Science in the Arts
The Baroque period, literally translating into “irregular,” was what the arts were referred to during the late sixteenth century to the seventeenth century. During this time, a new type of music evolved called opera. It changed from a calm type of melody to one expressed heavily by instrumental music, using many organs and violins. This new form of music included extravagant state decor and influence from the arts and literature of the Baroque era; the Baroque arts were considered elaborate, flamboyant and drew emotional responses from its viewers.
There were many influences in which provided inspiration for the arts during this time, including: scientific knowledge, the rise of wealthy merchant classes and royalty. According to An Outline History of Western Music, Johan Sebastian Bach was a composer who practiced scientific knowledge in his works (1). The New York Times wrote an entire article about Bach’s scientific music, describing him as being, “engaged in a lifelong project to master ”musical science,” to determine the laws of this sonic universe, outline the principles used for its exploration and categorize the structures being created” (New York Times 1). Science was demonstrated in music by strategically using a certain amount of notes at specific pitches to sound appealing to the audience. The Schiller Institute states that Bach used “four-voice choral phrases” (1). An example of a four-voice choral phase can be found in Bach’s Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden.
Above is a short bit of the music from The Passion, in which Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden, was part of. The notes are organized into fours, demonstrating the four-voice choral phases.
“Beyond Bach: Beethovens Studies of Bachs Works.” Fidelio ArticleSchiller InstituteBeyond Bach: Beethovens Studies of Bachs Works. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.
“Musical Science.” The New York Times on the Web. The New York Times, Apr. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.
Wold, Milo; Martin, Gary; Miller, James; Cykler, Edmund. An Outline History of Western Music, Ninth Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill, 1998.