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MUS110H1 Lecture 1 - Rhythm 10-12-07 2:05 AM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Main Stylistic Eras of Western Music
• Middle Ages (Medieval): ca. 500 – ca. 1400
o Main music found in the Church (the literate people were
• Renaissance: ca. 1400 – ca. 1600
o “rebirth” time (The Church and nobility lost some authority
and common folk discovered they might have talent)
• Baroque: ca. 1600 – ca. 1750
o Dramatic period (opera, Bach, Vivaldi, raised level of
• Classical: ca. 1750 – ca. 1800
o Music very removed, carefully organized, balanced (Mozart,
• 19th Century: ca. 1800 – ca. 1899
• 20th Century: ca. 1900 – ca. 1999
• Is the organization of events in time
• The grouping of musical sounds, principally by means of duration
• What do we listen for?
o Levels of rhythmic activity – high or low?
o Layers of rhythmic activity – same or different levels of
! An orchestra is a good example of this
o Do we hear recurrent patterns? More than one recurrent
pattern? Recurrent patterns in multiple layers of activity?
• i.e. Gregorian Chant, Kyrie (ca. 10th century)
• very proportioned
• very balanced
• sense of peacefulness
• very rhythmically laid back, non-metric music
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• Hoquet or Hocket: derived from the Latin word for ‘hiccup’. A
Stylistic device characterized by the distribution of a melodic line
between two voices in such a way that as one sounds, the other is
o i.e. Guillaume De Machaut, Mass of Our lady, Kyrie (CA.
• i.e. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Agnus Dei of the Pope Marcellus
• rhythmically or moderately active
• longer note values often tend to be followed by shorter note values
• rarely are there sudden changes in the levels of rhythmic activity
(causes sense of peacefulness)
• rhythmic activity is most often the same in all parts
Baroque & Classical
• Recitative: a style of text setting that imitates and emphasizes the
natural inflections, rhythms, and syntax of speech
o i.e. Henry Purcell, Dido and Auneas (1689). Recitative “Thy
• frequent use of motivic rhythmic patterns. A “motive” (or “motif) is
a short rhythmic, melodic or harmonic idea, or a combination of all
o i.e. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No 40 in G Minor
! How does Mozart use rhythm to achieve high levels of
energy in his music?
" Repetition of a note
• i.e. Bedrich Smetana, “The Moldau” from Ma Vlast (1872-74)
o many many rhythmic layers of activity
• Romantic music of the 19th century often calls on all rhythmic
devices to maintain interest and to underscore the composer’s
personal style and musical language
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