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10 Jan 2011
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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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Document Summary

Chapter 14 the early classic period: opera and vocal music. 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. 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.

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