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All textbook notes for Music 1A03

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Lara Housez

The Middle Ages (476 CE-Early 15 Century):  Church dominated intellectual and cultural life  Music was perceived as a means of serving God  Plainchant (aka Gregorian chant) consisted of monophonic, unaccompanied melodies sung by a single voice/choir in unison  Polyphony became important for both sacred and secular music from the 10 th century onward  Scales are different than today and most instruments are not used now Music for Sacred Spaces:  Era of great, gothic cathedrals, large buildings; meant to inspire and lift the eye heavenward  Purpose of sacred music is to enhance texts being sung and inspire worshippers with the beauty of their sound  All services of the church were provided with their appropriate melodies. o Many services with the most important service being Mass o Special efforts were made for the many chants of Mass  Hildegard von Bingen’s Play of Virtues (Ordo virtutum) combine plainchant with new poetry to convey teachings to understand differences between good and evil Music for Entertainment:  Medieval castles were symbols of the secular  Medieval Europe was divided into a series of kingdoms, duchies, and fiefdoms of varied sizes ruled by a Lord who collected tax  Rulers competed for the best poets, dancers, and singers  Minstrels passed from town to town providing poetry, song, acrobatics, and juggling  Troubadours, Trouvères, and Minnesingers sang and played songs about love, heroism and pastoral life  Music was always featured at near every courtly gathering  Medieval secular music was sung to texts in the language of the people Music for Dancing:  Dance was a highly significant social activity  Most dances were group activities (like present day line-dancing) and featured a drummer providing a basic beat Information Technolthy 1.0:  Until the 10 century, music was transmitted orally, not in written form  Early plainchant manuscripts show symbols above texts indicating motion of the pitch up/down  Making manuscripts were expensive: parchment was not readily available and ink was expensive Hildegard von Bingen and Play of Virtues  Morality play, dramatized allegory of good and evil  16 virtues; charity, obedience, humility, chastity, victory, etc.  Music exerts a powerful pull on the human spirit o Hildegard noticed that Play of Virtues is powerful but could be even more powerful with music  Music was perceived as a divine gift from heaven, so the devil in Play of Virtues had no lines but shouted words  Hildegard builds on long tradition of liturgical plainchant o Plainchant grew out of chants of Jewish services of worship, mainly the melodic recitation of the psalms  Hildegard’s chant is similar to more florid types found in worship services Clarity of Monophonic Texture  Monophonic texture allows performers to project text with great clarity o The musicians towards the end added the sound of distant bells at the end to emphasize the moment of dramatic triumph  Musicians probably added instruments to give variety to music’s timbre  Preserved music from the middle ages was monophonic and in the church, it because known as plainchant because of the textural simplicity  Plainchant was well suited for performance in the large, resonant spaces of medieval churches Medieval Melody  Hildegard’s flowing melodies move primarily by step (conjunct) but the occasional leaps (disjunct) provide variety and give text clear profiles  A sentence of text in plainchant almost always ends with a cadence  What makes plainchant sound otherworldly is the scales where melodies are based o Medieval composers had four additional modes (including major and minor) each using a sequence of whole steps and half steps  Each scale (mode) was given its own Greek name o Dorian (on D) o Phrygian (on E) o Lydian (on F) o Mixolydian (on G) o Aeolian (on A) o Ionian (on C) Projecting Words through Music  Two basic choices in setting words through music o 1. Syllabic: one note per syllable, ensures words will be heard with special clarity o 2. Melismatic: a melisma is a syllable sung to many notes, providing variety and emphasizing key words in a text Free Rhythm  Two general approaches to how plainchant was performed; free or measured o Free rhythm has individual notes lengthened or shortened according to the length of the syllables in the words being sung o Measured performances adhere to consistent meter San Ildefonso Indians of New Mexico and Eagle Dance  Eagle dance is part of an ancient Native American rain ceremony and is always accompanied by chant  Chant has been, and remains essential to sacred rituals throughout the world  Chant