Baroque. It was just not explicitly expressed in formal concepts or thought about.
    I don't disagree with you. But the overall way of organizing a musical piece is still governed by the structure. Key or tonal center was thrown out in the Second Viennese School and beyond, but structural construct still plays a role.

    I suppose ... if we were to make it into the music history, we need to temper with structure as well as tonal treatment of materials.

  9. #68
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Harmony had not fully developed in the Baroque; they still used figured bass.
    MR. MR, refer back to my post, #47, for Classical era examples of figured bass





    JOURNAL ARTICLE
    The "Galant" Style in J. S. Bach's "Musical Offering:" Widening the Dimensions
    Gregory Butler
    "What has been written about galant features in Bach's late works in general and the Musical Offering in particular has tended to focus on surface details. As a result galant style is said to be characterized by simplified melody clearly articulated into short, balanced phrases, and employing such figures as triplets, syncopations, and appoggiatura "sigh" motives, dominating a thinned-out, polarized texture in which the bass part abandons any thematic engagement with the upper part for a sort of bland, generic diet of repeated notes and other similar patterns. The view that in the case of the Musical offering these references to the galant style were intended by Bach both to demonstrate his engagement with progressive tendencies and to appeal to certain aesthetic sensibilities at the Potsdam court of the collection's dedicatee is widely accepted by Bach scholars. ..."
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jul-30-2020 at 08:41.

  10. #69
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what the point is, but in the Baroque the concepts of chord function and chord progression had not developed. There may have been talk of triads and roots, and other elementary ideas.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Senior Member Torkelburger's Avatar
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    But isn't there chord progressions and chord functions in the Bach chorale harmonizations? I see plenty of blocked chords progressing and functioning in a harmonic fashion in those pieces. Granted, you can say the 4-voice structure is somewhat contrapuntal as well since it is voice-led and each line has motion, but nonetheless the texture is chordal for stretches at a time.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torkelburger View Post
    But isn't there chord progressions and chord functions in the Bach chorale harmonizations? I see plenty of blocked chords progressing and functioning in a harmonic fashion in those pieces. Granted, you can say the 4-voice structure is somewhat contrapuntal as well since it is voice-led and each line has motion, but nonetheless the texture is chordal for stretches at a time.
    Sure, we could analyze it that way.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

  13. #72
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    This is completely incorrect. The concept of harmony was well established in the late Renaissance and it was specifically established in favor of what we would call triads in root position and first inversion. In the third part of his Istitutioni harmoniche (1558), Chapter 59,* Gioseffo Zarlino describes in detail what is required for "perfect harmony." Since I have quoted passages from this chapter to correct your previous misstatements, I'll just summarize briefly: Zarlino advises that "harmony is truly perfect" when "in every change of chord … there are heard all of those consonances whose components give a variety of sound." The consonances to which he refers are the fifth and the third and their compounds, along with the sixth, which can sound in place of the fifth. He is advocating that composers use, as much as possible, complete triads in root position or first inversion. This is harmony as a formal concept used to describe the practice of composers 200 years before Bach.

    Oh, and tonality was explicitly expressed in formal concepts and it was thought about. You might want to look up the word "key."

    Conclusion: You don't know what you're talking about. You don't know enough about the history of theory to make pronouncements on the subject. You've repeated this same erroneous information several times in different threads. Please try to educate yourself or at least stop misleading others.


    *trans. Guy A. Marco and Claude V Palisca, New York, Norton (1976), pp. 184-90.
    You're ascribing too much importance to Zarlino. He was an Italian theorist between Aristoxenus and Rameau, and his main contributions were in the area of tuning, temperament, and meantone tempering. He theorized the primacy of triad over interval, thus perhaps foreshadowing Rameau's "root" idea.
    But this was all before harmony had developed the ideas of chords and chord progressions.

    Retort: You don't know what I'm talking about. Your knowledge of music history is distorted, and does not venture outside the box of your paradigms. So before you make insulting pronouncements such as the above, please be sure you understand what it is I am saying about harmony. Your arrogance in accusing me of spreading erroneous information has no place in a civil forum where ideas are discussed.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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