Jan. 9 , 2013 (lecture #2)
Active Listening Practice; Dixit Dominus (Chant Psalm Setting of Psalm 110) /
J.S.Bach, G Minor Fague (1703-1707) / Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings: Waltz
(1880) / Steve Reich, Electric Counterpoint (ca. 1987)
Questions: what mood this music creates? Comparison (what makes this piece
different from each other); Chant – quiet, scary sound, gloomy moody sound &
melody, religious, incantation, solemn, comforting, human voice involved (tone
colour) / Bach – many variations in melody, getting stronger, simple piano melody,
anxiety, themes (arguing, interacting, cyclical), analytical, forward movement,
frequent repetition in melody (easily recognizable), ascending & descending wave
like melody (melodic contour)/ Tchaikovsky – Happy, spring mood, song in nut
cracker?, uplifting, different meter, playful & jovial, delicate, dancing, romantic,
violin sounds / Reich – simple, many repetitive fast sounds, no feeling nor mood,
shifts (process music), churning, quick, louder, exciting & intense due to fast
repetition, dreamy, static (no dramatic change), unsettling
Communicating About Music: For each listening, consider both means and effect
- How are different elements of music used?
- What kinds of moods are created by them?
Tone Colour (Timbre) – characteristic of music that allows us to distinguish music
(descriptive terms of the music – ex. Raspy, hollow, bright…)
Some Elements of Music: Rhythm, Meter, Tempo, Pitch, Melody (phrases, etc.),
Harmony (chords, etc.), Consonance and dissonance, Mode (major/minor), Scales,
Dynamics (loudness), Texture, Tone colour (timbre), Instrumentation and
Some Musical Differences
- Dixit Dominus (Chant Psalm Setting of Psalm 110): Entirely vocal, alternates
between monophony and homophony, modal, consonant, non-metrical.
- J.S.Bach, G Minor Fugue (1703-1707): Instrumental, imitative, polyphonic, organ,
powerful sustained melodies, minor, duple meter.
- Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings Waltz (1880): Strings, leisurely pace,
lingering melody with start-and-stops, homophonic then polyphonic, triple
meter. - Steve Reich, “Electric Counterpoint” (ca.1987): Repetition, unusual use of
ensemble and guitars, pulsing, soft dynamic.
- Dixit Dominus: Functions within monastic life, deliberately bare, surprising text.
- J.S.Bach, G Minor Fugue: Virtuosity, solo performance, intellectual, church
- Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings, Waltz (1880): Performed in concert hall,
likely commissioned by wealthy patron, later used as the theme for Br.TV
station “Channel Television” in the 1980s.
- Steve Reich, “Electric Counterpoint”: Repetition, meditative, unusual use of
ensemble and guitars, musical experimentation encouraged by university
communities and self-conscious awareness of one’s place in history.
Active Listening: How did this listening experience feel compared to your usual
Baroque Context and Style
- Baroque (1600-1750) – Early Baroque (1600 – ca.1700) – Late Baroque
(ca.1700 – 1750)
- Age of Absolutism: Pomp and extravagance
- Age of Science: System and Calculation
- Architecture, sculpture, painting, and music tend toward emotionality,
exaggeration, extravagance and control, opera
- One can see a desire to restore prestige to the Catholic church (after the
Lutheran Reformation) in the splendor of much European Catholic art
patronage, Bernini, St. Peter’s Baldachin (1623-1634)
- Bernini, Monument to Alexander VII (1678) – super controlled, detailed
- Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Theresa (1646): Depicts dream where an angel pierces
her heart with an arrow; a divine symbol of life – intense sculpture
- Literal theatricality: voyeuristic spectators gaze onwards from balconies as we
do. - Extremely ornate sculpting into the roof and archways of the Capilla del Rosario
(1550-1690) in Mexico (a colony of Spain during the Baroque).
New Currents in the Baroque
- Increasing interest in instrumental music
- Beginnings of functional harmony (order of chords): Compare – Morenzio’s
“Solo e pensoso” with a standard chord progression at the piano.
- Increasing importance on a single melody rather than several equally-weighted
voices: Compare – Monteverdi, Cruda Amarilli (c.1595), Lamenta della ninfa –
harpsichord sound (hearing underneath - accompaniment), common baroque
instrument (1638) at 1:16 (