Difference Between Renaissance and Baroque Music

Renaissance vs Baroque Music

Knowing the difference between renaissance and baroque music can be nothing but useful as they are two categories of the universal phenomenon called music. As we all know, music has its origins in every culture and civilization. There are millions of people who adore music; some being just listeners, some being music players, and some others being enthusiasts of music, its trends, history, and evaluation. To the enthusiasts of music and its history and evolution, studying about them could mean everything. For these wanderers searching for the history of music and evolution, it is very important to have a knowledge about various eras of music with a chronological perspective. Speaking of which, this article presents information on two such eras of music; renaissance and baroque music (of western music) and endeavours to analyse the difference between renaissance and baroque music.

What is Renaissance Music?

The term Renaissance Music refers to the music written and composed in the Renaissance era. Renaissance was a great period in Europe where art, science, literature, music, intellect, and lifestyle underwent a rebirth. Many awakening occurrences took place including the rediscovery of the hidden ancient Greek and Rome writing and the invention of the press, etc. Renaissance era of music began in 1400 C AD and lasted till 1600 C AD. In the renaissance, music was composed, rather largely improvised, by a number of people. Rhythms of renaissance music were buoyant, and medieval counterpoints were further developed by renaissance composers to create fugues. A new tuning system, well Tempering, too was developed in this period.

Difference Between Renaissance and Baroque Music

What is Baroque Music?

Baroque music is a term referring to music written and composed in the baroque era from approximately 1600 AD to 1750 AD. This era was preceded by the renaissance era and was followed by the classical period. In the baroque era,, music was extensively written, performed and people still listen to that music. There were a large number of musical composers in the baroque period such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Fredric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Alexandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, etc. Music written during the baroque period included a large number of genres such as operas, oratorios, cantatas, for vocal, while fugues, suites, sonatas, and many other genres made up the instrumental music. A wide variety of musical instruments was apparently used for baroque music.

Baroque Music

Johann Sebastian Bach


What is the difference between Renaissance and Baroque Music?

• Renaissance music was rather constrained when compared to baroque music, yet it was the foundation for baroque music.

• Baroque musical genres include both vocals and instrumentals, with the only difference being they were quite larger in number of categories than those of in the renaissance era.

• Renaissance music consisted of smooth regular flow of rhythm while baroque music was comprised of a metrical rhythm with varied motion.

• The tone of the baroque music was of development of tonal architecture and formal principles; baroque, binary, ternary, fugue, etc. while the form of renaissance music was much of the systematic point imitation and Cantus Firmus structures.

• Melody with accompaniment was noted during the baroque period while the melody of renaissance music was much more of imitative counterpoint.

By considering these differences in times and their music, it is quite understandable that renaissance and baroque music clearly differ from each other at many levels.


Photos By: Allen Garvin (CC BY 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Medieval and Renaissance Music
  2. Difference Between Classical and Baroque