In Western music, the period that extends from 1600 to 1750 is known as the Baroque era. Derived from the Portuguese 'barroco' (oddly shaped pearl), the term “baroque” has been used since the nineteenth century.
Characteristics of Baroque music are complexity, emotional and overly ornamented. Composers of this era developed the method of writing music in clearly defined major and minor modes. Rhythm became fixed and continual. Contrast is an important ingredient in the Baroque composition. The differences between loud and soft, solo and ensemble, different instruments and timbres all play an important role in many Baroque compositions.
Many of the forms identified with Baroque music originated in Italy, including the cantata, concerto, sonata, oratorio, and opera.
Major Baroque composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Antonio Corelli, François Couperin, Girolamo Frescobaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Henry Purcell, Jean-Phillippe Rameau, Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi.