Composer George Frideric Handel is known for his baroque music, including his Water Music suite. The Water Music is a collection of orchestral pieces that were composed to be performed by a band on boats as the boats sailed on the river Thames.
The music was written in 1717 during the time of King George I. This was a significant time in British history as there was a change in the monarch and the country shifted from being a parliamentary monarchy to a virtual autocracy.
Handel served as an assistant church superintendent and court composer at this time, so he needed to produce music that would please the King and Queen as well as entertain others.
Interestingly, although the Water Music was written for entertainment purposes, it now is used more frequently in weddings due to its calm and soothing nature.
Handel’s Water Music was composed in 1717, and the music is meant to be played by a group of instruments called a band. The name “Water Music” comes from the relaxing nature of the music, like water.
The composer wrote this music for a special event. King George I of Great Britain hired some musicians to play at his birthday celebration on May 24. He also had a boat parade on the River Thames, which is where the musicians came from.
He wanted it to be very impressive, so he had over one hundred musicians play at this event! Having so many musicians playing together created an impressive sound, which is why Handel wrote the music with lively rhythms and catchy melodies.
He wanted people to get up and dance, and he wanted to showcase his talent as a composer.
Composed for royal occasion
Handel’s Water Music was composed in 1717 for a very special royal occasion. King George I of Great Britain came to London for his daughter’s wedding.
The king was not very popular, and there were fears of violence as he had a bad reputation. So, the king held a large festival in his honor at Kensington Gardens, where he could be entertained privately.
He enjoyed music and dancing, so a water party was arranged where the music was provided by Handel. The music that he composed is said to have matched the mood of the day: lively and cheerful.
Many people enjoy listening to Water Music for its relaxing quality. It is said that the rhythm and melody are both fairly simple, which explains this quality.
Represents the beginning of classical music
The term classical music refers to music that is considered highly refined, skillful, and masterful. It is music that is considered to be of the highest quality.
Classical music also refers to music from a particular period of time. This time spans about two centuries, from the 1770s to the 1910s. During this time, many composers wrote very famous pieces that are still recognizable today.
Many people associate classical music with old church songs or stuffy symphonies that are hard to listen to. However, most classical music is quite accessible and fun to listen to! Many composers were trying to achieve different things with their compositions, such as eliciting certain emotions or creating a certain picture in the listener’s mind.
Water Music described
The name Water Music came from the fact that this music was meant to be played on boats during leisure activities. The songs were meant to be enjoyed by all who were on the boat, not just the people rowing.
Handel was a very famous composer and musician of his time. He was not only famous for his operas, but also for his ability to compose relaxing music. His style of composition was very memorable, which is why he is so well known for it.
Although most of his other music was more dramatic and intense, Handel purposely made Water Music light and cheerful so that it would match the mood of being on a boat in a body of water.
He used lively rhythms and catchy melodies to bring out the fun aspect of being on a boat. By setting the music to specific rhythms, it adds more fun elements to it.
Influence of jazz
Handel’s Water Music was first performed in 1717, during the period of time in which jazz music was developed. As such, the influence of jazz on Handel’s Water Music is likely a result of the influence of jazz on the time period it was composed in.
Handel lived during a time when there was an increase in popularity of music with lively rhythms and catchy melodies. These traits are easily recognizable in popular jazz songs.
However, Handel’s Water Music is not considered to be a jazz song, which suggests that he did not fully embrace all of the characteristics of jazz music. He perhaps only incorporated some elements of jazz into his composition.
Nevertheless, since we now recognize water music as being very lively and having catchy melodies, it is likely that this is because of some element of jazz that Handel integrated into his song.
Helps people focus
Water music is a term used to describe classical music that helps people relax and focus. It is often marked by lively rhythms and catchy melodies.
Many people use water music to study or work as they find it helpful. The relaxing quality of the music helps focus on something else, like studying material.
Others use it to relax or sleep as they find the music soothing. Those who are sensitive to sound sometimes use water music as a noise blocker as it is familiar and pleasant.
As with all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you find you cannot sleep after listening to too much water music, try switching it up with some other genres!
There are many different genres of music, so there is definitely something for everyone. Try listening to some other types of music to get more benefits from the relaxation effect.
Helpful for learning music
As mentioned before, Handel was a master of music. Not only did he know how to compose beautiful songs, but he also knew how to create music that people wanted to listen to and dance to.
Handel’s Water Music is no different. Even though this piece is titled Water Music, there is very little water themed musical content. What is present may have been influenced by the mood of the water, however.
The rhythm of the music is quite lively. The beats are emphasized and fast, making it easy to dance to it. The melodies are catchy and stay in your head after you hear them. Both of these attributes make them more ‘listenable’ music. People want to hear what comes next because it is interesting or memorable.
Even though this piece was not specifically intended for dancing, it was helpful for preparing for later dances.