[MUSIC] So far in our discussion of Baroque music we've talked about opera and voices, now its time for instruments. Let's start with a melody and base, and this brings us to the two instruments that dominated Baroque instrumental sound, the violin and the harpsichord. The violin to the melody. Harpsichord, for the bass and harmony. And we'll throw in another bass harmony type instrument, the theorbo. Now let's start with the violin. Actually the term violin is diminutive. Little viol, violino, violino; but as the violin is the little viol, what's a viol? Well, it's an early six string instrument. Or in some cases, here as you see on the screen to the left, even a seven string instrument that prevailed in Western Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was also fretted like the guitar of today. In the mid 16th century, there arose a small cousin of the viol. Violin, or little viol. You can see the difference, comparing left and right. Only four strings to the right, and no frets. And it has sounding holes in the shape of an F rather than a C, which makes a slight difference acoustically. The violin was originally a low class tavern instrument, played by dancing masters, dancing teachers, to entertain with dances in taverns and in public houses, bars and effect. Looking at this map we see that the center of violin construction was then in Northern Italy, specifically in Cremona. And that's where the center of violin making is still today, in Cremona, to the left there, to the west of Mantua. And here we see a woman in one of these many small shops that you can visit in Cremona. Now, there's one thing that's always surprised me. Yes, violins are made of maple and spruce. That much I knew, but all violins seem to look remarkably similar in size and shape and general design. They're all pretty much alike, pretty much identical. Here we see violins from different times and different places. One from 17th century Italy, 18th century Germany, 20th century Germany, but they're all identical. How did they do that? How do they do that? Well, let's see, this way. They do it with a mold or a a frame. There was a standard mold that every Luthier, in other words, instrument maker, had and passed along that led to this standard size and shape. All right, so the violin is the primary melody carrying instrument of the Boroque. But what about the bass and the harmony? Well at first, that was provided by a large, loot like instrument called the theorbo, and then by the harpsichord. For demonstration of both of these, let's go back to my colleague and professional early music performer extraordinaire, Grant Herod. >> So here we are back again with my friend and colleague, Grant Herod, and we're going to be talking today about baroque instruments and baroque orchestras. But first, the baroque instruments. We left off last time, we're gonna show this slide now, we left off last time with a slide coming from the National Gallery in London of a lute. And then we're going to turn to the next slide which actually comes from an American collection out in Columbus, Ohio, an art museum there, showing this instrument called, oh what is this thing called? >> This is the theorbo. And it's a kind of a bass lute, from about here to the end of the peg box here. It's just a large loot, bass loot, and the strings [MUSIC] are tuned like a loot except it's too long. So the top two strings [MUSIC] are tuned down an octave from the loot tuning. So the highest sounding string is the third string from the edge there which gives it a peculiar technique and a very bassy or tenor-like range. Then we have an extension neck set on it that accommodates these seven bass strings. [MUSIC] Tune to some sort of a scale usually. >> Mm. >> And this was an attempt to give the lute a little more volume, a bigger range obviously and more of a base presence so that. [MUSIC] The lute was just more suited to play the music of this early baroque period that featured the baseline more than renaissance music. >> Yeah, that's a very important observation, because we have been talking about and will be talking more about this whole idea of the basso continuo. Well, this instrument could really by itself provide all of the bass and the harmony. In an odd way, it's like a piano in a jazz band today except it's a lot more portable. Or like a harpsichord would have been in the early Baroque. Except again, it's a lot more portable. Strum a chord or two more just to show them the sound of that bass. [MUSIC] Beautiful, beautiful sound, and one of the things it would do, of course, is play something called the figured bass, and you will see a slide a little bit later on showing you how this works. But maybe you could give us a demonstration whereby you the performer, Grant, have just a bassline and some numbers and you're supposed to know how to flesh out a chord from that. >> Right. >> So can you play a bass