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Baroque Music Paperback – January 1, 1981


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (January 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130559474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130559470
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,629,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A survey of the principal genres and composers of the Baroque. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tobin Sparfeld on July 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is part of the Prentice Hall History of Music Series. I have not read every book in the series, but they seem to be similar overall--good but not great.

At first one might think a 300+ page book on Baroque music is sufficient. Palisca begins with the rise of the Baroque ideal, and quickly moves to Italy and the rise of Baroque music there. Other chapters cover various genres and countries, including lute and keyboard music, organ and clavier music in Germany, dramatic music in England, sacred music in France, and J.S. Bach.

Palisca's writing seems good for undergraduate music majors-the reader needs a strong background of musical terms and concepts in order to get the most out of the book, but it is certainly not too dry or cerebral. The musical excerpts in the book are illustrative of Palisca's points, and the bibliographies at the end of each chapter are particularly helpful.

The main problem of this text is its inability to comprehensively address all of the music. While J.S. Bach does receive his own chapter, he only gets twenty pages. Palisca really covers only a couple of concertos in this space, ignoring all of Bach's other works. This happens in a number of places.

What this book had going for it was the fact that there were not any other texts out there which were any better. Professors had to choose between this text and the Bukofzer text from the Norton Series written in 1947 (music scholars have uncovered a great deal of information about Baroque music since the Korean War). I have not read the new Norton book by John Walter Hall, but if it's anything like the others, it will beat Palisca's text with regards to information, scope, and scholarship (though probably not readability).
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Format: Paperback
The problem with teaching a survey course that introduces a topic a broad and deep as the Baroque era of music (roughly 1600 - 1740) is that there is never enough time to do more than touch on the most important points. If you dive deeply into one area, say, the concerto, that's it. You are done for the term and maybe more. This text does a good job in supporting such a course. It allows the student to get a quick overview and use all those nice new terms they are learning. It is not comprehensive; no single volume book could be.

There are many good music examples and the writing is clear and to the point. A professor using this text will likely provide his or her own supplementary material and focus in on certain areas more than another. Some chapters are likely to be assigned reading, but not discussed much in class.

For the general reader, this is also a solid introductory text, but if you don't have a handle on a lot of musical terms, you might want to also pick up a good music dictionary as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R Freedman on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
For a definitive text on the development of Baroque music, you can't do better than Claude V. Palisca's book, originally released in 1968 but periodically updated since then. But bring your decoder ring.

Palisca, a long-time Yale professor who passed away in 2001, is almost as celebrated as the composers he spent his life writing about. Indeed, the American Musicologist Society in 2005 named an award after him to recognize excellence in their profession. So, you know you're in good hands with him. But don't expect an easy ride. Like what his students must have experienced when he was standing before them in the classroom, you're just going to have to keep up, because he's not slowing down for anybody.

This is a shame and, if the editor of Palisca's book is to be believed, it's not what the book is supposed to be about. H. Wiley Hitchcock, who edited Baroque Music and served as the editor of the broader series of music books of which Palisca's book is a part, says all the books in the series are supposed to be accessible to "informed amateurs" as well as musicologists. The goal of the series, Hitchcock says, "has been to present works of solid scholarship that are eminently readable." Thus, the books are written by specialists "interested in communicating vividly."

Palisca exempted, apparently. "The second G in measure 64 [of Heinrich Schütz's O quam tu pulebra es] is a quasi-transitius (relatively accented passing note)," Palisca writes in a typical passage, "a grave-style ornament tendered emphatic here by two other figures belonging to the luxuriant style: an anticipatio notae (anticipation of a note) and prolongatio (prolongation)."

Eminently readable? To a musicologist, yes, but to an informed amateur?
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By D. Fields on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The material within is concise and well-organized with examples. It does expect the reader to have a background in the terminology it uses, though, and the reading can be quite meaty/taxing.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Binchois on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
When facts count a book is as good as the worst mistake.
When you find one you wonder: how many others there are ?

He states:
"The earliest known representation of the new family of instruments is this fresco
from the 1530s on the cupola of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Saronno, Piedmont,"

Now, saying that Saronno is in Piedmont, is like stating that Cambridge (MA) is located in Alabama.
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