is predominant form ofthusic in Native North American Indian culture  Where it hasn’t died from 19 century wards with Euro-Americans, it survives on reservations  Heard at powwows where Native Americans express their mutual bond and identity  Eagle dance portrays life cycle of an eagle, creature regarded as the connecting link between heaven and earth  Two men in eagle feathers dance movements imitating eagles turning, flapping and swaying in the air o The feathers aren’t allowed to touch the ground Texture: Monophony  Eagle dance consists of one melodic line  Sung by male voices in unison o Percussion instruments are perceived as singing the chant; sounds punctuate the rhythm of the chant  Nearly all Native American music is monophonic and accompanied by percussion Word-Music Relationships: Beyond Language  Songs are believed to have come from spirit world  Song is transmitted through a person who hears it in a dream or revelation and teaches it to others  Native American chants make use of vocables – meaningless sung syllables, the sound of which serves like a melodic instrument Form: ABA  Each section has its own melody, built of smaller repeating units  Varied vocable at the end of each melody group creates contrast within each section Terraced Melody  Although A and B contrast in their rhythms and sung syllables, they are similar in the overall downward contour of their melodies  Both descend the scale in terraced stages, eventually resolving a low tone Francesco Landini: Behold, Spring  In Behold, Spring, we hear two voices singing independent and equally important lines  It is a balata for two voices (balata means danced)  Landini’s setting captures the feeling of bodies in motion  Served as an organist at church in Florence and was renown as a poet  Believed to have written more than 150 secular songs, which represent 1/3 of all th Italian music survived from 14 century The Richness of Polyphonic Texture  Two or more voices of equal importance combine in a way that each voice retains its own identity  Although our ears draw to upper line (because high pitches stand out more), the lower line is just as melodious th th  Earliest polyphonic work was created in 8 /9 century by adding new lines above or below the existing plainchant melodies  Some early works of polyphony were extraordinarily long and intricate but were based on an existing liturgical melody  Perotin, wrote long and intricate works known as organum o These used plainchant in long note values in the lowest voice, with faster- moving voices layered above plainchant  Behold, Spring, is actually a new secular composition Rhythm: The Pulse of Meter  Behold, Spring, is set around a steady pattern of triple meter (1-2-3|1-2-3 etc.)  The length of individual notes vary but music falls into consistent units of 3 beats Units of Melody  Conjunct melodic lines were subdivided into smaller units, each ending with a cadence  Cadences were used in second and fourth lines in each four-line strophe  Landini always cadences on unison (both voices sing exactly the same note)  At times, two voices move in same rhythmic pattern while other times the rhythms diverge. They always coincide just before each cadence Form: Turning Poetry into Music  Consists of three verses, known as strophes (or stanzas) with the first repeated at the end  Form is ABAA  Once A is introduced, it can be repeated, varied, or contrasted though intro of new idea  He used all of the above Word-Music Relationships: Syllabic vs. Melismatic  Text is largely syllabic  Melismas used on line 3 of first strophe and in third line of second strophe  This creates a degree of variety Guillaume de Machaut: “I Can All Too Well Compare My Lady”  Song gives voice to medieval art of courtly love  Pygmalion in text refers to mystic sculptor of antiquity who carved statue so realistic he fell in love with it and it came to life  Love songs are as old as songs themselves Three-Voice Texture  Song is for 3 voices and has 3 independent lines that are completely different from one another  Uppermost voice is easiest to hear, it is the most rhythmically active and fluid  The lower voices move at slower speeds and sing longer (and fewer) notes A Melody Punctuated by Cadences  There is a total of 5 cadences  Length is as little as 7 seconds to as much as 19 seconds AAB Form:  Text consist of 4 sentences  Opening sentence is repeated for second sentence  Has same form as star-spangled banner Alfonso el Sabio: Songs to the Virgin Mary (Cantigas de Santa Maria), no. 249, “He Who Gladly Serves (Aquel que de volontade”  Drums and two wind instruments bring to life a work originally notated for only one voice  Little amounts of music written for instruments survives from the middle