Here you’ll find a brief explanation that the theory of the Affections. Favor the usage of basso continuo, the exercise of writing music the expressed a solitary emotion (affect) is distinct to the Baroque era. Later on composers want the liberty to express difference emotions in a solitary piece the music. Among the most noticeable outcomes of Baroque composers’ adherence to the doctrine of Affections was the practice of breaking a longer text up into much shorter phrases and setup each together a separate movement with music designed come express a solitary emotion or affect.

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For example, the Utrecht dare Deum by George Frideric Handel (a late Baroque composer) consists of ten separate movements, while the Te Deum No. 2 in C through Franz Joseph Haydn (a composer of the late timeless era) is a solitary piece that music v no different movements. Note that those two texts room not specifically the same. Handel’s Te Deum is in English if Haydn’s is in the original Latin. But they serve to show the affect of the theory of Affections top top music composition in the Baroque.


The doctrine of the affections, additionally known together the doctrine of affects, theory of the passions, theory of the affects, or through the German term Affektenlehre (after the German Affekt; plural Affekte) to be a theory in the aesthetics of painting, music, and also theatre, widely supplied in the Baroque era (1600–1750) (Harnoncourt 1983; Harnoncourt 1988). Literary philosophers of the age, through contrast, rarely debated the details of what was called “pathetic composition,” acquisition it because that granted that a poet have to be forced to “wake the soul by tender strokes that art” (Rogerson 1953, p. 68). The theory was obtained from old theories that rhetoric and oratory (Buelow 2001). Some pieces or activities of music to express one Affekt throughout; however, a skillful composer favor Johann Sebastian Bach could express different affects within a movement (Boetticher 2010).

History and Definition

The doctrine of the affections was fancy theory based on the idea the the passions might be stood for by their outside visible or audible signs. It drew largely on aspects with a lengthy previous history, but an initial came to general prominence in the mid-seventeenth century amongst the French scholar-critics linked with the Court of Versailles, helping to location it in ~ the center of artistic task for all of Europe (Rogerson 1953, p. 70). The ax itself, however, to be only very first devised in the twenty century through German musicologists Hermann Kretzschmar, harry Goldschmidt, and also Arnold Schering, to describe this aesthetic concept (Buelow 2001; Nagley and also Bujić 2002).

René Descartes hosted that there were six an easy affects, which have the right to be merged together into many intermediate develops (Descartes 1649, p. 94):

Admiration (admiration)Amour (love)Haine (hatred)Désir (desire)Joie (joy)Tristesse (sorrow)

Another authority also mentions sadness, anger, and jealousy (Buelow 2001).

Lorenzo Giacomini (1552–1598) in his Orationi e discorsi defined an affection together “a spiritual activity or operation of the psychic in which the is attractive or repelled by an object it has involved know together a an outcome of an imbalance in the pet spirits and also vapours that flow continually transparent the body” (Giacomini Tebalducci Malespini 1597).

“Affections space not the exact same as emotions; however, they space a spiritual movement of the mind” (Palisca 1991, p. 3).

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A significant Baroque proponent the the theory of the Affections was Johann Mattheson (Poultney 1996, p. 107).