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Classical Genres

CC BY, Elliot Jones Santa Ana College

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Classical Genres

  1. 1. Classical Genres
  2. 2. Vienna: Musical Capital  Dominance of the Viennese School  Franz Joseph Haydn  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Ludwig van Beethoven  Other notable composers  Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach  Johann Christian Bach  Muzio Clementi
  3. 3. Symphony  Grows out of the Italian overture (sinfonia)  3 sections: fast, slow, fast  Sections evolve into separate movements  Mannheim (Germany) a center of early symphonic innovation
  4. 4. Mannheim Innovations  Inserting an additional movement  Minuet and trio inserted as third movement  These are dances in triple time  Crescendo  Gradually building volume from soft to loud  Rocket theme  Rhythmic theme rising rapidly from low to high register
  5. 5. Classical Orchestra  Becomes the ensemble we know today  Four instrumental families  Strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion  Strings are the dominant family  Still smaller than today’s orchestras  Classical orchestra: 30 – 40 players  Modern orchestra: 90 – 100 players
  6. 6. Listening Example  Title: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, I  Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Genre: Symphony
  7. 7. Notes on Symphony No. 40, I  Three themes in exposition  Theme 1 minor and urgent  Transition theme interrupts repeat of 1  Theme 2 major and lyrical  Development focuses on theme 1  Extensive modulation and fugal treatment  Recap features unusual development  Transition theme extended  Theme 2 now in original key (minor)
  8. 8. Chamber Music  Music on a smaller scale  Performance in more intimate setting – smaller room  Music for small ensemble, 2-8 players  One player to a part  String quartet becomes most popular  Longer genres of chamber music  Divertimento  Serenade (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
  9. 9. String Quartet  Created by Haydn from trio sonata  As name suggests, just four players  Two violins, one viola, one cello  Equal participation by each instrument  No conductor  A genre as well as an ensemble  Same multi-movement cycle as symphony
  10. 10. Listening Example  Title: Emperor Quartet, II  Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn  Genre: String Quartet
  11. 11. Notes on Emperor Quartet, II  Theme and variations form  Listen for repeated melody w/changes  Listen for 2nd movement characteristics  Slow tempo  Lyrical melody  Note the sound of the small ensemble  Violins (2), viola, and cello only
  12. 12. Serenade  Chamber music on slightly larger scale  Follows multimovement cycle  Same movement structure as symphony  Movements shorter – chamber music  Lighter in character  Strings alone or small orchestra  Eine Kleine Nachtmusik most famous
  13. 13. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik  English: “A little night music”  Serenade (1787)  Likely intended as background music for an aristocratic social event or party  1st movement has one of the most recognized melodies of all classical music  Homophonic texture overall
  14. 14. Listening Example  Title: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, I  Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Genre: Serenade
  15. 15. Notes on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, I  Fast tempo (Allegro)  Sonata-allegro form (3 themes)  First theme very famous (rocket theme)  Contrast between themes:  1st theme (marchlike)  2nd theme (lyrical)  Duple meter
  16. 16. Notes on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, III  Minuet & Trio form (ABA)  Each dance features a theme  Minuet is strongly rhythmic  Trio is lyrical and expressive  Moderate tempo (Allegretto)  Triple meter
  17. 17. Sonata  Another important chamber music genre  Three movements (no dance names)  Fast-slow-fast pattern  Very popular genre among amateur pianists  The most published genre of the era  Sonata’s rise tied to the rise of the piano
  18. 18. Sonata  Usually composed for private performance  Unless specified, sonata refers to solo piano music  Two additional types of sonata  Piano & Violin  Piano & Cello  Beethoven’s piano sonatas most significant
  19. 19. Concerto  Baroque concerto had various forms:  Small group vs. full orchestra  Soloist vs. full orchestra  Classical concerto had one form:  Soloist vs. full orchestra  Piano and violin most common solo inst.
  20. 20. Structure of Classical Concerto  Three separate movements (same as Baroque)  Fast-slow-fast pattern  Double exposition in 1st movement  Orchestra presents themes in 1st expo.  Piano plays themes in 2nd expo.  Often a new theme is presented in 2nd expo.  Cadenza featured in 1st movement recap
  21. 21. Cadenza  Passage of solo virtuoso performance  Improvisatory flavor  Orchestra falls completely silent  Rhythmic and melodic freedom  Soloist cues conductor/orchestra with trill
  22. 22. Listening Example  Title: Piano Concerto in A Major, I  Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  Genre: Concerto
  23. 23. Notes on Concerto in A  Double exposition: orchestra then piano  4 themes total  Orchestra presents 3 themes in 1st expo.  Piano presents the same themes in 2nd expo.  Strings play a new theme at end of 2nd expo.  Cadenza in the recapitulation  Piano plays the new theme in recap

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