Baroque Music Art & Mood Free Essay Samples & Outline

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Connection between Baroque Art and Baroque Music

Baroque Art and Baroque MusicThe baroque is an era of artistic style that utilized exaggerated clear motion that easily interpreted fine details to generate tension, drama, exuberance, architecture, literature, painting, dance and music. This period started in Rome, Italy and eventually dominated the entire Europe. The ancient Roman Catholic Church promoted the popularity and dominance of the Baroque. The church believed that art should teach religions messages in emotional and direct involvement. During the period, Baroque art was defined as technique of impressing important visitors and expressing power, control and triumph.

On the other hand, Baroque music refers to a style of western music. The era of this art music was preceded by Renaissance period and followed the classical epoch. Baroque was a negative portrayal of the heavily ornamented art music common during this era. The art music forms a chief portion of the famous classical music canon that was widely performed, studied and listened to. This period had divergent features depending in the various nations of Europe. It was initially identified in Italy in sixteenth century and manifested in German two centuries later. Studies differentiate Baroque period. Many researchers associated the era with stylistic complex and contradictory works (Laudon, 2008).

Historical background of Baroque period

While understanding the underlying connection between the music and arts used during this period, it is important to have a historical context of the period. During the 17th century (also called the first modern age), people experienced different changes. During this period, people’s awareness of their surrounding was expanding continuously. Scientific discoveries during this period influenced different arts. Example after realization that the earth was not at the center of the universe, this discovery coincided with an art with the rise of pure landscape painting full of human beings (Laudon, 2008). On the other hand, different art works in this period aroused due to the continuous trade and colonization policies passed by many European nations.

Despite the efforts made in the art works and music used during this period, some factors had direct influence on the nature of the arts and music used. Religion (especially the Roman Catholic) and its movement with an aim of combating the spread of Protestantism in Europe employed some emotional, dramatic and realistic arts aiming propagating their faith (Cunningham, 2010). However, in some regions such as Germany and Netherlands, Protestantism was prevalent. This on the other hand shows the impact that religion had on the architectural styles in different areas. Lastly, artwork during this period faced an influence from political situations. Some absolute monarchies in France prompted the creation of artwork reflecting their size.

Characteristics of baroque period

As stated earlier, during this period, there was development of new ideas and views of the society (Laudon, 2008). Expression of these new ideas and views was mainly through advancement and use of past artistic ideas while intending to expand their own motives. Studies reveal that during this period, there were many changes in the past artistic works. The general characteristic of Baroque arts and music is the sense of movement energy and as well tension created (Levy, 2004). In the art, there is a great application of contrast of light and shadow by the artists enhancing dramatic effects on the painting and as well sculptures. On the other hand, there is another underlying characteristic of all music used during this period. Baroque music accompanied parts (Laudon, 2008).

On the other hand, music used during this period had a characteristic of having a single unifying element (Levy, 2004). That is both the bass and the treble played different roles but continuously had a positive effect on the music both emotionally and in terms of the melody. The bass supported the melody while the treble expressed the mood. More so, there was expression of interchanged idioms in Baroque music. This was mostly during exchange between instruments used and vocals. This is a major characteristic of Baroque music making it unique (Levy, 2004).

Lastly, Baroque music had a characteristic of having unbroken lines, well-spaced which had long phrases. This was mostly in France where there was ornamentation (Laudon, 2008). More so, application of homophonic texture was common and remained in check by the fast-moving continua. While paying interest in the relation between the melody and chord progression in music used during this period, consideration of chord began weighing more heavily as compared to consideration done on the melody. Baroque music had some variations. This appears consistently as an element that brought a difference in the music used in other regions (Levy, 2004).
Connection between Baroque visual arts and Baroque music

Religious themes

Religious themes dominated baroque music and visual arts during the counter-reformation period. The artists of the time introduced straightforward religious themes with an aim of drawing the illiterate members of the public back to church. During the baroque era, religion was the main part of life and everything revolve around religion. This included the traditions, socialization, as well as political experiences (Laudon, 2008). Artists played a major role in ensuring that the significance of religion was withheld through generation. Religious themes were therefore highly dominant in baroque music (Levy, 2004).

