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MUSIC 1AA3 (24)

The Classical Era - textbook notes

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McMaster University
Lara Housez

Elements of Music Melody – a single line of notes heard in succession as a coherent unity Note – the smallest unit of music, the building block out of which larger structures are created Phrases – brief musical statement Cadence – a point of arrival signalling the end of a musical unit Half cadence – a point of musical arrival that is not yet closure; of thought of as punctuation, a half cadence is like a comma, whereas a full cadence is like a period Full cadence – a musical point of arrival that creates a strong sense of closure Melodic motion – the movement of pitches within a melody up or down, either by step (conjunct motion) or by leap (disjunct motion) Conjunct motion – melodic motion of pitches by step Disjunct motion – melodic motion of pitches by leap Scale – a series of notes that provide the essential pitch building blocks of a melody Octave – the interval between two pitches of the same name (C to C, G to G etc); the frequency of the higher pitch is twice that of the lower pitch Interval – the distance between two pitches Acoustics – the science of sound; how it is produced, transmitted, and received Pitch – the position of a sound on a range from very low (the bass register) to very high (the soprano register) Sound wave – the vibration through air that produces sound Wavelength – the distance between peaks of sound waves Frequency – the number of sound-wavelengths in one second Dynamics – the volume of sound, determined by the size (amplitude) of each sound wave Pianissimo (pp) – very soft Piano (p) – soft Mezzo piano (mp) – medium soft Mezzo forte (mf) – medium loud Forte (f) – loud Fortissimo (ff) – very loud Amplitude – the size of a sound wave; determines volume Key – the central note and mode on which a melody or piece is based; 12 keys Major mode – a type of scale produced by singing “do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do”, or by playing the white keys of the piano between C and C, in which half steps occur between notes 3 and 4 and notes 7 and 8; the sound of the major mode is often described as “bright” or “happy”, in contrast to the minor mode Minor mode – a type of scale produced by playing the white keys on the piano between A and A, in which half steps occur between notes 2 and 3 and notes 5 and 6, but often with the seventh note raised so that a half step also occurs between notes 7 and 8; the sound of a minor mode is often described as “dark” or “sad’, in contrast to the major mode Rhythm – the ordering of music through time Meter – an underlying pattern of beats that maintains itself consistently throughout a work Triple meter – one accented (strong) beat followed by two unaccented (weak) beats Duple meter – an underlying pattern of rhythm in which each unit (measure) consists of one accented (strong) beat followed by one unaccented (weak) beat (1-2|1-2|) or some multiple of two (such as four or eight); ardnit of four beats for measure, for example, in which the first is the strongest and the 3 is the next strongest (1-2-3-4|1-2-3-4) is a type of duple meter Measure – a rhythmic unit, indicated by bar lines in notated music, that presents one complete statement of the meter Harmony – the sound created by multiple notes played or sung simultaneously Chord – three or more notes played or sung at the same moment Tonic – the note that establishes a key, based on its distinctive relationship with a particular set of harmonies or other notes in the underlying scale; also – the chord based on the first scale degree Texture – the number and general relationship of musical lines or voices to one another Monophonic – single melodic line; when multiple performers are singing or playing a single melody together, it is called unison Homophonic – the melody is performed with a supporting accompaniment Polyphonic – the melody is performed against another line of equal importance Timbre – the colour of the music, the character of the sound Form – the structure of a musical work; the way in which its individual units are put together - Based on repetition, variation, and contrast Genre – the category of a given work determined by a combination of its performance medium and its social function The Classical Era (1760-1800) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) - The term “classical” also refers to Greek and Roman antiquity, which strongly influenced the arts and architecture of this period - Baroque = love of ornamentation, virtuosity, expressiveness extremeness - Classical = balance, clarity, naturalness - “Age of Enlightenment” – reasoning could bring humankind to a new age of splendor; science became important; critical thinking and reasoned discussion over influence of emotions; more mind based not emotions - More tuneful, less complicated, and more balanced than the Baroque era - More symmetrical String quartet – 2 violins, viola, cello - Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 76, no. 3 - Instruments present the theme in succession while the others weave an ever-changing commentary around that theme - Consists of an opening (antecedent – in periodic phase structure, an opening phrase, which sets up the consequent phrase to follow) and closing (consequent – in periodic phase structure, a closing phrase that follows an antecedent phrase and creates a sense of musical completion) phrase Music and revolution - Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro – captures the growing mood of discontent with the established order of society in the decades leading up to the French Revolution - Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness - US Declaration of Independence during this time – recognizes the inherent dignity of the individual - The American Revolution – US over England - The French Revolution – overthrew the most powerful monarchy Music and the new economy - Rapid advances in technology - Steam engine, cotton gin, manufacturing - Growth in urban populations – cities grew rapidly – opening of culture