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BAROQUE TREATISES ON MUSICAL PERFORMANCE for dancing mad

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anybody here know of any good BAROQUE TREATISES ON MUSICAL PERFORMANCE? it's for this:

 

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You're really asking about an area that people actually get degrees in. Early music is basically the study of performance, theory, and history of the early classical period and before, usually about 1775 and earlier. Is a thesis on the subject.

A treatise on the subject is not likely to exist. For the most part, instrumental training of the period required a master teacher to teach their students using their own methods, many of which either didn't survive or didn't age well. Composers also didn't really document these things until the end of the Baroque period, in that area of music that could just be called "18th century." The divide between classical and baroque at 1750 really doesn't make much sense, especially if you're trying to find stylistic information to inform your writing in the idiom. Rameau wrote a treatise on music theory, but that is more theoretical and less performance practice.

I did some research, and found that harpsichord methods actually do an okay job of introducing the concepts, although a lot of it isn't really clear unless you have somebody familiar with the style going through it with you. You're going to have to look at it through the lens of a performer, and really try to dig in to the performance aspect of it before you try to apply it as an arranger.

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Well, as far as Baroque musical theory is concerned, Zarlino's Treatise was what people had, back in the day.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2307/3392823

I've read through the third portion twice (it's specifically on counterpoint - it's how I learned the subject myself). Much of it is dated even during the Baroque era (such as the strict avoidance of imperfect parallels), but if you're trying to replicate a style there's no better read for it. As a funny aside, it'd also teach you how to write modal Rennaisance music, so that's an additional plus.

There's likely more to Baroque music theory and styles than that, but that's a good start. The writing is old and dry, and the tome is rather large, so be prepared for a few drowsy nights of reading if you take it on.

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On 4/26/2019 at 3:48 PM, Gario said:

Well, as far as Baroque musical theory is concerned, Zarlino's Treatise was what people had, back in the day.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2307/3392823

I've read through the third portion twice (it's specifically on counterpoint - it's how I learned the subject myself). Much of it is dated even during the Baroque era (such as the strict avoidance of imperfect parallels), but if you're trying to replicate a style there's no better read for it. As a funny aside, it'd also teach you how to write modal Rennaisance music, so that's an additional plus.

There's likely more to Baroque music theory and styles than that, but that's a good start. The writing is old and dry, and the tome is rather large, so be prepared for a few drowsy nights of reading if you take it on.

I was mainly approaching from a performance practice standpoint and how to apply it appropriately in the writing process. I am going to read through this Treatise you have presented here, because I am quite interested in learning about Renaissance modes, and possibly applying them to modern music.

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1 hour ago, JohnStacy said:

I am going to read through this Treatise you have presented here, because I am quite interested in learning about Renaissance modes, and possibly applying them to modern music.

I could give a short-short answer if it helps:

Do not rely on harmony, stick ONLY to contrapuntal rules and voice leading, ignore the V-I (or V#-i) cadence, and end your music with the M6-Octave/m3-Unison sequence in the soprano/bass voices into the key-defining note on your final resolution (raising the 7th if that interval doesn't exist in your mode). While there's nothing particularly wrong with the Ionian and Aeolian modes, they actually came into vogue during the Baroque; Rennaisance music traditionally stuck with the Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian and Phrygian modes.

If you want to write GOOD modal music, rely on motifs in order to achieve cohesion and not long term harmonic structure, as "harmony" doesn't make sense in traditional modal music. Tricks like Canons and Fugues are useful tools to extend your music, but not necessarily required.

Obviously that leaves out a LOT of details, but that's really the basics of modal composition.

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Wait, so Renaissance modes are basically quite similar to modern modes, just following counterpoint rules from the period?

I thought they were more similar to the ancient Greek modes.

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Yeah - when it comes to actual Greek modal music we don't have too many reliable ways to know how it sounded exactly (though I can definitely say it would be neigh impossible to apply to polyphonic music, as it predates it). Some musicologists have tried to interpret the symbols they used, but it's impossible to know whether this is how it actually sounded or not. The tuning of the instruments from antiquity and the Renaissance was also quite different out of necessity (particularly because of keyed instruments like the Organ and Harpsichord preventing Pythagorean tuning). Renaissance music utilized Mean-tone tuning, which restricted your ability to modulate as some keys were literally unusable garbage. We're leaving the realm of "short" explanation of modal music though, and honestly my education is getting rather dusty to delve into more detail than that, lol.

The rules for counterpoint are varied, and the lack of harmonic structure rules do produce something that's different from tonal music, but honestly the rules we rely on today were codified in the Renaissance, and we've been touching around the edges for centuries after that, so to speak. Kinda why I could use that treatise on Counterpoint as a solid basis for my current knowledge of the subject. :)

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