AoS1 - Western Classical Music
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When was the Baroque period?
What scales are used in tonal music?
Major and minor
How was contrast emphasised?
By modulating between keys
Name 4 structures which are used for composition.
- Binary Form
- Ternary Form
- Rondo Form
- Variation Form
What makes Baroque music recognisable?
- Terraced dynamics
- Motifs (a lot of repetition)
- Simple harmonies (mainly use chords 1 and 5)
- Lots of added ornaments
- Polyphonic texture (mostly)
Describe basso continuo.
- A continuous bass part
- The chords are based on it
- Often played on an organ or harpsichord
- Could also be played on more than one instrument (cello, bassoon etc)
Name 10 popular Baroque instruments.
- Double bass
When was Classical music?
What were the key differences between Classical and Baroque?
- Classical contains fewer ornaments
- Classical has balanced 4 bar phrases (2 bar question, 2 bar answer)
- Classical had binary, rondo, ternary and variation forms but also made up sonata form
- Baroque used terraced dynamics - Classical used crescendos and diminuendos
When was the piano invented?
- About 1700
- Clarinet also invented around this time
Why was piano more preferred than the harpsichord?
Because you could perform dynamics on it
How did Classical music change the orchestra?
- They got bigger
- Woodwind, trumpets and horns were used more
- The strings section was expanded
Describe binary form.
- There are two bits of a tune
- Usually used for Baroque dances
- A and B should be contrasting
- Often a modulation between A and B
- Minor to major, Major to dominant
Give 5 examples of Baroque dances.
Describe ternary form.
- There are three sections
- Section A ends in the home key, usually with a perfect cadence
- Section B modulates to a related key then goes back to home key before it ends
- Final section, the same or slightly varied from the first
- If it is varied, would be called A1 instead of A
What is an aria?
- A solo in an opera or oratorio
- Often used in ternary from (Baroque period)
- ^This type of aria is called a 'da capo aria'
How were arias used in ternary form in the Baroque period?
You would do A followed by B, where you would come to a 'da capo al fine' when you would go back and play A until you reach 'fine'
Where did Classical composers use ternary form?
- In symphonies
- The third movement is often in a ternary form called 'minuet and trio'
- The trio is in a different (related) key to create contrast
- They're sandwiched together to give the whole movement a ternary structure
Describe rondo form.
- It can have any number of sections
- The main theme is always in the home key
- Each episode tends to modulate to a related key for contrast
Describe theme and variation form.
- The theme is a memorable tune
- Theme, short pause, first variation, short pause, second variation etc...
- No limit to number of variations
- Each variation should be a recognisable version of the main theme, but different to all the others
Give 8 ways you could create a variation of a theme.
- Add notes
- Remove notes
- Change the metre
- Add a countermelody
- Change the tempo
- Change the key
- Change some or all of the chords
- Add a different type of acompaniment
What is ground bass form?
- Varies ideas over a fixed bass part
- Continuous, no pauses
- Main theme (ground) continuously played
- Varying melodies and harmonies which become more complex are played over the ground
- Two types of Baroque dance which are in ground bass form (chaconne and passacaglia) which are slow and stately
What is inversion of a melody?
- Turning the tune upside down
- Keep the same intervals but go in the opposite direction
What is retrograde of a melody?
- Playing the tune backwards
- Start with the last note and go backwards until you reach the beginning
What is sequencing of a melody?
- Where you repeat the pattern or the phrase but start on a different note
- Handel used a descending sequence in bars 18-19 of Glory of the Lord
What is imitation of a melody?
- Where you repeat a phrase but with slight changes
- Bars 63-68 between the alto and tenor parts in Glory of the Lord
- Bars 72-76 in Symphony No. 40 in G minor
What is ostinato?
- Where you keep one pattern the same and change the rest
- Basically a repetition
- Doesn't have to just be in the bass line, it can be in the melody or chord pattern
- It can last for more than one bar
What is the difference between a Baroque trill and a Classical trill?
- Baroque begins on the note above the written note and goes quickly back and forth between these two notes
- Classical begins on the written note and goes up to the note above
What is an appoggiatura?
- A note which clashes with the accompanying chord
- It is half the value of the following note
- Note before it is usually quite a jump away
- The note after is just above or below and called the resolution
- Resolution has to be from the accompanying chord
- Also called grace notes
- Another type of grace note is called the acciaccatura, played very quickly
What is a mordent?
- Starts off like a trill
- They end on the written note, which is played a bit longer than the trilled notes
What is a turn?
- Starts on the note above the written note then goes back to the written note, goes to the note below and back to the written note
- An inverted turn starts on the note below the written note, written note, note above written note and back to written note
What is choral music?
- Sung by choirs and soloists
- Can be sacred or secular
Describe sacred music.
- Mass - part of the catholic church service set to music
- Requiem - mass for the dead
- Chorale - a hymn
- Oratorio - religious version of an opera, often telling bible stories
- Cantata - vocal pieces made up of two or three arias, separated by recitatives
Describe secular music.
- Opera - a story set to music with singing and acting. Most operas were divided up into three parts or acts. The main types of Baroque opera were....
- - Opera Seria - serious, often mythical themes
- - Opera buffa - lighter, more everyday themes
- - Opera comique - like opera buffa but with some spoken recitatives
- - Operetta - not big enough to be a proper opera
- Canata - you can get secular cantatas as well
What are the three main types of song in an opera, oratorio or cantata?
What is an aria?
- A solo vocal piece
- Gives main characters the chance to show what they're thinking and feeling
What is a recitative?
- A song which tells the story and moves it along
- The rhythm of the words tend to imitate the rhythm of normal speech
What is a chorus?
- Sung by the chorus (a choir)
- Usually written for SATB choirs (soprano, alto, tenor, bass)
- Most Baroque choirs are all male
What are oratorios?
- Religious versions of operas
- Often tell bible stories with a religious or moral theme
- Not usually acted out with scenery and costumes
- Normally have instrumental accompaniment
- Can be performed in concert halls as well as churches
Who was Handel?
- George Frideric Handel
- Born in Germany, 1685
- From about 1710, lived in England
- Died in London in 1759
What was Handels most famous oratorio?
- Handel wrote Messiah in 1741
- Took about three weeks to compose
- Became popular with audiences because of uplifting choruses
- Mozart like it so much he arranged his own version of it
- Originally was performed at Easter but now performed at Christmas
- The text (libretto) was put together by Charles Jennens who took words from old and new testaments
How many sections are in Messiah?
- First section describes the prophecies about Jesus' birth
- Second section about presecution and crucifixion of Jesus
- Third section about his ressurection
Describe the chorus of Messiah.
- Fourth piece in the first section
- Comes after an aria sung by a tenor and before a bass recitative
- First chorus you hear in the oratorio
- Made up of the lines- 'and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed' 'and all flesh shall see it together' 'for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it'
- ^These phrases are repeated throughout the piece
- For most of the chorus, orchestra doubles vocal parts
- Instruments often play in unison with the singers
What is the key of Messiah?
- Most in A major
- Modulates a few times (twice to E major and once to B major)
- Mostly homophonic
- Some bits are polyphonic (in bars 91-107)
- Piece marked allegro, quick and lively
- In 3/4, but in some places feels like 2/4 (called hemiola)
Describe the first motif.
- Sung by altos
- Bars 11-14
- Most of phrase is syllabic (each syllable has its own note)
Describe the second motif.
- Intoduced by the tenors
- Bars 17-20
- 'Be revealed' spread over a descending sequence
- Syllables of 'revealed' spread over lots of notes (melismatic, opposite of syllabic)
Describe the third motif.
- First sung by altos
- Bars 43-46
- Same bit of melody repeated three times
Describe the fourth motif.
- Introduced by tenors and basses
- Bars 51-57
- Only motif that's introduced by two parts
- Sing in unison for first 5 bars
- Sing in harmony for last two bars
- Most of motif on same note (A)
- ^This is a pedal point
- Notes are quite long (minims and dotted minims)
- Sounds serious and important
What cadence does Messiah end in?
- Last four bars marked adagio. Much slower
Who was Orchestral music written for?
- Wealthy audiences
- Royalty and aristocrats
- Composers paid to write music for official events, church services and entertainment
Describe the orchestra in the Classical period.
- At the beginning, fairly small (mainly strings, with horns, flutes and oboes)
- Later on woodwind section grew. Clarinets invented
- Mozart was the first to use clarinet in a symphony
- Bassoons also introduced
- Trumpets added to brass section
- Timpani included in percussion section
- At beginning there was a harpsichord but was replaced by the increasing woodwind section
Describe the roles of the instruments in the Classical orchestra.
- Mostly stringed - dominant sound in most Classical music. Violins play most of the tunes
- Wind play extra notes to fill out the harmonies
- Occasional wind solo
- Later in Classical music wind started to have a more independent role
Describe the structure of Classical music.
- Short balanced two or four bar phrases
- Question followed by answer
Describe the texture of Classical music.
- Most Classical music has just one tune with accompanying chords. Homophonic texture
- There are block chords and broken chords
- Polyphony - where several tunes weave in and out of each other - sometimes used but not often
What is the tonality of the pieces of the era?
- Major and minor
- Classical harmony known as diatonic (nearly all the notes belong in the home key)
Describe the metre and tempo of the era.
- Metre - very regular
- Tempo - stays constant, speed of the beat stays pretty much the same all the way through
What is a concerto?
- Concertos, symphonies and sonatas popular Classical forms
- Concerto is a piece for a soloist and orchestra
- Soloist has more of the tune and can really show off
- Orchestra gets the tune too, not just the accompaniment
- Three movements- quick, slow, quick
- Often have a bit (candenza) orchestra stops and soloist mechanically improvises
- Piano and violin concertos were most popular, but clarinet, horn and trumpet ones were written too
What is a symphony?
- A massive piece
- Can last more than an hour
- Use full orchestra
- Usually have four movements
- Contrast between movements is important
- A least one movement is in sonata form
- ^Usually first and sometimes last
What is a sonata?
- Written for one instrument, but some for two instruments
- Usually has three or four movements with breaks in between them
- Similar structure to a symphony
What are overtures and suites?
- An overture is a one-movement piece for orchestra
- Written as introductions to larger works
- A suite is an orchestral arrangement of the music used to accompany the action on stage, put together as a separate piece of music and played at concerts
What are the three main sections of sonata form?
Describe the exposition.
- Has two contrasting themes
- Ends in a different but related key to the one it started in
Describe the development.
- Keeps the piece interesting
- Themes are taken through lots of variations
Describe the recapitulation.
- Pulls it all together again
- Themes from the exposition are repeated
- ^Usually changed a bit
- Composer might add ornaments or shorten them a bit
What are musical signposts?
- Tell you what's coming next
- Most obvious is a change of key
- Key on dropping advance hints
- Bridge passes - lead smoothly into the new theme and also help prepare the new key
- Cadences - mark the end of a phrase or section. Come at the end of a piece too. Chords in the cadence often repeated over and over again to let the audience know the piece is over
What are the standard forms for a four-movement composition?
- First movement - sonata form - brisk and purposeful
- Second movement - ternary or variation form - slower and songlike
- Third movement - minuet or scherzo - fairly fast and dance-like
- Fourth movement - rondo, variation or sonata form - fast and cheerful
- Third movement left out in sonatas in three movements
Who was Mozart?
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Born in Slazburg, Austria in 1756
- Died in Vienna in 1791
- Considered one of the greatest composers that ever lived
Describe some of Mozart's symphonies.
- Wrote over 40
- Wrote most of them before he was 25
- Symphony No. 40 was written in 1788
- One of only two which were written in a minor key
- He wrote No. 40 and two others in 6 weeks
What was No. 40 written for?
- Fairly small orchestra
- No percussion at all, and the only brass instruments are the French Horns
- Original version didn't have clarinets
- Set work was a later version which included clarinets
How many movements does No. 40 have?
- First movement - Molto Allegro (very fast) - sonata form
- Second movement - Andante (walking pace) - sonata form
- Third movement - Allegretto (in between andante and allegro) - minuet and trio form
- Fourth movement - Allegro assai (very, very fast) - sonata form
Describe the exposition in No. 40.
- Bars 1-100
- First subject - bars 1-28 - first idea bars 1-9 and second idea 9-14. Both ideas played by violins. First three notes repeated throughout. Second idea starts with these notes but a 6th higher
- Transition or Bridge Passage - bars 28-43 - forte throughout with lots of sforzanado from bar 34. Begins in Bb major but extra chromatic notes to add tension. Violins play a descending sequence from bars 30-33 over a lower string tremelo with sustained notes for the upper woodwind
- Second subject - bars 44-72 - In Bb major though uses a lot of chromatic notes. Strings play the theme first then woodwind repeat it at bar 52. Ornaments used - woodwind plays trills in bar 65
- Codetta - bars 72-100 - like a mini coda, used to finish the exposition section, lots of imitation between clarinet and bassoon, key changes from Bb major to G minor, whole of exposition is repeated
Describe the development section of No. 40.
- Bars 101-164
- Based on first idea of exposition section
- Harmonies more chromatic in this bit
- Begins in F# minor but explores lots of different keys (eg bars 118-128)
- From bar 140 Mozart uses lots of pedal points
Describe the recapitulation of No. 40.
- Bars 164-299
- First subject - bars 164-184 - exactly the same as exposition
- Bridge passage is much longer this time - lasts from bar 184-227
- Passes through lots of keys including Eb major, F minor and D major
- Sequence in bars 202-210
- Second subject - bars 227-260 - shared between woodwind and strings, G minor, some ascending chromatic notes in the bass parts from bar 245
- The coda - bars 260-299 - extended version of the codetta, finishes with four G minor chords, really obvious that the movement has finished
When was the romantic period?
Who were some romantic composers?
- Some of Beethoven's later pieces
What were the composers trying to portray in the romantic period?
- Feelings and nature
- Wanted to show contrasts (e.g. love, hate, happiness, grief, life, death)
- Fascinated by supernatural ideas
What was the romantic music based on?
- Poems and paintings
- They also used their music to create stories
What are the dynamics like in Romantic music?
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