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MUS110 Week 9 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Greg Johnston

MUS110 – November 8, 2012 Music and Context What is “context”? - “text” is the object of study: the words or notes on the page, the translation of those symbols into sound – but removed from everything else, including its cultural environment - “con”: everything that goes with it, relates to it, causes it, it is affected by it – economics, politics, religion, changing social roles of musicians, technological developments, music in popular culture, etc. Why do we feel compelled to know something about the context of a piece of music? - ex: The Rocky Horror Picture Show o watching the same text but in different contexts: in a theatre or at home - ex: chamber music performance of a string quartet o live performance versus recording o live performances are different every time, different representations What are the differences between live and recording studio performances? Between recorded studio and recorded live performances? - ex: Praetorius, In dulci jubilo, for 5 choirs (1619) o we lose sonic elements in recordings, the enjoyment in contextual performance To what extend might our knowledge of context determine the historical importance of a composition? - ex: Bach, Brandenburg Concerto no. 5, 1 movement (1723) o bought harpsichord and let the prince hear it o without the history, we just hear a nice musical piece o we know harpsichords can do more (but the prince doesn’t) o in the piece, it has a solo (not common, instrument is known more for basso continuo stuff) o super long solo for harpsichord o social element (helped move forward in music) Mozart (1745-1791)  child prodigy Beethoven (1770-1827)  became deaf, contemplated suicide - ex: Beethoven, Symphony no. 3 in Eb “Eroica” (1803) o dedstated originally to Napoleon o 1 movement is 15 minutes long, has at least 5 themes o bigger, better o took expectations of form and changed it 20 century - Stravinsky o moved to France earlier in life o composed 3 major ballets o Firebird: exotic, lively, spectacular o Petruska: edgier
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