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Shibinskaya A.

About Baroque programme music and its origins

The article is devoted to the study of programme music of the Baroque era. The origins of the phenomenon, which go back to the sphere of vocal polyphony of the 14th – 16th centuries, are considered. Initially, program compositions were intabulations – arrangements of vocal pieces for solo or ensemble instrumental performance, preserving the title of the original piece. These are the plays of English virginalists and French lutenist composers (the end of the 16th – first half of the 17th century). The sources of the programme pieces were madrigals, popular folk songs, and vocal ballads. Composers, making arrangements for these compositions, borrowed the titles of vocal originals for their instrumental miniatures. Compositions are presented in a variety of genres – from miniatures to large cyclic forms. Examples of collections of the 17th century, which have a shared name, can also be attributed to the initial stage in the formation of programme instrumental music. Of course, this is not genuine programme music, since the pieces included in the collection belonged to different genres and were not connected by a single storyline, however, the composers considered it necessary to give the collection unifying name. Quite a lot of such examples are found among the works of French composers-lutenists. Gradually, in the music of composers of different national schools of the Baroque era, a range of favorite themes of programme compositions is outlined. These include themes of nature, images of living creatures, dedicated pieces, characteristic portraits of ladies, and a special type of programme – military. In the second half of the 18th century in the creative heritage of German authors we find large programme works of spiritual content. The Baroque era is an important stage in the formation and development of programme music.

The types and kinds of programmes that were formed during this period will be implemented in subsequent epochs.

Key words

programme music, baroque, intabulations, military art, cycle, dedicating music, the seasons, the origins of programme music.

For citation

Shibinskaya A. About Baroque programme music and its origins // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2020. No. 3. Pp. 36–42.