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BAROQUE MUSICAL THEATER: A FORUM FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL PROPAGANDA Many sources account the arts of the Baroque period as an over exaggerated, distorted, or even grotesque style. Despite the unfortunate reputation of the Baroque period, musical theater grew to hold a place as an extremely important and beautiful part of musical development. In this essay I will discuss Baroque musical theater including its roots as well as its development through the Baroque period, roughly assigned from 1600 to 1750. I will also discuss the reasons why Baroque musical theater is considered a political and social form of propaganda. I will include numerous visual examples of the music of this time period so that each style of musical theatre is distinguishable. Through history, the Baroque musical theater drew inspiration from all sources of life, whether that being religious, political, or social, to create several styles of musical theatre usually acting as a form of propaganda. History is the number one contribution to Baroque musical theater. Without the significant building blocks of previous works and events the debate of Baroque musical theater being a forum for political and social propaganda would be of no importance. Before the approximated start of the Baroque period, “a group of Florentine writers, artists, and musicians known as the Camerata” (Machlis 132) met in the 1570’s (Seaton 180) to discuss their current arts and culture. This highly educated group tied together various rationalistic introspections to arrive at a point that renewed the inner workings of the ancient Greeks. The Camerata created a change of musical interest as explained by Machlis: The transition from Renaissance to Baroque brought with it a great change: the shift of interest from a texture of several independent parts to one in which
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