close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Style of Evolution of The Genre of Oratorio

downloadDownload printPrint

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay. We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

blank-ico
Download PDF

Canadian author R. J. Anderson once said, “I heard the universe as an oratorio sung by a master choir of stars, accompanied by the orchestra of the planets and the percussion of satellites and moons”. The genre of oratorio was established and popularized during the 17th century. This type of music is primarily known for its diverse use of orchestral style and various instruments. Oratorios were much like operas, however they were primarily focused on presenting biblical and religious stories rather than romance or dramas. In regards to earlier church music, the oratorio presented more emotional audience engagement through the use of monologues or duets. The style’s presentation of religious stories, rather than the prayerful chants that had been seen previously in the church’s history, made the religious messages easier for the congregation to follow. Additionally, the oratorio style differed through the use of narrative, dialogue, and commentary. During the mid-17th century, the genre of oratorio evolved to differ from the earlier church’s music traditions and was preformed within a different setting and musical style resulting in new composers and compositions.

Oratorios were typically performed within a theatre, much like how an opera would be performed. However, unlike an opera, the oratorio had a much smaller cast and presented little acting. The voice actors would instead stand in one place and deliver their lines in the form of storytelling. In some cases the actors would use monologues to express their emotions, while at other time the narrator or sole performers expressed the thoughts and emotions of the main characters on stage. With this, the oratorios were typically recitative, arias, duets, or instrumental preludes and ritornellos with combined narrative, dialogue, and commentary. These vocal works, or Libretti’s, were often in Latin or Italian, and later in English. Many of these performances focused on religious matters and were described through the narrator and chorus rather than being directed.

The purpose of the oratorios was to make the biblical stories easier for the audiences to understand and kept them engaged during the performance. In order to do this, the composers would take a creative license and modify the literal text from the old and new testaments by making the phrases and dialogue flow throughout the performance rather than reading directly from the bible. Many of the topics included the life of Jesus, creation stories, or other prominent Biblical stories. In the early 17th century, many of the settings of these Latin Biblical texts were very similar to motets with a strong narrative and dramatic emphasis with conversational exchanges between the actors. Towards the end of the 17th and early 18th century, the oratorios became more secularized. Due to this, regular performances outside of church halls in courts and public theatres became more prevalent.

One of the most revolutionary oratorio periods in music history was the Baroque period. This period is commonly known as the “sacred opera”, sharing similar characteristics as previous operas but focusing on biblical content. Some of the music characteristics of the baroque music included a figured bass, dissonance and chromaticism, and very metric and very free tempo. Through these features, the music contained clear pulses throughout the course of the songs. These characteristics were often portrayed in one of the most prominent forms of music, Basso continuo, which focused on the prominent role of the soloist and the performers. This type of music consisted of a composed bass accompanied by an improvised harmony, often an instrumental backup ensemble. Instead of using the same melody for every stanza, there was a vast variety over a repeated, steady moving measure. One very famous type of aria during the baroque period that is still highly acknowledged today is the da capo aria.

The da capo aria is a musical form that is sung by a soloist while being accompanied by instruments, and collectively an orchestra. The English translation for da capo aria is “from the head (beginning) to the end”, serving as an indication to repeat from the beginning of the music, and continue until you reach the final barline, or a double barline, marked with the word fine. During this performance, the initial melody and text were repeated after an intervening melody and text had been sung. With is being in ternary form (ABA’), the A section was typically in the tonic key, while the B section was tonal, either operating in a minor or major key with the mood frequently being more reflective. Following this, in the repeat of the A section (A’), the singer would demonstrate their vocal skills by improvising vocal ornaments to keep the drama moving forward. Some of these vocal ornaments included adding runs, trills, jumps, etc. to portray their skill as a singer. With the increased popularity of this style of music during the 17th -18th century, many famous composers incorporated this style into their work.

Johann Sebastian Bach, often regarded to as the greatest composer of all time, is a famous composer that incorporated Basso continuo and da carpo aria into his works in the late Baroque period. He was a church organist and composer that included recits, arias, ensembles, chorales, choruses and orchestral accompaniments in his oratorios. One of his most famous works is the St. Matthew Passion. In this oratorio, the tenor is narrator, the soloists play parts of Jesus and other characters, and the chorus sings parts of disciples, crowds. Along with this, the strings play a long high chord whenever Jesus is singing, setting his singing apart from others in order to portray him as our true Savior. In this performance, Bach used declamatory writing, focusing on the way that the language flows and incorporating that into the way the melody flows.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Style of Evolution of the Genre of Oratorio. (2020, March 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-style-of-evolution-of-the-genre-of-oratorio/
“The Style of Evolution of the Genre of Oratorio.” GradesFixer, 16 Mar. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-style-of-evolution-of-the-genre-of-oratorio/
The Style of Evolution of the Genre of Oratorio. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-style-of-evolution-of-the-genre-of-oratorio/> [Accessed 26 Jan. 2022].
The Style of Evolution of the Genre of Oratorio [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Mar 16 [cited 2022 Jan 26]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-style-of-evolution-of-the-genre-of-oratorio/
copy to clipboard
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

    close

    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample
    close

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

    close

    Thanks!

    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now
    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer
    exit-popup-close

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!

    exit-popup-print

    Professional writers and researchers

    exit-popup-quotes

    Sources and citation are provided

    exit-popup-clock

    3 hour delivery

    exit-popup-persone