Dynamics were terraced throughout the Baroque period, which meant that dynamic shifts were sometimes rapid, changing from gentle to loud and back again. Gradual decrescendos and crescendos are not common in this music. Instead, most movements start off quietly and gradually build up momentum until they reach a powerful conclusion.
The Baroque era began in Europe around 1620 and lasted until 1750. It was an important period in European history because it was then that Europe began to feel the effects of modern industry and technology. During this time, great artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Giotto produced work that has withstood the test of time, while others such as Titian, Raphael, and Rubens painted masterpieces that still attract crowds today.
The term "Baroque" was first used to describe the art of Portugal and Spain. However, since its introduction in the 1950s, the term has been applied to all of European art during this time frame. At first, the term was used to describe paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects made by members of the Baroque school, who were mainly Spanish and Portuguese artists working in Italy. But it is now also applied to other genres of art produced during this time, such as literature and music.
Terraced dynamics are used in Baroque music. This indicates that the volume remains constant for a length of time before abruptly shifting to a new dynamic level. There is no gradual shift in dynamics (such as a crescendo or decrescendo). Instead, the volume changes dramatically from one level to another.
Baroque composers often use this device to indicate the arrival or departure of a character or event in their works. For example, when Bach enters, he usually begins with a tutti section (all instruments playing together) followed by a soprano part (one instrument) then a tenor part (two instruments), and so on. At the end of the movement, when all characters have departed, the work returns to the beginning state, with the orchestra playing quietly together.
Another example can be found in Handel's opera Rodelinda. When Rodelinda arrives at the palace, it is night and there is darkness everywhere. But when she calls out for her husband, who has been imprisoned by the king, the scene is illuminated by lamps and torches. This shows that light comes after darkness, hope after despair.
These examples demonstrate that the Baroque composer used terraced dynamics to create excitement and tension in his works.
Crescendo and diminuendo are introduced. Terraced dynamics, i.e., strongly defined movements from one dynamic to another, were elaborated upon in the Baroque era with the use of steadily increasing and decreasing loudness, known as crescendo and diminuendo. These devices were also used by Mozart and Beethoven.
The classical period (1750-1850) saw the development of many elements that would later become standard in modern music: the symphony, string quartet, piano trio, operatic aria, choral work, mass, fugue, canon, polonaise, mazurka, waltz, schottische, danza, quadrille, gavotte, jig, ländler, morris dance, pavane, passacaglia, gigue, bergamaskreide, reformation church music, rococo salon music, sonata form.
The term "classical music" first appeared around 1780 when it was applied to sacred music that had abandoned polyphonic composition in favor of monody. The word "classical" here does not mean "of its time" but rather "according to classical ideals". Thus the classical period is called such because it produced works that met these ideals.