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Baroque Pop also known as Bach rock or Baroque ‘n’ Roll is a style of rock music originated in the mid 1960s that brought elements of classical music into the writing and recording of rock’n’roll songs. The Beatles, The Bee Gees, The Left Banke, The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, The Moody Blues and Burt Bacharach are cited as some of this subgenre’s pioneers. Practitioners of the style utilized instrumentation not traditional to rock such as harpsichord, oboe, cello or french horn. Baroque pop’s highest popularity occurred before the introduction of the synthesizer or sampler, so “real” instruments are heard on the recordings, played by session musicians. Baroque pop may be distinguished from progressive rock which uses classical instruementation by its generally simpler song structures closer to standard pop songwriting, and also by its more mainstream lyrical content as opposed to the more conceptual lyrics associated with prog. Baroque pop is similar to sunshine pop in subject matter, but with a more melodramatic and “darker” edge.
The use of the word “Baroque” is essentially a coverall term; Baroque music most closely refers to the music of Europe approximately between the years 1600 and 1750, with some of its most prominent composers including Rameau and J.S. Bach. Much of the instrumentation of what is referred to as Baroque pop is more akin to that of the Classical period, chronologically defined as the period of European music from 1750 to 1830 (after Baroque music and before Romantic music) and stylistically defined by balanced phrases, clarity and beauty, using similar instrumentation to modern orchestras. Just as “classical” has become a term used to describe all music that cannot otherwise be defined as “popular”, it seems that Baroque pop is a stylistic term that does not necessarily reflect the sonic qualities of the genre.