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Key words in baroque opera


Song. Rythms often borrowed from dances

Basso continuo

Continuous bassline. Usually plaed by the cello. The organ/harpsichord/flute filled in the chords from the figured bass notation

Figured bass

Numbers indicationg the chords that needed to be played. However much of this accompaniment was improvised

French overture

Used by Lully and Rameau. Section A was slow/majestic, using dotted rhythms. Section B was quicker and used imitation. These were followed either by 1 or 2 dances or a repeat of section A

Italian overture

Used often by Alessandro Scarlatti. In 3 sections: quick-slow-quick. Developed into the classical symphony


Single vocal line supported by an instrumental bassline


Half singing, half reciting. The music followed the natural rhythm of the words

Recitative secco

Recitative supported by simple chords on the continuo

Recitative stromentato / accompagnato

Recitative with a simple orchestral accompaniment

Stile antico

The old contrapuntal/polyphonic style of the Medieval and Renaissance music

Stile moderno

The title given to this new Baroque monodic music

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