On the other hand, baroque music exhibits some major religious aspects. Like in baroque visual arts, baroque music was also used in communicating religious messages to the public and to bring people closer to God. The reasons for the dominance of religious themes in baroque music and visual arts can be attributed to the significance of religion to people those days. Religion was and has been an important part of human life for a long time. Since music and visual arts are an important tool for communication, they formed a major means through which religion was shared and passed over generations. Over the years, the desire to increase clarity and simplicity led to reactions against the Mannesrist style. Annibale Carracci and Michelangelo Merisi played major roles in changing the representation of religious themes into art. The two managed to introduce a different level of naturalism by incorporating believable activities in their works (Cunningham, 2010).

Space of freeze-frame action

Space and freeze-frame action is an artistic style of depicting action at the most dramatic point. This was unlike other forms or art where the pictures give a wide view of the story or message. For instance, we can consider the story on the crucifixion of Christ in the holy bible. In baroque art, the story was represented in pictorial form with the various actions of the crucifixion frozen on the foreground. This gives a more dramatic and clear representation of the story. Peter Paul Reuben in his art uses deposition to depict the lowering of Christ’s body from the cross. This adds to the dramatic effect of the picture and enhanced its ability to communicate the intended message (Laudon, 2008).

Emotional intensity and tension

Emotional intensity and tension are common characteristics that are dominant in baroque music and visual arts. Although this aspect is expressed differently in music and art, the effect is similar in the two. In visual arts, artists use light and shadow to express the intensity of the message (Cunningham, 2010). The intensity of light or shadow in a painting in baroque artwork is dependent on the subject matter. The artists used this technique craftily to ensure that every topic or message creates the intended impresses to the audience. This is further to intended to improve the communication aspect of art by ensuring that every subject is clear. This feature is especially well demonstrated in Caravaggio’s paintings. His paintings have a dark of black background with lights only illuminating the most important details on the painting. With such clear distinction, it is difficult for anyone to miss the message of the painting. Moreover, the audience is able to distinguish between the very essential details and those that are less important as per the painting. Caravaggio’s painting on crucifixion of St. Peter has a black background with an illuminated picture of the saint. The eye of the view is drawn to the tortured saint, which forms the major subject matter of the painting.

Paintings by Saint Teresa’s (1576-1636), involved the use of simple curving lines to demonstrate departure from the current to earlier works. Her paintings were characterized by fantastic effects and real dramatic tension. Since Teresa has great mastery of creating emotional variation, she became favorite artists for the pope and did several Vatican paintings.

Emotional intensity is also significantly dominant in baroque music. During the baroque era, emotions were referred to as affections. Baroque music incorporates intense emotions of real life through a stylistic selection of words and sounds. This has the ability of triggering the emotions of a listener and creates a visual image in his/her mind. The main intention of incorporating emotional intensity is to ensure that the listener moves with the singer or writer through the song (Laudon, 2008). This way the listener assumes the position of the composer or singer and is able to visualize every occurrence in the song just as if he/she were the original composer of the song. Over the years, Italian baroque music has been the best in expressing emotions in the best way. It is important to note that the emotional intensity in the music is emphasized through stage performances. The expressions, voice intonations, body movement must agree with the emotions created by the words. Otherwise, the emotions in the song could be misunderstood. For instance, performers should not put on a happy face when presenting a song that expresses sad emotions (Laudon, 2008).

