How to Understanding Music

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN

3 1822 02399 4395

-IJNDERSTAND MUSIC

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Wlieu played softly the melody is not distinctly perceived, l)ut seems to be looking out at us throng-h a veil. If the uj)p(M- notes of the right hand part are played alone (as indicated by the accent marks,) it is at once perceived that we have here the melody in its orio-inaj Here also the melody and harmony are unchanged, and here form. consequeiitly, we have no essentially new meaning. again, Consider now the following air from Beethoven's Sonata in Aflat,Observe now the first variation. (Plays.) Here air.) more decided departure from the original. The hai-mony remains the same; enough of tlie melody remains unchanged toenal)h>op. 26.

(Playsa

we have

the listener to referseveral respects a

it

to the air just heard as its source.air.

Still it is in

new

The second vaiiation makes a still wider departure. (Plays.) Here you observe that the melody is cut up into repeating notes, and In the third variation the key is changed to the ])laced in the bass. minor of the same name, and the original harmonic figure is carried outin syncopation, producfng a distortive effect, not unlike that of viewing your face in a bad mirror. In the fourth variation we have the air transformed into a scAgrso, a playful movement, as different as possible from The fifth variation, again, l:rings back the repose of the original air.

the original

air, but much ornamented. In both these sets of variations is to be observed the same law of progression, namely, from the siuq^le towards greater variety and diThe cocTa at the end of the last set was for the purpose of versification.

conducting the movement back again to a natural repose. These variations in the last set (A flat, op. 2(5) are of a dilferent kind from those first examined. In these not only is the form of the original of such a air diversified, and in that way varied, but the variations are nature that they have the eff"ect of imparting or bringing out a new meaning- in each variation. Beethoven was the great composer of thisform of variation. Let us examine another set of variations by Beethoven, his Eight

20

HOW

TO UNDERSTAND MUSIC.

Une Fiebre brulante," by Gretry, found in the volume of "Beethoven's Variations." Each one of these is to be compared with the theme until its construction is obvious, and its relation Another example of formal variato the theme plainly understood. tions is to be found in the Andante and variations of Beethoven's Sonata Appassionata, o]^. 57. (Billow's edition.) See also Mozart's variations in A, in one of his sonatas (No. 12, Peters' edition).Variations on the theme "

an amplification of it, or nnfolding, by means of auxiliary notes, rhythmic devices, changes of movement, etc., yet in such a way as to leave resemblance enouoli between the theme and variation to12.is

A

variation of an air

indicate their relation.In order to do this and yet allow the varying to be carried to thefull

extent of the composer's genius,

it is

usual to arrange the series oftlie

variations progressively according to their elaboration,

simplest

first.

two kinds, Foj^mal and Character. In the former the air or theme is elaborated without changing its original meaning or expression. Of this khid13. Variations are of

are the Beethoven variations in

C and

J)b (Nos. 1

and

5,

below).

Character variations change the original character

or expression of the melody, as was seen in the Beethovenvariations in K.b.List of Illustuatioxs.1.

2.

3. 4.

5.

Audante from Beethoven's Sonata in G, op. 14, No. 2. Air and Variations in Kb. from SoBata, op. 26. Variations on Grctry's " Une Fiebre brulante," Beethoven. Air and Variations in A, No. 12 of Peters' ed. of Mozart's Sonatas. Andante and Variations from Beethoven's Sonata Appassionata.

RHYTHMIC PULSATION AND MEASURE.

21

LESSON SEVENTH.RPIYTPIMIC PULSATION

AND MEASUREflow."

14. Kliytlnn

means "measured

measured by a pulsation which goes entirely through the same rate of speed, like the human pulse. This tundamental rhythmic pulsation is commonly expressed by the accompaniment. Observe now the accompaniment of this little waltz. (Plays left-hand part of the first Schubert waltz.) Beat with your hands on the table before you, the same pulsation while I play. Mark the pulsation in the example I now play. (Plays No. 2, inMusicis

movement

at the

the

list.)

