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Instrumental music in the 18th century

Italy had a lot of influence on the rest of Europe.The three main forms of instrumental
music in Italy were the sonata, the concerto and the sinfonia

Sonata

Suonata – refers to any instrumental piece, comes from the word suonare meaning to
sound.

Solo sonata – a solo instrument that was usually accompanied by basso continuo, which a
keyboard instrument and a string instrument.

Trio sonata - two solo instrumental roles, accompanied by basso continuo.

Structure of the sonata


It has a changing number of short pieces. Usually most of the movements are in the same
key, except the slow movement which is in the middle normally. The sequence is based
on contradictions of rhythm and meter.
Common structure –
1. slow –moderate, in quadruple time (4/4). Allemande which means German
2. fast – moderate, in triple time (3/8). Courante which means a French or Italian
dance.
3. very slow, in triple time (3/2). Sarabande, Spanish
4. very fast, in 6/8. Gigue, Irish

Sonata de camera – is a sonata that is performed in a room.

Sonata de chiesa – it’s movemets performed in a church between the parts of the mass.
Here, it’s movements do not have names of dances.

Arcangelo Corelli

He was born next to Bologna in 1653 and died in Rome in 1713. He worked as a church
music, and a court musician. He was known as a violinist with a very noble style of
playing, and was famous worldwide. Everything he composed was published
immediately in Amsterdam. He composed solely instrumental pieces.
In Rome, he was a member of the Academy of Arcadia. He compose relatively little – 4
notebooks of trio sonatas for 2 violins and basso continuo. In every notebook there were
12 pieces.
In 1705, he published an issue of solo sonatas (Op.5) for violin and bass along with 6
chiesa, 5 camera and 1 variations on a theme la folia.In these pieces, Corelli wrote only
the basic music and he noted that the players need to added improvised ornamentation.
A few months after his death, there was an issue published of 12 concerti grossi Op.6.
Concerto

The word seems to have origin from the conjunction of the two Latin words conserere
(meaning to tie, to join, to weave) and certamen (competition, fight): the idea is that the
two parts in a concert, the soloist and the orchestra, alternate episodes of opposition and
cooperation in the creation of the music flow.
The concerto, as understood in this modern way, arose in the Baroque period side by side
with the concerto grosso, which contrasted a small group of instruments with the rest of
the orchestra.

2 types of Concerto:
Grosso - was an invention of Corelli. It’s a piece without a permanent number of
movments (btwn 5 to 9) and is based on contradictions between two ensembles or groups
of instruments. One of them is called concertino which is usually two solo violins and
basso continuo against the rest of the orchestra that is called ripieno.
Characs – has a lot of forte and piano contradictions, imitations, dramatic, noble and very
balanced in style.
Solo – The genre was created by Vivaldi, who shaped the structure and characteristics. It
has 3 movements: fast - short slow movement – fast dance-like. It's based on ripieno
against only one solo player, in an individual virtuosic style. It reflects the new ideals of
the time, which is individualism. The fast episode is built out of a sequence of ritornelli
and solo parts. The fast and last ritornelli are in the tonic, and the solo has the function of
the transfer. For instance: R1(I) – S1 (I) – R2(V) – S2(V) – R3(IV) – S3(V) – R4(I). The
form is an innovative form because it sustains the tonal tension. The style was
unanimously adopted by Italian composers of the time.

Antonio Vivaldi

He was born in 1678 in Venice. His father was a violinist in the church of San Marco.
Vivaldi was a rather sickly person. He received education as a preist, and studied some
violin playing from his father, however he never got a proper school education.

In 1703, he got a job as a violin teacher in an orphanage called Ospedale della Pietà
where he taught for 37 years. He had a talented group of female students who studied
under him. The institute had special instruments and Vivaldi taught violin, viola and
singing. Besides this, he was required to write 2 concerti a month.

In 1712, he started writing operas, writing 40 operas which were church pieces. Many of
his opera pieces were written for a singer that he was in love with who had a rather small
voice range and wasn't to improvise. Thus the arias were suited to her capabilities.
At the age of 61, he lost his work and fame in Venice, so he moved looking for better
opportunities in Vienna. However, he expired 2 years later from a disease, and was
buried in a simple grave in the hospital burial grounds.

He composed
- 60 cantatas – for soprano or alto solo,
- psalms verses, mass parts, motets,
- 90 sonatas of various types,
- about 500 concerti of which 236 are for violin solo, 22 are for 2 /3 violins, 6 are for
viola d'amore, 37 are for cello, 19 for flutes of different kinds, 37 for oboe, 39 for
bassoon and many more. Only 84 of his concerti were published in all.
Most of his pieces were not published, but Vivaldi sold them to rich tourists in Venice.