centers, theatres, concert halls open to the paying public - Composers had to write in ways that would appeal to this expanded audience even while maintaining the high standards of their craft The art of the natural - Nature as a model - The goal was not to show off one’s art/talent but to touch the heart of the listeners in a manner that was direct and seemingly spontaneous - Opera buffa – comic opera – portrayed real-life characters and situations as opposed to the mythological/historical ones of the Baroque era – like the marriage of Figaro Joseph Haydn String Quartet in C Major, op. 76, no. 3, second movement (1797) - The melody is always in one of the instruments and the 3 others move around it - The melody is from a song Haydn wrote a few months earlier for the birthday of Emperor Franz II in Vienna; “God save Franz, the Emperor” became Austria’s unofficial national anthem - Because the melody was so closely associated with the emperor he couldn’t change the melody itself (since the ideal emperor does not change) so he repeated the theme more or less unchanged four times in succession, varying only the instrument that played it and writing contrasting musical lines to surround the theme each time - Not the first to write string quartets, but he did more than any other composer and established this genre’s significance because of the timbral constraints (all 4 string instruments have similar timbres, making it even harder to compose) - Intimate genre Four contrasting movements of the typical string quartet 1) Fast tempo, sonata form 2) Slow tempo, contrasting key, sonata form, theme, variations, ABA 3) Minuet, triple meter dance in the tonic key 4) Finale, lighter, very fast, sonata form and rondo Timbre of the string quartet HIGHEST Soprano – Violin 1 Alto – Violin 2 LOWEST Tenor – Viola Bass – Cello - Because of the two extremes of high and low it is particularly easy to compare the differences between the sounds of the individual instruments in this movement because Haydn gives the main theme to each at some point Changing textures Violin 1 carries theme – hymm-like, homophonic Violin 2 carries theme – variation 1, two-part homophony with violin 1 Cello carries theme – variation 2, 3 other voices around it Viola carries theme – variation 3, 2 other voices initially (cello starts silent), then when cello enters violin 1 drops out, at the end all 4 play together Variation 4 – 4-part polyphony Melody Periodic phrase structure – a musical structure in which antecedent and consequent phrase units make up a larger whole AABCC Musical appropriation – the use or adaptation of a work to serve something other than its original purpose Contrafactum – a work setting new words to an established melody Ex – Haydn’s “yay Franz” thing got re-worked by lots of people, most famously, “Germany Above All Else” or “Dutschland uber alles” which is now part of the German national anthem Theme and variations form – a form in which a theme is presented and then altered in some way – through harmony, melody, texture, dynamics, or some combination of these – in a succession of individual variations Joseph Haydn Symphony no. 102 in Bb Major, third and fourth movements - Frequent changes in dynamics between very loud and very soft - Full orchestra - The return of the opening idea is in each movement - Listeners hear music against the backdrop of their times - London in 1975 was revolution and aftermath - Liberty, Equality (personal freedom and democracy), Fraternity (the need for social order) - Haydn composed this in England - This piece was the mirror of the ideal society - Hear music give voice to their personal and collective aspirations “12 London symphonies” of Haydn while in England Four movements of the symphonies 1) Sonata form, fast tempo, substantial movement 2) Substantial movement, slow tempo, contrasting key – sonata form, theme, variations, ABA 3) Minuet, triple meter dance in the tonic key, always ABA with A and B consisting of a binary form 4) Lighter, very fast, sonata form and rondo Timbre of full orchestra - Strings (8-10 first violins, 6-8 second violins, 4-6 violas, 3-4 cellos, 2 double basses) - Winds (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 horns) - Percussion (timpani, also known as “kettledrums”) Dynamics of surprise - The entire middle section of the 3 movement is played softly, helps set it off against the two loud outer sections - When we hear a soft passage for a long stretch, we begin to anticipate the music getting loud again – Haydn follows this but not in expected ways, he drags on the soft/loud more than anticipated Third Movement – Minuet 1-2-3, 1-2-3 Minuet form – a ternary form (ABA) in which the opening section, known as the minuet proper (A) is followed by a contrasting trio (B), which is followed by a repeat of the minuet proper; the minuet is always in triple meter and its individual units – the minuet proper and the trio – are each in binary form Ternary form - a form consisting of 3 parts labelled ABA Binary form – a musical structure consisting of two repeated halves (AABB) Rounded binary form – the opening idea returns in the tonic key about halfway through the second section “rounding out” the form A – the minuet proper - Binary form, 2 sections, each repeated - About halfway through the 2 section, the opening idea returns to the tonic key – rounded binary form - aababa = rounded binary (if it was normal binary it would be aabb) B – the trio - Binary form - Contrasting theme and mood to minuet proper - Da capo – Italian for “from the head”; a direction to go back and play from the very beginning of the piece o The minuet proper is to be played again - ccdd A – the return of the minuet proper - The movement as a whole ends with the end of the minuet proper (a) - Omit the repetition the 2 time around - aba Fourth movement – Finale Finale – the last movement of a multi-movement work - Lighter in tone than the other movements, a “happy ending” - Rondo form because that is jaunty and bright Rondo form – a form in which an opening theme (A) returns repeatedly over the course of the movement, interspersed with con
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