Rhetoric In Baroque Music

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The relationship between rhetoric and music has frequently been close to a considerable degree, especially in the Baroque period. The impact of the standards of rhetoric significantly influenced the fundamental components of music. What is interesting to note about the interrelationships between music and rhetoric (artes dicendi, the spoken arts) is that the connections are both obvious and also subtle. For the longest time compositions were predominantly vocal and bound to words, giving the idea that composers have nearly always been influenced by rhetoric techniques, even instrumental music. It is still fairly unclear just how these interrelationships often dictated the compositional process, this can be partly credited to the fact that a lot of modern education fail to train aspiring composers in rhetorical disciplines. In fact…show more content…
Around the beginning of the 17th century is when rhetoric form had made its way into many composers’ musical thoughts. The Baroque period in general had composers aiming for a musical expression of words, similar to musica pathetica. This connection between music and the principles of rhetoric is one of the defining characteristics of Baroque music. Johan Mattheson's Der vollkommene Capellmeister was written in 1739. In it, Mattheson presented a series of ideas borrowing many elements of rhetorical theory, inventio, dispositio, decoratio, memoria, and pronuntiatio. While he wouldn't apply these rhetorical canons to every composition, it is clear that these concepts acted as aids to composers to a considerable degree. Of course the musical structure of rhetorical theory wasn't limited to German music. Mersenne's Harmonie universelle, which was written in 1636-7, had greatly emphasised the belief that all musicians the world over must compose as if they were writing orations, formal

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