ages but composers and musicians rarely made sharp distinctions between vocal and instrumental music o Vocal lines were often performed on instruments if not enough singers were available for performance  Alfonso el Sabio ruled the Kingdom of Castile and Leon on the Iberian peninsula between 1252 and 1284  The cantigas is a collection of more than 400 songs preserved in several different manuscripts Timbre: The Sound of Double Reeds  The shawm is a double reed instrument because the player blows through the tiny space between a pair of cane strips  Air resonates between a long, open-ended tubular base made of wood and produces a reedy, slightly nasal sound  Closest modern day relative is the oboe Form: Repetition and Contrast  The form of this piece arises out of two units (A and B)  They begin in a similar manner by B moves into a higher register  Passage on drums introduces two complete statements of the melody (ABA ABA)  The A section is repeated twice at the end Three Kinds of Texture 1. Monophony: both instruments play the same notes together, in unison 2. Homophony: one instrument plays the melody, the other a drone bass – a long note held underneath the melodic line. Effect is like a bagpipe also used in medieval times 3. Heterophony: both instruments play same melody at same time but one of them plays a more elaborate and embellished for of it. The lines are thus similar and at the same time different The Renaissance (ca. 1425-1600)  Renaissance is French word for rebirth (spirit of humanism was reborn)  Composers brought spirit of humanism to art by setting both sacred and secular texts in ways that united words and music directly  Typical renaissance vocal composition featured a full, rich sound, intricate in both texture and rhythm Music for Catholics, Music for Protestants  Rift among Christians began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed complaints on doors of church in Wittenberg  He set in reformation that established Protestantism as a new branch of Christianity. Church would then be divided as protestant and catholic Music for Growing Markets  As kingdoms, duchies, and city-states expanded both in population and wealth, the demand for music and arts became greater  Best composers and musicians demanded high salaries  “Renaissance Man” was someone who cultivated knowledge and experience in the full range of arts and sciences A New Sense of Individuality  Art was more personal and drama tended toward allegory  Playwrights like Shakespeare were writing dramas and comedies with flesh-and- blood characters  Composers captured emotions in ways that seem far more personal Information Technology 2.0  Invention of printing by metal type changed the way information could be transmitted  Composers achieved international stardom because their works could now circulate across the entire continent Josquin des Prez: “The Cricket”  Has four voices and at times the music mimics the sound of a cricket Texture: Polyphony in Four Voices  Soprano (highest range), alto (second highest range), tenor (second lowest range) and bass (lowest range)  Polyphony is the norm for renaissance music in general  Composers took great pride in their skill at counterpoint o Writing a new melody against an existing one then adding a third and fourth and so on Word-Music Relationships: Music Imitates the Text and Form  Top and bottom voices sing long notes, inner voices weave around each other in the middle  ABA form Thomas Weelkes: “Since Robin Hood”  Is a madrigal song, about dancing Texture: Polyphony in Three Voices  No voice predominates and all three contribute equally  The move together in same rhythm to make the text easier to understand Poetic Rhythm in Music  Most metrical poems stick to a single meter from the beginning to end BUT robin hood shifts from one meter to another  Beginning pattern is iambic, then moves to trochaic, and anapestic William Byrd: “Sing Joyfully”  Sacred work to be sung in church with text coming from book of psalms  Takes first for verses of psalm 81  Example of a cappella choral music Texture: Polyphony in Six Voices  Technique used was imitative counterpoint o Particular style of counterpoint where one voice introduces each new theme and is answered by another voice  Only four voices enter in imitative counterpoint (imitation) with both soprano voices entering together Sectional Form  Music follows form of text  Each line gets own melodic idea and ends with a cadence o Some cadences are elided where a new line of text and music begins before the previous one has come to a complete stop The Baroque Era (1600-1750)  Called “baroque” because of attention to the extravagant and even bizarre qualit
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