Dramatic realism

Baroque works of art exhibit dramatic realism in an exceptionally unique way. Dramatic realism is a skill that has been in use for a long time. In music and literature, this aspect is used to express reflections of time and environment (Levy, 2004). This aspect emphasizes the contemporary view of occurrences and attempts to define reality or the actual situation in real life. This is unlike a situation where an artist creates an idealized representation of a situation or message. Dramatic realism ensures that the picture is close to the reality as possible. Still on the example of crucifixion, baroque artists represent death with a withered body as a sign of lifelessness. Brugghen’s picture is one of the art works that clearly represent passion and tragedy that Christ endured in satisfying his quest to save humanity (Laudon, 2008).

Baroque music also uses dramatic realism particularly through performances. Baroques dancers have great mastery of how to express different situations through stage performances. Non-verbal performances are a proof to their mastery of performance techniques where they use beats and rhythms to pass a message instead of spoken words. In baroque music, dramatic realism was expressed through performance where performers assumed the actual situation in real life. This aspect is expressed through costumes and other accessories that performers use when making their presentations (Laudon, 2008).

Diverse use of techniques and idioms

Baroque works of art are a masterpiece particularly when we base our analysis on the period in which the pieces of art were developed. The artists exhibit great experience and talent in developing ideas and representing the real world on flat surfaces. Most of the pictures drawn during the baroque era are still significant today. This demonstrates the perfection that baroque artists had in developing their works of art. The use of color to distinguish the intensity or significance of a message is a fantastic innovation of the baroque era. From a nonprofessional’s point of view, such a skill may seem to be insignificant. However, baroque artists used it to develop masterpieces and pass different messages, which make their pictures essential to date (Levy, 2004).

The use of idioms and the way in which they are incorporated in the music is dynamic and impactful. The development of aspects such as the opera, oratorio, cantata and solo sonata occurred during the baroque era. It is during this period in which the use of style in music became highly noticeable (Cunningham, 2010). This means that baroque verbal representation of music was indirect, intellectual and pictorial. Music composers drifted their focus from basic passing of message to the inclusion of different techniques and style to express their emotions or perceptions towards life occurrences. The opera is a significant innovation of the baroque era. This innovation allowed the realization of great affections in music and enhanced message passing as well as quality of music. The opera is also a representation of melody and melodic freedom that is expressed by different music composers (Levy, 2004).


From the findings above it is clear that there exists a connection between the styles of aspect of baroque visual arts and baroque music. Although baroque art and music are dated several centuries ago, they are still significant resources in the modern world. The connection between baroque music and visual arts is evident through a number of characteristics. These characteristics include, dominance of religious themes, use of space of freeze-frame action to emphasize important aspects, emotional intensity and tension, dramatic realism, diverse use of techniques and idioms. In all these characteristics, the main intent is to increase the clarity of the message and ensure accuracy (Cunningham, 2010).

Art and music are significant modes of message passing but there is a highly likelihood of message misinterpretation by the audience. The artwork and performances must be as direct as possible but must also include a high level of creativity and representation of intellectualism. Baroque visual art and music serve almost the same purpose. The only difference exists in their nature. Otherwise, the mode of presentation and the purposes is relatively similar in most cases. Baroque music and visual art was relevant and still is to date. It forms an area of interest to several scholars particularly in the field of history and art. It is fascinating to realize the level to which baroque must had advanced to despite the fact that it existed several decades ago.


Laudon, R. T. (2008). The era after the Baroque: Music and the fine arts 1750-1900. Hillsdale, N.Y: Pendragon Press.
Levy, E. (2004). Propaganda and the Jesuit Baroque. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
Cunningham, L., & Reich, J. J. (2010). Culture & values: A survey of the humanities / Lawrence S. Cunningham, John J. Reich. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.


Sample Essay On Music and Mood


musicMusic is an art of sound used to express emotions and concepts in substantial forms through features such as, tune, accord, color, and beat. It had been known to exist from as far as before the continental drifting that caused humans to separate. However, throughout the centuries, music has been evolving in terms of instrumentation, form, style, Philosophy of Art, Techniques of Composition, Fusion of Art Techniques, Types of pieces the composers most commonly write, among many others. For example, a culture’s music is defined by the aspects of that culture, its social, economic, climate and accessibility to technology.

