listening log #3: Copland’s “El Salon Mexico” (blog post 7)

Music:

  • combination of monophony, heterophony, polyphony
  • displacement of rhythms
  • implementation of traditional folk songs (El Palo Verde, La Jesusita, El Mosco)
  • use of hemiolas, changing meter
  • instrumentation: strings, winds, percussion, brass, piano
  • embellishment, ornamentation, eg: clarinet solos

Structure:

  • Introduction: unusually long, introduction of folk songs-individually, changing tempos
  • Development: exploration of themes, folk songs, rhythmic & melodic changes, fragmentation, sequences, ostinatos
  • Coda: increased intensity from heavy use of brass, loud dynamics (eg: fortississimo), closely related to introduction, opening figure in high voices

Context:

  • Aaron Copland was American composer, typified American music
  • also wrote “Billy the Kid”, “Appalachian Spring”, “Fanfare for the Common Man”
  • written after visiting Mexico in 1932 for first all-Copland orchestral concert, invited by Carlo Chavez
  • impressed by Mexico and inspired to compose by culture and peoples
  • based on nightclub “El Salon Mexico” that he visited, wanted to show culture beyond tourist view, “one felt a really live contact with the Mexican people”
  • premiered in 1937 in Mexico City

listening log #2: Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte”

Note: timings are based on the following recording:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ST3AiFtJC4

Instrumental

  • solo piano
  • major
  • tempo is andante
  • sustained melody with inner harmonies
  • staccato off beat harmonies
  • heavy use of chords
  • 3:08 polyrhythm motif introduced
  • melody in mid-higher register of piano

Structural

  • A (0:00-0:58): begins with single note, single note melody, staccato harmonies between high melody&low contrasting harmony
  • 0:49 cadence
  • B (0:59-2:05)- contrasting mood, broader use of register, octave pedal, repeated chords in higher register, melody above all other parts, heterophonic (?)
  • 1:19 bridge motif (similar to @0:51), strong chords, syncopated rhythm, resolving chord progression ||cadence
  • return to B
  • 1:48 bridge motif developed
  • C (2:06-3:03)-rolled chords, melody begins in upper register, moves towards middle (@2:28), melody in octaves (@2:42)
  • 2:52 development of bridge motif, more intricate rhythm
  • D (3:04)- begins with single note, develops upward and out from single note
  • 3:42 repeats D slightly different, rolled chords
  • 4:27 repetition of  C, developed, arpeggiation of chords within essentially unchanged melody
  • 5:21 development of cadence @2:52

Contextual

  • Ravel was a contemporary of Debussy, admired Wagner
  • early 20th century composer
  • better known for “Bolero”
  • published in 1902
  • pavane=type of dance
  • title means “pavane for a dead princess”
  • mournful

listening log #1: Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”

Note: timings are based on the following recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0WMYCtOqeU

Instrumental:

  • instrumentation is for a solo piano
  • minor tonality, but moves through major chords: contrast in tonality, constant change
  • melody in upper register, moves to lower register near end (5:00): contrasting timbres,
  • foundation of octaves in bass: quasi counter melody
  • arpeggiated chords in middle register: constant movement
  • duple meter throughout
  • simple, 8th note rhythm: constancy, movement

Structural:

  • overall A-B-A’
  • arpeggios across middle register of piano (0:00)
  • melody established in higher register (0:23-1:14): repeated notes characterize melody, faster rhythm
  • second melody established (1:14-2:26): half steps up move from dissonance to consonance, retardation; call and response between higher and lower melodies; slower, held notes
  • (2:27-3:07): movement of melody across keyboard as arpeggio, progressively higher, moves down (2:55), approaches lower melody
  • (3:07-3:27): development of second melody
  • (3:27-4:14): return to initial melody, unchanged at the beginning
  • (4:14-5:00): recapitulation of second melody
  • (5:00-5:35): melody moves to bass, increased intensity, but still quiet
  • (5:35-6:06): cadence to end

Contextual:

  • 1st movement of a 4 movement sonata
  • establishes melody for the rest of the sonata
  • written by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • late-Classical composer
  • from Belgium
  • recognized as a great composer in his time
  • contrast in styles, timbre, tone, etc within single piece