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This is a French word, most likely evolved from the Portuguese word barroco. It is most commonly used today to designate music that was written between 1600 and 1750, though these dates are somewhat arbitrary, mainly based upon the fact that the era’s two most well known composers, Bach and Handel, died during the 1750s. What most baroque music has in common is that virtually all of it features a continuo part, usually a bass line (which establishes the musical foundation) plus an instrument that can play chords, such as an organ or harpsichord. Composers were given a great deal of latitude in terms of specific instrumentation during this period.

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