Chapter 14 Study Guide

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Music and Culture
Ken Mc Leod

Chapter 14 The Early Classic Period: Opera and Vocal Music Prelude -music in early Classical period reflected international culture -shared humanity mattered more than national and linguistic differences -educated people wanted music to communicate expression without artifice, in a manner free of any complication that would hinder musics enjoyment and appeal -freer, more tuneful, homophonic writing (gallant styles) became fashionable General Characteristics of the New Style -periodicity is frequent resting points that break the melodic flow into segments that relate to each other as parts of a large whole -musical ideas were articulated through distinct phrases, typically two or four measures in length (but also three, five, or six measures) -period is a complete musical thought concluded by a cadence -a composition was made up of two or more periods in succession -this technique creates a structure marked by frequent cadences and unified through motivic correspondences -the idea of phrases and periods was borrowed from rhetoric, the art of oration -the organization makes a melody intelligible and capable of moving feelings -harmony served to articulate phrases instead of to drive music forward in continuous stream -it changes less frequently than that in Baroque style -to compensate for the slower harmonic rhythm, pulsing chords and rhythm are used -Alberti bass is used, arpeggiated notes of chords into a simple repeating pattern of short notes that produced choral background, setting off the melody to advantage -emotions were not steady states, but were constantly changing and sometimes contradictory responses to ones experience and thoughts -contrasting moods are introduced in various parts of a movement and within themes Opera buffa -many stylistic traits of Classic period had origins in Italian musical theatre -as tradition weighed less heavily on comic opera than on opera seria, opera buffa was open to innovations -emotions that were stereotyped in opera seria could be portrayed in more natural ways in comic opera -Italian opera had six or more singing characters and was sung throughout served a moral purpose by caricaturing foibles of both aristocrats and commoners -comic characters often sang in dialect -comic cast was complemented by serious characters around whom the main plot revolved -serious characters interact with comic characters, especially in amorous intrigues -dialogue was set in rapidly delivered recitative, accompanied by keyboard only
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