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MU1710 Oct 12

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Music 1710F/G
Cameron Johnston

October 12 Readings/Class Notes – History What are some of the musico-dramatic conventions we expect from others? What is opera? “Most narrowly conceived, the word ‘opera’ signifies a drama in which the actors sing throughout. There are, however, so many exceptions among the operatic works of the West – so many works popularly called operas in which some parts are spoken or mimed – that the word should be more generically defined as a drama in which the actors sing some or all of their parts.” - (Howard Mayer Brown, New Grove Online) Opera – a sense of grandeur – master of all arts because it combines all the arts – paintings and backgrounds, costumes, writers, performers, dramatic artists, musicians “since all operatic works combine music, drama and spectacle, though in varying degrees, all three principal elements should be taken into account in any comprehensive study of the genre, even though music has traditionally played the dominant role in the conception and realization of individual works.”(Howard Mayer Brown, New Grove Online) – we need to take more things into account – not only the sounds, but the music, drama and spectacle. How do some of these conventions appear in John Adams' Nixon in Music, Drama and Spectacle? – Music will tell the audience something about the character – Characters play a role in dramatic action – This action will involve scenes that dazzle or impress. Action and Reflection Recitative: “A type of vocal writing, normally for a single voice, with the intent of mimicking dramatic speech in song” - Action. vs. Aria: “Any closed lyrical piece for solo voice.” - Reflection. Large cadence that moves from this soliloquy, moving back to the recitative. – most music falls somewhere in between recitative and aria. - often in operas, at the beginning a character will come out and explain the situation eg. Padra, Germania, Addio! - Ilia comes out an explains her predicament; we understand what the dramatic action will be Nixon's Entrance A
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