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Lecture 14

MUSIC 140A Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Counterpoint, Trio Sonata, Tabula Rasa

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Robert W Inter

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Prelude: The Age of Enlightenment
By the end of the 1600’s, life was still tough in Europe
People did not think of music as a priority, at least as much as they could have
without the plague, war, and famine
By the time the next century came, Europeans were able to think more about
philosophy, culture, and hierarchical systems Age of Enlightenment
Enlightenment: all about reason, rationalism, science
John Locke: tabula rasa, “empty slate”
Stark contrast from witches and black magic
This was when artists really began to challenge satirize authority → The Rake’s
William Hogarth satirized English upper middle class
Encyclopedia - Denis Diderot
1745: symbolized the desire of scientists and thinkers to define and expand the
base of knowledge
Dictionary of the English Language - Samuel Johnson
1755: Reflected a desire to codify and organize a rich and complex language
Francois Voltaire (1694-1778)
Angered aristocrats
Principles in fairness and justice
Wrote satirical attacks on abuses of power
Rejected the formal God of Church, believed in deity rather than faith
Wrote Candide
Pokes fun at philosophers who ponder unanswerable questions rather
than attending to life’s pressing problems
French Revolution
Initially wasn’t a democratic movement
Louis XIV governed as absolute ruler
Lineage ended with Louis XVI in 1792
Terrors of the French Revolution → thousands of people guillotined
European dukes and princes wanted to imitate lavish style of French regime
Scientists and philosophers did their thing, despite what authorities said
Triadic Tonality
Music of late 17th century, going into 18th century:
Driven by voice-leading
Shift away from extravagant linear lines with high dissonances → simple vertical
harmonies with incidental dissonance
Rise in basso continuo - bass line harmonizing with full triads on every beat
Continuo group: harpsichord and viola da gamba
For some time, depended on relationship between: tonic, subdominant, dominant chords
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