line? >> Yeah, so a simple bass line might sound like this. [MUSIC] I harmonize that bass line according to the numbers in the figured bass. [MUSIC] So it's almost like an entire orchestra. Sound big booming and it could very well support a baroque singer. Now let me formally introduce two terms. Basso continuo, continuous bass, and figured bass. A basso continuo is the Baroque term for a strong bass and chordal accompaniment. Created by, usually by a stringed instrument, such as the cello, and by a chording instrument, such as the theorbo, that we'll see again. We just saw, or perhaps the harpsichord, or sometimes even the organ. And this string instrument plus the chording instrument play throughout the piece. That's why it's a continuate. Plays continually, a strong continual bass. The string plays the bass line and the chording instrument flushes out a rock solid harmony above it. Here's an all female quartet from the 18th century in which the melody is played by flute and violin and the basso continuo by harpsichord and cello. Let's review and go on to figured bass. So, looking at the slide to review Basso continuo a small ensemble of at least two instruments which provide a foundation for the melody heard above and played continually throughout the piece. Okay now figured bass, well figured bass is a numerical shorthand placed below the base line that an experienced musician who's studied music theory and knows how to play the keyboard will be able to look at these numbers associated with the bass line and fill out a chordal accompaniment with it. So, let me see if I can generate this for you on the keyboard. Here's the bass line. [MUSIC] And an experienced musician would flush it out this way. [MUSIC] Like that and here's an example of an early keyboard piece by J.S. Bach with a figured bass. I'll play the bass and then I'll realize it for you here again. In our studio let me get the music here is what wrote just the bass line you have both the above the realization below. [MUSIC] Okay now here's what Bach wanted to have performed. [MUSIC] All right let's go on now to talk about the workhorse of the baroque, the harpsichord and we'll begin with a few introductory slides. Here's a typical harpsichord of the early baroque with just one keyboard. Much later, much bigger harps accord. This one is about 1750 I believe, with two manuals and three registers. By registers I mean sets of strings. Now here's a modern reproduction of the Harps accord at Yale. Two keyboards, two long sets of strings called eight foot strings and one set of short strings, called four foot strings. So, you can sound one pitch by plucking one of the three strings or you can sound two pitches by plucking, you can sound two strings and get the same pitch. Sort of double down or double up or you can bring three strings into play and sort of get a trifecta here a wammie of three strings all playing at once, but no matter how many strings are playing, they're all plucked by the same thing called a jack. Let's take a look at the jacks now. So, here we see the jacks on an actual harpsichord, to the right and a diagram of how the jack works. As you can see, you press the key, a fulcrum goes up, and drives the jack up and up. As the jacks go up, they pluck the strings. Now, to make some sense out of this, we'll go to another explanation from Grant Harrid. Well welcome back. Now we're gonna talk about the harpsichord. Harpsichord was the workhorse of the baroque era. It was the literally the basis of virtually all music that was made from roughly 1650 up to 17 50, 17, 70, or so, and we're going to turn once again to Grant Herod. Just when you thought that Grant had demonstrated everything possible to demonstrate by way of musical instruments, yet, here is Grant again demonstrating another instrument. This time, the harpsichord. >> Just to explain a few things about this 18th century style harpsichord and some of the bells and whistles it has. First of all, of course the sound of a harpsichord with its metal strings is created by a bit of a feather plucking the string. The feather is attached to a jack and under this jack rail are the rows of jacks. Three rows for the three different registers of this harpsichord. As I pluck the string or press the key, it sends the jack up and the little tangent plucks the string on its way up. [SOUND] The jack rail is in place to make sure that they don't jump out of their sockets. >> [INAUDIBLE] on the way back down? >> There's a system of, if it's slightly weighted so that on its way back down it rocks slightly away and the tension actually doesn't come in contact with the string. Very sophisticated but sort of simple mechanism and I can [SOUND]. Play the upper keyboard as well. You notice the different jack is activated. [MUSIC] >> So, there are three jacks then for each pitch? Or is that- >> Each key, yes and each pitch because I can also