"Baroque pop is to pop music what progressive rock is to rock music.
It's a more complex form, likely to have more varied instrumentation and/or more ambitious song structures. Whilst the term baroque pop originated in 1960's music journalism during a fad for using a harpsichord in pop songs, the term as used by music journalists has come to mean something more ornate and complex than most pop music. In terms of modern artists, the two most often cited are the classically influenced ostentatious pop songs of Rufus Wainwright, and the complex arrangements of Sufjan Stevens' music with their non-standard time signatures, instrumentation and harmonic counterpoints.
Baroque pop is a style of music that combines pop songwriting with (often complex) classical instrumentation. Instead of synths or electric guitars, expect to hear pianos, harpsichords, strings, woodwinds, and harps. This style started in the mid-60s. Even though the subgenre is called baroque
pop, much of the instrumentation of it is more akin to the Classical period (ca. 1750 to the early 1800s), which was after the Baroque period (mid-1600s to ca. 1750). Chamber pop/rock is like baroque pop/rock, except that the instrumentation is influenced by chamber music.
The exact origins of baroque pop are unknown. Burt Bacharach, Phil Spector, and Roy Orbison often made or produced classical-inspired music. The Zombies' "She's Not There" is often cited as an early example of the subgenre, but although the song had many harmonic qualities found in later baroque pop, it didn't use classical instrumentation. The song and group did inspire Michael Brown to form The Left Banke, whose 1966 single "Walk Away Renée" is considered the first true baroque pop single. The Beatles
, The Beach Boys
, The Moody Blues
, The Bee Gees
, and Procol Harum
are a couple of bands from this time that had absorbed the influence of the subgenre.
Baroque pop then faded into the background as punk rock
, electronic music
, and progressive rock
dominated the music scene. It slowly started to revive. Now baroque pop is more common, although its musicians are often classified under indie, alternative
, folk, Americana, Britpop
, or dream pop
Some Baroque Pop and Chamber Pop artists are: