A0S2 - Music in the 20th Century
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When was the romantic period?
What are chromatic notes and chords?
- Notes and chords which don't belong to the main key of the melody
- Romantic composers use a lot of them
- So many chromatics were used, the original key began to be lost
- Music became atonal
- Therefore, the original structures were no longer used (binary, ternary and rondo)
Who was Arnold Schoenburg?
- Born in Vienna, Austria, 1847
- Composer, conductor and teacher at university of Vienna
- He used lots of chromatics
- He became inspired by the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky
- He began to write atonal music in order to express his inner feelings
- He included more dissonance which didn't resolve straight away
- Invented serialism
What is expressionist music?
- Intensely emotional
- Has angular, spiky melodies
- Has lots of dissonance
- Mainly atonal
- Has contrasting dynamics
- Doesn't really have cadences, repetition or sequences
- Always changing (never sticks to one musical idea for long)
Give examples of some of Schoenburg's pieces.
- Verklärte Nacht - string sextet - 1899 (tonal but contains lots of chromaticism)
- Pelleas und Melisande - Orchestral - 1903
- Fünf Orchesterstücke - Suite - 1909
- ^^One movement of this is Peripetie. Atonal
- Pierrot-Lunaire - Soprano and chamber orchestra - 1912 (atonal, half-singing half-speaking technique called Sprechstimme)
- 5 pieces for piano - Serial - 1923
- The fourth movement of Five Orchestral Pieces
- Originally written in 1909, but revised in 1922 and 1949
- Expressionist piece
- Peripetie comes from a greek word which means sudden changes
- Very different to the movement before it - lots of changes of timbre and texture
Describe the orchestral structure of Peripetie.
- Written for a large orchestra
- ^This allowed him to make lots of contrasts in texture, timbre and dynamics
- Massive woodwind section (quadruple woodwind - three flutes, a piccolo, three oboes, a cor anglais, three clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons and a contrabassoon)
- Large brass section (six horns, three trumpets, four trombones and a tuba)
- Percussion (timpani, cymbals and a xylophone)
- Fairly standard string section.
- Very tricky to play - lots of instruments play very high or very low. Big leaps in pitch, sometimes over an octave
What changed when Schoenburg revised Peripetie?
- 1949 - instrumentation
- Reduced number of clarinets, oboes, bassoons, horns and trombones.
- Did this to make it more accessible to smaller orchestras.
Describe the structure of Peripetie.
- No conventional structure or obvious melody
- Uses melodic fragments and complicated fragment rhythms.
- Each fragment based on a hexachord
- Uses the hexachords to create dissonance
- Almost in rondo form - same melodic idea returns a few times. Free rondo. Sections are different lengths and the textures and tempos change in each section
Describe the detail of Peripetie.
- The movement is described as sehr rasch (very fast) only 66 bars long
- Also other instructions like heftig (passionate) and ruhiger (calmer)
- It is an example of Klangfarbenmelodie (tone-colour-melody)
- ^A technique used to break up a melody by passing it round different parts. Gives the tune variations in the timbre (tone colour)
Describe the instrumentation in Peripetie.
- Changes in each section. ABA'CA''
- A (Bars 1-18) : Every instrument in the orchestra gets to play, only for a bar or two at a time. Instruments play in groups. Little bits of tune passed around the orchestra. Begins very loud, drops to pp in bar 6
- B (18-34) : All instruments get to play. Most parts play alone. All play different rhythms and parts overlap. At end almost every instrument playing at the same time, but not same rhythms. Starts of quietly but dynamics build up
- A' (35-43) : Hexachord from bar 8 is played again by horns
- C (44-58) : Thin texture. Solo lines for cello and double bass. Few loud semiquaver triplets. Most of section is calm and quiet
- A'' (59-66) : Instrumentation builds up from just clarinets and strings until whole orchestra plays fff chord in bar 64. Finishes with pp chord in horns and double bass
Describe the contrasts in Peripetie.
- Wide range of extreme dynamics - from pp to fff. Change very quickly
- Sudden changes in texture. Polyphony to thinner texture with solo lines
- Timbre - quick changes between the families of instruments.
- Note lengths - from demiquavers to semibreves
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