Music in the Baroque: Western Music in Context

SKU 978-0-393-92917-1
Baroque music in its cultural, social, and intellectual contexts.

Wendy Heller's Music in the Baroque traces the production and consumption of music in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Going beyond a history of styles, the text explores patronage, education, religious and civic ritual, theater, and visual culture. Heller focuses not only on the nature of music in the Baroque period, but also on the very different ways in which men and women experienced music in their daily lives. Treating music as an expression of political and national identity, she examines it in the context of the era's art and literature, political and religious conflicts, and contentious issues of class and gender.

Western Music in Context: A Norton History comprises six volumes of moderate length, each written in an engaging style by a recognized expert. Authoritative and current, the series examines music in the broadest sense—as sounds notated, performed, and heard—focusing not only on composers and works, but also on broader social and intellectual currents.

Chapter 1: Baroque Music in Early Modern Europe

Part I: Musical Expression and Innovation

Chapter 2: Ancients and Moderns
Chapter 3: Theatrical Baroque
Chapter 4: The Art and Craft of Instrumental Music in the Early Seventeenth Century
Chapter 5: Music in Civic and Religious Ritual

Part II: Musical Institutions

Chapter 6: Public Opera in Venice and Beyond
Chapter 7: Pleasure and Power at the Court of Louis XIV
Chapter 8: Music in Seventeenth-Century England
Chapter 9: Music Education
Chapter 10: Academies, Salons, and Music Societies

Part III: Musical Synthesis in the Capitals of Europe

Chapter 11: Rome in the Age of the Arcadian Academy
Chapter 12: Parisians and Their Music in the Eighteenth Century
Chapter 13: Music in City, Court, and Church in the Holy Roman Empire
Chapter 14: The London of Handel and Hogarth
Chapter 15: Postlude and Prelude: Bach and the Baroque

Like the other volumes in the series, Music in the Baroque brings a fresh perspective to the study of music by emphasizing social, cultural, intellectual, and political contexts of the music. Wendy Heller looks far beyond the notes on the page or the details of composers’ lives to embrace audiences, performers, institutions, and social settings. For example, the text argues that a narrow focus on composers and works obscures important aspects of eighteenth-century musical life, such as the growth of the symphony orchestra and the internationalization of musical culture.

Numerous themes unite the entire Western Music in Context series into a rich yet coherent narrative and help students tie together what they learn about music history, including:

  • The role of gender, race, and class in musical culture
  • Music and national identity, including encounters with Asia and the Americas
  • The role of technology in composing and disseminating music from the advent of notation to the digital age
  • Music for public and private consumption
  • Relationships among composers, performers, and audiences
  • Music education for composers, performers, and the general public

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