After his death, he was a forgotten figure until 1926, when a monastery in Piedmont
decided to get rid of old manuscripts from their library. It contained 300 folders of music
that reached Torrino library. From these, there were 27 folders that contained unknown
compositions by Vivaldi.

In 1725, Vivaldi published the Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione, (The contest


between harmony and invention) – a set of 12 concerti published as Op. 8, all for violin
solo. The first four concerti are known as The Four Seasons.

Sinfonia

The word in Italy means to sound together – it is an orchestral piece, where there is no
real hierarchy between the instruments & all play together. It was considered the new-
galante style of its time. The Sinfonia developed originally as an Italian overture – a
preparation for an operatic show.

Scale: Usually it's in comfortable scale for most instruments –D major, C major, G
major.
It has a light and simple style.

Structure: It has one episode that consists of 3 short divisions – fast and loud, slow and
lyrical, fast short dance-like.

2 types :
Sinfona Avanti L'Opera – overture for an opera
Sinfonia da Camera –
Giovanni Battista Sammartini (1700 – 1775)
Sammartini was born in Milan, and received his musical education from his father. In
1726, he got the position of maestro di capella in a church in Milan. He quickly obtained
fame as a church composer in and out of Italy. Over the years, he joined about 8 churchs
as a composer, and wrote music for special occasions and nobility.

His compositions include 80 symphonies, 15 concertos, 20 string quartets, more than 200
sonatas, 7 operas, 3 masses and more. A fair amount of his works have been lost, and a
fair amount have been published under other names, specially getting confused with his
own brother Giuseppe. Although he never strayed far from Milan, he came into contact
with many notable composers including J.C. Bach, Mozart, Boccherini, and Gluck, who
became his student later on.

Sammartini is mostly praised for his innovations in the development of the symphony,
perhaps more so than the schools of thought in Mannheim and Vienna. His approach to
symphonic composition was unique in that it drew influence from the trio sonata and
concerto forms, in contrast to other composers during the time that modeled symphonies
after the Italian overture. His symphonies were driven by rhythm and a clearer form, and
never ceased to be inventive, and sometimes anticipated the direction of the classical
music era. (The grandfather of the classical symphony, with Haydn being the father)

Sammartini's Sinfonia in D major – is divided into 3 movements.


1) Allegro in D major – has diatonic progressions with a unison melody. He defines the
scale and thus creates the tonal basis. He creates a symmetrical structure of the subject
that constitutes a galante style
2) Adagio in B minor – that is based on the subject.
3) The 3rd movement has an Italian dance like nature, with double time sign.

The Sinfonia in Germany and Austria

The Mannheim school / court

Mannheim school refers to both the orchestral techniques pioneered by the court
orchestra of Mannheim, as well as the group of composers who wrote such music for the
orchestra of Mannheim.

The Mannheim school had a special system of sinfonia composition. It developed under
the rule of King Charles Theodore (1724 – 1799), who ruled in Bavaria in south east
Germany. The city of Mannheim was rather small, until King Theodore made it the
capital of his district in the middle of the 18th century.
Karl Theodore built his Mannheim Palace in a German style (which at that time was a
mixture of different styles). The city itself had a small population of 23,000 residents,
and most of them served at the huge palace.
In the castle, he held a chapel of Bohemian Czech musicians. These musicians served in
operatic theatre, and other times instrumental music. These performances were meant for
members of the court and for other guests in the city (because Mannheim was half-way
between Vienna and Paris, distinguished travelers from Vienna would stop half-way at
Mannheim and were invited to the court to listen to the music). Mozart was very
influenced by this school, and spent 4 months in Mannheim on his way to Paris in 1776.

The specialty of the orchestra was its size – in this small city, the orchestra was made up
of 24 full-time musicians: 10 1st violinists, 8 violists, 4 violists, and additional wind
instruments like oboes, flutes, clarinets and bassoons. Occasionally, there were also
horns and trumpet players. Dual clarinets were a permanent feature of the Mannheim
orchestra. In some cases, there was a total of 60 players. It was considered a very unique
ensemble because of its large size, and the full tone it produced. They had no need to use
a basso continuo. Usually, the symphonic pieces consisted of a unison melody or root-
position chords, but the special effect was mainly creating by the big body of musicians.
The Mannheim school consisted of great musicians of its day – they were all soloists as
well as composers who studied composition of opera and symphonies for instrumental
concerts.

