How Vocal and Choral Music Came About in the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical Period
More than 1 in 5 households have at least one singing family member, making choral singing the most popular form of participation in the performing arts for both adults and children. Music is an art, entertainment, pleasure, and medicine for the body and soul. Playing and listening to music is intrinsic to all cultures and has surprising benefits not only for improving memory and focusing attention, but also for physical coordination and development. Let’s drive deeper into what is choral music and understand its importance.
With the writing of the operas L’Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea among others, Monteverdi brought considerable attention to the new genre of opera.
Cappella refers to the choral music without any accompaniment (Apel 141). This form of unaccompanied music is in much favour since it is applicable in chapels and the secular world. Some of the instruments that could accompany choral music include orchestra but piano, flute or guitar. Since choral music meets a variety of needs, its performance can occur in many locations like the church, school halls, and opera houses. In some instances, choral music could involve mass choirs meant for special reasons as celebrations or entertainment. During the composition of the choral music, there are equally important voices that require consideration. These voices include soprano, alto, tenor and bass (Forney 45). Soprano refers to the highest vocal range, which is common among female singers though some boys could exhibit it. Alto is the second highest vocal range, which is the highest male voice while for females it is known as contralto. This voice is placed just below soprano, but above tenor.
Many of the musical genres still in use today, like the oratorio, concerto and opera, originated in the period. Twentieth century composers such as Ralph Vaughn Williams, Igor Stravinsky and Benjamin Britten paid homage to the baroque in their works. Its influence can even be heard outside the realm of art music: the free movement between solo and group in jazz is sometimes compared to baroque music, and snippets of Bach and Vivaldi frequently appear in the solos of heavy metal guitarists. And the spirit of the baroque—an unwavering belief in the power of music to touch people’s lives—changed music history forever.
Apel, Willi. Harvard dictionary of music. 2d ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969. Print.
Forney, Kristine, and Joseph Machlis. The enjoyment of music: an introduction to perceptive listening. 10th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.
Juslin, Patrik N., and John A. Sloboda. Music and emotion: theory and research. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.