MUSIC 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky, Child Prodigy

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Published on 13 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Music
Course
MUSIC 1AA3
Béla Bartók (1881 (Hungary) - 1945 (NY, age 64))
Emigrated to states in 1940 due to WWII
Composer, performer, scholar, regarded with Liszt as Hungary's greatest composers.
Child prodigy - could play 40 pieces by 4, gave first recital of own works at 11. bet I could tie my shoes
earlier though.
in 1908 began field work collecting/recording folk songs, put melodies into his music
he'd listen to them on vinyl and transcribe them into notes in real time.
Edited collections of eastern European folk music for Columbia University in US; founded
ethnomusicology
Died of leukaemia less than a year after the premiere of the Concerto for Orchestra
Concerto for Orchestra
Timbre of instruments
Bassoons: gruff and raspy sound
Oboes: piercing and nasally
Clarinets: Smooth, resonant, with wide range
Flutes: Pure, delicate, and breathy (always 2 flutes apparently in orchestras)
Trumpets: sharp sounding; mute makes it more subdued, which could explain why it's called a
"mute"
Trombones, Tubes, and Horns: round and mellow
Late work: commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky (conductor of Boston Symphony Orchestra) in 1943
Concerto for orchestra: all!instruments have a chance to shine
Second 'playful' movement "Game of Pairs"
features pairs of wind instruments playing 'parallel harmony' (bassoons a 6th apart; oboes a 3rd;
clarinets 7th (dissonant interval); flutes 5th; trumpets 2nd (dissonant interval); He said the
intervals will be on the middie, especially clarinets a 7th apart)
Folk-influenced melodies; e.g. 5th movement
2nd mov. bassoon theme very similar to Balkan folk dances (judging by the melody balkan
dances must have been bumpin')
Non-conventional tonality (parallel harmonies)
common in some East European folk traditions (kinda like aboriginal music)
symmetrical ternary form (Intro A B A' Coda) --- textbook has mistake, they write coda at
beginning
Ethnomusicology
Study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local contexts
ethnomusicologists aren't crusty academics, they go out into the field, get up in the musicians shit
and whatnot
particularly applied to study of non-western music
desperate effort to record disappearing cultures
Bartok visited Romania and was amazed at how many "uncontaminated" musical styles there were. has
some selfies with gypsies
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Document Summary

B la bart k (1881 (hungary) - 1945 (ny, age 64)) he"d listen to them on vinyl and transcribe them into notes in real time. Emigrated to states in 1940 due to wwii. Composer, performer, scholar, regarded with liszt as hungary"s greatest composers. Child prodigy - could play 40 pieces by 4, gave rst recital of own works at 11. bet i could tie my shoes earlier though. in 1908 began eld work collecting/recording folk songs, put melodies into his music. Edited collections of eastern european folk music for columbia university in us; founded ethnomusicology. Died of leukaemia less than a year after the premiere of the concerto for orchestra. Late work: commissioned by serge koussevitsky (conductor of boston symphony orchestra) in 1943. Concerto for orchestra: all instruments have a chance to shine. Flutes: pure, delicate, and breathy (always 2 utes apparently in orchestras) Trumpets: sharp sounding; mute makes it more subdued, which could explain why it"s called a.

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