Eras and places determine the music’s emotions and expressions, circumstances in which the music is played to and approach towards music players and composers. Jazz and Blues music have been integral in the influence of mood. Music is part of Human culture and researchers have come to understand that music can be an integral part of the health of persons. In fact, there has been a relationship between mood and music. This research paper is going to focus on whether music has any relation to mood.

Literature review

(Schuller, 2010) Researchers have often attributed Jazz music and Blues towards the lifting of moods for most Black Americans. They often feel a sense of pride being black, and this increases their moods. For a long period close to half of the twentieth century, jazz music dominated the United States as one of the most popular forms of dance music. Dance bands and dance music was in existence even before the rise of jazz. After the rise of jazz and blues music in America, there were more dance bands. The origin of jazz and blues early on in the century was characterized by small bands of up to seven players and in a common style that was known as New Orleans. New Orleans was the first place where jazz music was first codified.

Peterson (1988) argues that from a historical perspective, jazz music was largely a musical creation of African Americans. Jazz however was much more than music. When it reached a high in its influence, it became a culture, a movement and would influence certain areas of human life such as dress, attitude, and even language. In its influence, it was an inspiration to poets, writers as well as visual artists in the United States and most especially the African Americans.

The music was associated with several negative things such as drugs and sex. To poets and writers, the inspiration was frequent as there was a sense of dissonance, spontaneity as well as the music’s attitude that was anti-bourgeois that had some aspects of modernism. It is important to understand that Jazz and Blues music have often been used as music therapy. This therapy has been used for centuries when it comes to the restoration of energy, the improvement of mood and helping the body to heal more naturally. Tobias (1984) states that the influence that tis music had on poets was deep and contributed highly to the development of literal works that is today considered among the best work by poets. It is said that it dramatically improved the moods of persons and led to creativity.

Read about the songs by Wagner

Bakari (1987) states that another type of music that often brings about a change in mood is classical music. This includes music by Ludwig Van Beethoven. He is renowned for his prowess in influencing classical music in history, and his music has remained to be among the most reviewed and played and is also considered among the most important composers of all time. His music can bring either sadness or happiness.

Bakari (1987) further noted that music is not just good for elevating mood, he found out that people that are going through breakups or those that have relationship problems often prefer music and experiences that reflect their negative mood. Further, it was also determined that the preference for sad music was often higher when people experienced an interpersonal loss as compared to an impersonal loss such as the losing of a football game.


In this study, there will be a total of 25 participants, 12 male, and 13 female. The participants will be kept in a room, and different type of music will play. 7 of the participants will be African American, three will be Latino and 15 will be white. The experiment will take place in a music room where there will be no interruptions, and the participants will be able to understand the music and hear the lyrics. They will be informed the aim of the experiment as this will not compromise the quality of data gotten from the experiment.

Firstly, there will be the playing of Jazz music for the African Americans and Beethoven music for the rest of the participants. It will then be observed whether there will be a change in mood for the participants. A questionnaire will be used in order to understand the degree of change in mood for the participants.

There will also be the use of the interview technique where the participants will be questioned on how they felt during the whole exercise and whether indeed their moods were uplifted or downgraded when they listened to the music. There will be no ethical issues in this experiment as there will be informed consent on the part of the participants.


Peterson., (1988). The new real book : jazz classics, choice standards, pop-fusion classics for all instrumentalists and vocalists.
Tobias, T. (January 01, 1984). Mood swings. New York Magazine, 58-59.
Schuller, Björn, Dorfner, Johannes, & Rigoll, Gerhard. (2010). Determination of Nonprototypical Valence and Arousal in Popular Music: Features and Performances. (BioMed Central Ltd.) BioMed Central Ltd.
Bakari, I. (January 01, 1987). New mood of the eighties. West Africa, 3655, 1690-1691.