Composers of the Mannheim school introduced a number of novel ideas into the
orchestral music of their day:
Sudden crescendos – the Mannheim Crescendo (a crescendo developed via the whole
orchestra) – and decrescendos; crescendos with piano releases;
the Mannheim Rocket (a swiftly ascending passage typically having a rising arpeggiated
melodic line over an ostinato bass line);
the Mannheim Sigh (a mannered treatment of the Baroque practice of putting more
weight on the first of two notes in descending pairs of slurred notes);
the Mannheim Birds (imitation of birds chirping in solo passages),
the Grand Pause where the playing stops for a moment, resulting in total silence, only to
restart vigorously.

The Concertmeister of the orchestra was Johann Stamitz. Even though he died at the age
of 40, he managed to compose a large amount of music. His two sons, Carl and Anton
Stamitz were both musicians at Mannheim. Other important musicians at the court were
Christian Cannabich, Franz Richter & Anton Filtz. They created the Mannheim
symphony in its solid form: In concert it was performed as sinfonia de camera. The
symphony was still Galante in nature. It consisted of 4 movements:
1 – fast
2 - slow in an operatic Aria style
3 – minuet
4- very quick
The 3rd movement is a minuet, is the addition to sinfonia de camera – it's Italian
counterpart did not have this. It was added because of the association of the minuet to the
social class of the French aristocracy from the court of Louis XIV. The dance was
instituted by Lully in Versaille, and was adopted by other parts of Europe
- The dance was fashionable.
- It had a harmonic texture (not imitative)
- A da capo structure, was symmetrical
- It was a moderate dance without strict rhythmic patterns
- It was a dance for inter-changing couples
Besides this, it also served as a contradiction to the other movements.

Charateristics of the Mannheim Symphony –


- Orchestration : tutti, impressive in its energy, had short solo parts
- It was influenced by Italian opera (sigh motive)
- Significantly longer length from the sinfonia, and it also had more tonal development

In 1777, King Karl Theodore moved to Munich with his court.

Developments in keyboard instruments in the 18th century

Cembalo (harpsichord) – pluck by quills


Clavichord – struck by tangents.
Spinet – A spinet is a harpsichord with the strings set at an angle (usually about 30
degrees) to the keyboard.
Hammered piano - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano - Early history

Piano Music in Italy –

Domenico Scarlatti

Domenico Scarlatti was the son of Alessandro Scarlatti, himself a noteworthy composer.
Scarlatti was born in the same year as Bach and Handel (1685 – 1757). He was a very
successful boy, being a child prodigy. He was born in Naples, and studied music under
his father. When he moved to Rome he quickly became music-manager of the Vatican.
Later he moved to Portugal and was the instrument teacher to Princess Maria Barbara.
When the princess moved to Madrid in Spain for her marriage, Scarlatti went with her.

Technical effects that Scarlatti used in his music –


Clashing dissonant notes - for instance, sustained notes and its solutions at the same
time, that were taken from the Italian vocal music of its time
Hands cross each other often
Repeated notes at fast speeds
Voice imitations
Influences of Spanish and Portuguese folk music with guitars (parallel 5ths), castanets in
dance forms of the fandango and the jota.

Scarlattti composed 550 sonatas – almost all of them for harpsichord. Only a small
fraction of Scarlatti's compositions were published during his lifetime. A famous
collection of his published in 1738 called 30 Essercizi (Exercises) spread widely
throughout Europe.

Scarlatti's Piano Sonata K. 96 in D major – jota imitation


The piece had pedagogical functions.
Style: light and easy
Structure: 2-3 sections
Musical nature: Allegro Cantabile
Accompaniment: Alberti Bass, a steady rhythmic pulse. Continuous harmonic support
with the bass, but slow harmonic rhythm.

Piano Music in North Germany – the sentimental style (Emfindsamkeit)

Characs:
- spontaneous, radical changes in rhythm, register, scale and meter.
- The strong expression of personal emotion
- Usage of dramatic Reccitative – Minor scales, unpredictable improvisational nature

C.P.E. Bach (1714 – 1788)


The main representative of the Prussian school was Carl Philip Emanuel Bach.
He was born in Weimar, the second son of J.S. Bach. He studied law in Leipzig
University. Between 1741 – 67, he was a court musician in the court of Frederick II in
Berlin. Between 1767 – 88 he was a church musician in Hamburg, where he met
Telemann.

He composed about 1000 pieces. Among them were 8 series of keyboard sonatas, 50
concerti for keyboard, chamber music, religious and secular songs, canatas, passions and
many more.

He turned the sonata into a serious work of music. Between 1779 – 87, he published Fur
kenner und Liebhaber which consisted of 6 files of keyboard pieces for 'music lovers
AND professionals'.

Rondo by C.P.E. Bach – Wq. 59/4


It has repeating main section in the same scale and episodes in different scales. It has
daring modulations.
Theme – variation - episode