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Structure and Form

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago
Classical Period Structure
·        Dramatic musical performance
·        Vocal melodies with orchestral accompaniment
·        An instrumental  opening to an opera
·        A French overture is a piece in tertiary form with a slow A section and a quicker B section
·        An Italian overture has three movements
·        Have no musical connection to the opera or oratorio played after
-     Comic scenes between acts
-     Eventually developed into full scale Opera Buffa
·        Giovanni Battista Pergolesi known for intermezzo
The Aria
·        Vocal solo with instrumental accompaniment
·        Dramatic Soliloquy
·        Da capo aria –  the common ABA form; permitted uniqueness with detail
·        The text of the opera
·        Lyrics sung by opera performers
Opera Buffa
·        Opera Buffa – comic/jesting drama and music; a full length work with 6+ singers
·        Often accompanied by continuo, or keyboard alone
·        Arias in galant style with repeated short phrases
·        Made to entertain and portray the conflicts of common people
Later Comic Opera
·        Serious plots began to appear as well
·        Finales contained all characters with a climax in which all participated; composers had to follow changing action and maintain musical coherence
·        Periodic phrasing, tuneful melodies, simple harmonies, simplea accompaniment, direct expression, emotional fluidity, etc all characterize Italian comic opera
Opera Seria
·        serious opera – dramatic; conflicts of human passions; tragic endings were rare
·        three acts consist of alternating recitatives (developing action, sometimes with accompaniment) and arias (dramatic soliloquy)
·        high voices used
·        made to entertain and portray the conflicts of royalty and nobility
·        known as court opera and it was made to please members of the court

Opera in Other Languages

·        Different forms in different countries; middle and lower class
·        Written in national tongue with national musical idioms
·        Reflected the demand for simple, clear, natural singing and encouraged the growth of separate traditions of opera
·      Opera comique – French opera with popular tunes and spoken dialogue, but eventually became more like Italian opera
·       Ballad opera – English opera with spoken dialogue and borrowed tunes (folk), but like opera comique began to compose original music (ex. The Beggars Opera by John Gay)
·        Singspiel – singing play aka German opera with spoken dialogue, musical numbers and comic plot

·   Theme

o     An existing musical melody, bass line, or harmony

·   Variations  (CHECK THIS)

o     16th century invention

o     Was not dance music

o     Takes a theme and varies it numerous times

·   Sonata-Allegro (CHECK THIS)

o     Can be written for any instrument

o     Usually for piano or orchestra accompaniment

·   Sonatina

o     A short sonata

·   Sonata

o     Also called “first movement” form according to Grout

o     AABA

o     Slow introduction before the exposition is not uncommon

o     “AA”- Exposition

o     “B”-Development which modulates through keys

o     “A”- Recapitulation: motives and themes are restated but in a different key

o     There may be a coda that restates the one or more themes

·   Concerto (CHECK THIS)

o     Two contrasting instruments together in a piece

o     Three different types of concerti

§       Orchestral Concerto-Emphasized the first violin and bass

§       Concerto Grosso (Born in the Baroque)- put the small ensemble against the large ensemble

§       Solo Concerto- contrasted a single instrument with a large ensemble 

·  Symphony(CHECK THIS)

o     A work in three or four movements

§       First movement-a sonata

§       Second Movement- usually slow and had any form

§       Third Movement- faster and commonly a minuet and trio but not always

§       Fourth Movement- still faster and usually in rondo form

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o     Primarily homophonic

o     No division between orchestra and soloist

·   String Trio

o     1 violin, 1 viola, 1 cello

·   String Quartet    

o     2 violins, a viola, and a cello

o     The first violin carries most of the melody

o     The cello is the bass part

o     The other two fill out the texture of the piece

o     Composers wrote quartets in which musicians exchanged short motives

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·   Divertimento

o     Written to be background music

o     Multi-movement piece for an Orchestra or other winds and strings

·   Oratorio

o     Similar to an opera but sacred

o     Were not staged, or did not move around

o     No costumes

o     Usually a narrator is present

o     Chorus could take various roles

·   Mass

o     A sacred structure used for ages and still prevalent in the classical era

·   Strophic Form

o     Repeats verse and chorus with same notes, different text

· Etudes

o     A work made for amateurs to help them improve


 By  Sachin Sharma, Liz Swarthout, Katherine Liu, Hanna Astephen


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