add a little, the shorter set of strings that are sounding at four foot pitch rather than eight foot pitch, so an octave higher. [MUSIC] I can get a contrast between the upper keyboard [MUSIC] Which because it's plucking the string a little closer to the bridge is slightly more brittle. [MUSIC] And of course, the two keyboards can be coupled together. [MUSIC] And adding the back in, we have the whole sound. [MUSIC] A sort of orchestral sound of the harpsichord. >> So, just to review, we actually have three sets of strings on this instrument?. >> Yes, two at what we call eight foot pitch and then one set of strings at four foot pitch, an octave higher. >> Obviously as Grant just said, an octave higher, and we have two keyboards so how does that work? One keyboard plays two sets of strings has the capacity to play two at one time? >> The lower keyboard can play the [MUSIC] one of the eight foot sets of strings or registers and, again, we can engage the forefoot. [MUSIC] So, we have octave sounding there. That's on the lower keyboard and then the upper keyboard can play by itself. [MUSIC] With a slightly more brittle sound or if they're joined together, just by playing the lower keyboard I can engage both of the eight foot registers. [MUSIC] So quite a variety in a single instrument. >> So, one hears that the reason that the harpsichord fell by the wayside around 1750 to 1770, is that it had no capacity for the gradation of sound. And in some ways, that's true. If you punch hard, [SOUND] okay. And now play very softly, push very softly. [SOUND] The same volume sound, basically the same volume sound. >> Basically yes. >> Because it doesn't, the impact of the plucking, the force of it in no way impacts the volume that's generated from that particular string. So what you can't do, what's difficult to do is to shape a phrase in a way on a harpsichord quite the way you can on a piano with little gradations of loud and soft going up and back. Could I take it for a test drive here? So start me out here, you be my instructor, let's say I want to play something baroque that's very soft and light, this thing [SOUND] of Bach. Now that sounds awfully loud, so how could I back that down to maybe just the four? I've played on this keyboard here and you disengage some of the eights, or. >> We can take the eight off here and that will leave you with just the four foot here. [MUSIC] let me disengage this keyboard as well, by pulling that out, and that should just be the four foot. [MUSIC] >> Wow. That is very quiet, all right so let's build up our sound now. So that's just the four. >> If we add an eight foot to that, we'd get this sound. >> Let's see. [MUSIC] And then by the big band sound. >> Right, engaging the other set of eight. [MUSIC] >> So it is a little bit bigger. [MUSIC] I bet it sounds good with some. [MUSIC] The Pachelbel bass that we're going to explore in another segment. So as we saw, the harpsichord has some capacity to increase or diminish the sound according to how many registers of strings, one, two, or three, are brought into play. But no matter how hard you strike any one key, you're always gonna get the same volume with the harpsichord. And that limitation of volume and inability to shape a phrase by means of volume was the liability of the harpsichord and gradually the harpsichord gave way to the pianoforte or as we call it today, gave way to the piano. Around 1770 the piano replaced the harpsichord because of the sound limitations of the harpsichord. So, to sum up this segment. In the Baroque era, the violin became the principal carrier of the melody, and the harpsichord the principle setter of the harmony. But how did the full orchestra, the orchestra of today, come into be? Well, we can demonstrate this quickly by looking first at this slide. In the early Baroque period or up to around the mid 17th century the core of the orchestra was in effect all-strings, soprano, alto, and bass or violin, second violin, viola, and cello, with the double bass doubling the cello. That's why it's called a double bass. And of course we could have also with this group the or a harpsichord or an organ. We would need those instruments as well. Now, let's take a look at a larger group. To this initial core that we just saw, were gradually added woodwinds, oboe and bassoons. First doubling the strings. In other words, the oboes and the bassoons just doubled what the violins were doing, violins and lower strings. And then they were given, the oboes and violins, their own independent parts. And the horns were gradually added to sustain the sound. We began to call them French horns in the 19th century. So, the late 17th as the horns were added to sustain the sound, and then also late 17th century trumpets and drums added for brilliance when needed. So, by around 1700, the late Baroque orchestra was in play, in place. And it gave us the symphony orchestra of today.