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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Study Guide


Department
Music and Culture
Course Code
VPMC88H3
Professor
Ken Mc Leod
Chapter
14

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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 music’s 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 one’s 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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