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   Baroque Music/Concerto No. 2 in F Major

By Kathie Easter, 
For The Paper Store, November, 1999

   The Baroque era in music was one of the most exciting that the world had ever witnessed. This is due to the fact that the period saw one of the most important changes in all of music history: the "transition from the medieval church modes to major-minor tonality" (Machlis, 1970, p. 271). This change meant that the focus of music turned from the vocal counterpoint of medieval chants towards instrumental harmony, which required a simplification of the harmonic system (Machlis, 1970). The various church modes that were previously used gave way to two standard types of scales--major and minor. With the establishment of major-minor tonality, the primary drive in Baroque music became the drive toward the keynote or "do" (Machlis, 1970).

   One more factor was critical in the transition to major-minor tonality: Due to a curious quirk of physics, keyboard instruments that are tuned according to the laws of acoustics give a pure consonant sound only for keys with signatures of up to three flats or three sharps. Keys with more sharps and flat grow increasingly out-of-tune. In the seventeenth century an important technological discovery was made.......

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