The Baroque Era

The Baroque Era in Music (1600-1750)

The spirit of the Baroque Era in music can be described as: harmony, elegance, rhythmic freedom, continuous melodic expansion, unity, uplifting, joyous, etc. (Machlis & Forney, 2003). The photo (left) is of a harpsichord.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the English dramatist, lived during the early part of the Baroque Era in music (Machlis & Forney, 2003). John Milton, the English poet, lived from 1608 to 1674 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). In England, the Puritan Revolution began in 1642; and the reign of Louis XIV began in 1643 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). In 1714, Queene Anne is succeeded by George I, who was Handel’s patron (Machlis & Forney, 2003).

Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer, lived from 1564 to 1642 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). In 1684, Sir Issac Newton discovered his theory of gravitation (Machlis & Forney, 2003). Antonio Stradivarius, the famous Italian violin maker, lived from 1644 to 1737 (Machlis & Forney, 2003).

The Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens, lived from 1577 to 1640 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). The Dutch painter, Hendrik Terbrugghen, lived from 1588 to 1629 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). Another famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt von Rign, lived from 1606 to 1669 (Kleiner, Mamiya, & Tansey, 2001). Also, Judith Leyster, a Dutch painter, lived from 1609 to 1660 (Kleiner, Mamiya, & Tansey, 2001). Furthermore, Jan Vermeer, a Dutch painter, lived from 1632 to 1675 (Kleiner, Mamiya, & Tansey, 2001). Jean-Antione Watteau, the French painter, lived from 1684 to 1721 (Honour & Fleming, 2002).

Rene Descartes, the French mathematician and philosopher, lived from 1596 to 1650 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the Swiss-born French philosopher and composer, lived from 1712 to 1778 (Machlis & Forney, 2003).

In 1607, the first European settlement in America was started at Jamestown, Virginia (Machlis & Forney, 2003). The King James Version of the Bible was published in 1611 (Machlis & Forney, 2003). In 1620, the Mayflower arrived in America and Plymouth was settled (Machlis & Forney, 2003). The Bay Psalm Book was first printed in the American colonies in 1640 (Machlis & Forney, 2003).

Links to some famous musical composers and musicians of the Baroque Era are listed in the margin to the left.


Burrows, J. (Ed.). (2005). Classical music. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Gentili, A., Barcham, W., & Whiteley, L. (2000). Paintings in the National Gallery, London. Italy: Little Brown and Company, Inc.

Honour, H. & Fleming, J. (2002). A world history of art. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Kleiner, F., Mamiya, C. & Tansey, R. (2001). Gardner’s art through the ages: Vol II. Florida: Harcourt College Publishers.

Machlis, J. & Forney, K. (2003). The enjoyment of music. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc..

Stanley, J. (2005). Classical music: The great composers and their masterworks. London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.