Exploring the Baroque Period

Papers by Tomas Ridley

A Comparison of the Violoncello and Viola da Gamba


The History of the Viola da Gamba and Violoncello



Character Sketch:  Biber’s Battalia

By Emma

My sketch illustrates the character of the second violin melody in the second movement, called The Profligate Society of Common Humor.


Henry Purcell

By Iván Flores

Henry Purcell was an baroque English composer. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, there is uncertainty about the time and place of his birth , but he was likely born in London around 1659.
Purcell was best known for his operas, most notably Dido and Aeneas. He developed a new style that deviated from traditional English compositions and instead drew inspiration from Italian works. Purcell began composing at the age of ten. He was also a chorister and organist. Purcell wrote incidental music for 54 plays, including the Abdelazer Suite.

Abdelazer, also known as The Moor’s Revenge, is a play written by Aphra Behn. Purcell composed the incidental music for her play in 1695. It was one of his last compositions. The suite has 10 movements. Benjamin Britten used the second movement, Rondeau, for a theme and variations in 1946.

Purcell died in 1695. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.



What is the difference between a baroque and a modern violin?

By Rose Sproat

Compared to modern violins, baroque violins…

  • Had the neck at a different angle with the violin body
  • Had a shorter fingerboard because playing in high positions was uncommon
  • Had strings made from sheep guts. The G-string was sometimes metal-wound
  • Had straight or convex bows with smooth, pointed tips. The balance point was at the middle of the bow (today they are concave and heaviest at the frog).
  • Had bows made of snakewood
  • Did not have chin rests or shoulder rests
  • Were placed below the collarbone (today they are placed on the collarbone)

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