In the same manner mark the pulsation in the example,(Plays a polka. No.3,

I

now play.

or any other convenient one; but not too fast.

Be

sure that

it sounds here like four beats in the measure.) These pulsations are grouped by means of accents into groups

called measures.

There may be two, three, four, six, nine or twelve pulsations in a Observe now the following, mark the pulsations and the accents, and tell me how many pulsations there are in a measure. (Plays No. 1, again. Be sure that every measure has a decided accent.) Observe the following: (Plays No. 4.) How many pulsations are there in a measure in this example? (Plays No. 5.) Mark the pulsation in No. G. (Plays.) Observe now the measures in the same. (Plays again.) How many pulsations were there in a measure? (If not correctly answered, repeat the example and accent a little more.) Observe the pulsation in this example. (Plays No. 7.) This admits of being understood in two ways: If played slowly it sounds If played more rapidly and like six pulsations in a measure. (Plays.) accented a little differently, it sounds like two triplets in the measure, and you naturally beat it as if there were two pulsations in a measure.measure.(Plays.)

Observe the pulsation

in this

example.

(Plays No.

8.)

22

HOW(Plays again.)

TO UNDERSTAND MUSIC.tell

Observe now the measures andmeasure.

me how many(Plays No.9).

pulsations in a

Mark

the pulsation in this example.pulsations in a measure?

How manyNo.10.)

(Plays againthis

if

necessary.).

Observe the pulsation and the measures in

example.

(Plays

Observe further that the same pulsation runs through an entire movement. (Plays No. 11, the class marking the pulsation by a motion of the hand for each pulse, paying no attention to the measures.) Note There are two opiuious in regard to the ultimate nature of measure,:

group of pulses." The measure in music is " portion of time " accents. Measure is the precise analogue of foot in poetry. Poetic quantity is also related to time. We ourselves, and every thing that we know by our senses or think of under sense-forms of thought, are related to time or space. Music is related to time, and so is meter. The time of music is in the rhythmic pulsation, measure, and rate of movement. And so 7neasure in its ultimate nature is certainly time; but time is not measure until it becomes recognized as such through the rhythmic pulsation and accent: and therefore it is sufficiently correct for musical purposes to think of measure asone lioUlingit

to be " a portion of time," the other " a

would seem to be manifested by means of pulses andtrue conclusion

that

pulse-grouping, as

is

here done.

List of Illustrations.1.

2. 3.

4.

24, No. 4. Karl Merz's " Lconore Polka." The Waltz from Weber's " Der Freyschiitz."

The First of the Schubert Waltzes. Schumann's Nachtsti'icke in F, op.e.g.

A Polka,

(Any other quick waltz

will

do

as well.)5.6. 7. 8. 9.

Schubert's Menuetto in

B

minor.C, op. 24,

Two

strains

from the Schumann Nachtsti'icke in

No.

1.

"The

Carnival of Venice."

10.

11.

Chopin Polonaise in A. Sixteen measures of the Adagio in Sonata Patlietique. Thirty-two measures of Rondo in same sonata. Allegro from Sonata in F, op. 2, No. 1, Beethoven.

MEASURES AND RHYTHMIC MOTION.

23

LESSOIST

EIGHTH.

MEASURES AND RHYTHMIC MOTION.Beginrefreshth"e

this lesson

by recapitulating enough of the previous one to memories of the class concerning measures. Use, if con-

venient, other examples, only be sure to select at least two, each, in

double, triple and

common

time.

15.

A

rliytlmiic pulsation

may

be called a rhythmic

motioji, and,is

called a

when Rhythm.

satisfactorily

completed by an accent,

(Plays here a scale in

common

time, like that in " table x\," in

Mason's Pianoforte Technics.) The rhytiunic motion may be twice as fast as the pulsation. Thus, e.g.^ the Adagio in Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique is written in 2-4

The eflfect is as if vou were measure and each pulse had two notes. (Plavs.) Counting four in a measure, the motion here is a half-pulse motion. Example nine of the previous chapter had the same kind of motion. Observe the