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GCSE revision book

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Area of Study 1

The History of Western Classical Music 1600-1899

Content coverage Introduction to the musical eras: Baroque, Classical and Romantic (AoS 1) Brief overview of the musical developments 1600-1899 including historical context. References will be made to elements of the notation to reinforce previous learning. Unit 1: Choose a solo performance piece to be recorded in the next 6-10 weeks. Units 1,2 and 3: Staff notation

Learning outcomes

To develop an understanding of the chronological development of western classical music from 1600-1899 (Area of Study 1). To understand the historical context of the music.


Area of Study 1 Set Work 1

Handel: And the Glory of the Lordfrom

MessiahCourse Content Learning Outcomes Listen to the set work, placing it in context. Relevant musical vocabulary including: oratorio, libretto, recitative, aria, chorus, perfect cadence, plagal cadence, pedal point, imitation, monophonic, homophonic, modulation, tonic and dominant. Unit 1 Record solo performance. To understand the context of the set work as part of one of the most well known and loved of all oratorios. To understand the position and role of the set work in the overall oratorio. To develop an understanding of the use of Baroque conventions within the set work. To recognise and be able to use relevant musical vocabulary. To recognise the forces used in the recording including SATB choir.


Handel 1685-1759

Born in Germany Played the Violin, Harpsichord and Organ Employed as court conductor for the Prince-Elector of Hanover in Germany Ambitious, devoted and very successful musician Travelled to Italy and England Settled in England and continued to write music for the Prince-Elector who was now King George I of Great Britain! Homework: Visit the website List 4 other musical facts about Handel including the title of two other works composed by him:

1. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ 4. ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________Listen to La Rejouissance from Music for the Royal Firework Suite. Describe: The two instrumental families you can hear

__________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Tonality

__________________________________________________________ Time signature


BAROQUE MUSICKey Features 1 2 3 4 5 6 Simple, mainly diatonic harmonies Terraced dynamics clear contrasts between loud and soft, rather than gradual changes Ornamentation Complex contrapuntal writing in some pieces Orchestras made up of largely string instruments Use of continuo a group of instruments that provides a bass line and harmonic accompaniment usually a keyboard instrument (harpsichord or organ), with one or more bass instruments (cello, bassoon or double bass). Important composers: Bach, Handel, Purcell and Vivaldi

Wurzburg Chapel

What is an Oratorio?An Oratorio is a large-scale composition for solo singers, choir and orchestra. It is always based on a biblical story but intended for performance in concert halls and theatres rather than in churches. They were similar in musical style to Operas but without costumes, scenery or acting.

MessiahHandel composed more than 20 oratorios, of which Messiah (1741) is his most famous. It took him just over three weeks to compose! The first performance was given in Dublin in 1742. This first performance was given by a small choir of no more than 16 singers and an orchestra of probably less than 10 though now it is performed with much larger forces. The orchestra would have been supported by a Baroque organ, harpsichord and a cello, this grouping of instruments is known as the continuo.4


The harpsichord action

Listening Compare and contrast two versions of Bachs prelude in C major._______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________

Within an Oratorio you will find arias, recitatives and choruses. Aria a solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment which reflects a mood or emotion. The music is more elaborate to display the vocal qualities and expertise of the singer to the full. Recitative a style used in operas, oratorios and cantatas in which the text is told in the rhythm of natural speech, these are used to narrate the story. Chorus a movement within the Oratorio in which the whole choir sings and sums up the action at that point in the drama. Listen to this example of one of Handels most famous choruses, Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus Note that the words are in English and not Italian which tended to be the norm during the Baroque period.

And the Glory of the Lord (1741)Handels Messiah is in three parts and tells the story of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Part 1 the birth Part 2 - the death Part 3 - resurrection And the Glory of the Lord is in part 1 and is the first chorus in Messiah. It consists of four different motifs. Listen to the motifs and answer the following questions:5

Motif A

1. In pairs learn to play this motif. 2. What type of voices first sing this? ___________________________________________ 3. Describe the rhythm in bar 2. _______________________________________________ 4. The word setting in this motif is_____________________________________________

Motif B This is first sung by the tenors in bar 17.

5. What melodic device is used on the words revealed? _______________________________________________________________________ 6. Describe the word setting in this motif. _______________________________________ Motif C

7. What type of voice first sings this motif? ______________________________ 8. What compositional device has been used in this motif? _______________________________________________________________________


Motif D

9. Describe how motif D differs from the other 3. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

These four motifs are heard in different parts and in combined in different ways throughout the movement. In section B of the listening exam you will be asked to write in detail about one of the set works. You are likely to have to put your work in context, for instance by giving its date and style, or by stating where you might expect to hear it performed. Most of the marks, however, are likely to be awarded for writing about how the elements of music, such as rhythm, melody and harmony, are used in the set work. We have already focused on the melody in this set work and will now therefore look at the other elements of music and how they are used in And the Glory of the Lord.

PERFORMING FORCES The choir is made up of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses (SATB). They are accompanied by a string orchestra and continuo (cello, and harpsichord or organ). Notice that the orchestra often doubles the vocal lines.

STRUCTURE Fill in the missing words: The work starts with an ________________ introduction, called a ritornello. Shortened versions of this ritornello return later in the work. Indicate on the score where the instrumental ritornellos occur. There is no formal structure to this movement; its based on different combinations of the ____________ motifs. As the motifs repeat and imitate between the voices they are sequenced into different pitches e.g. bars 18-23.


RHYTHM, METRE AND TEMPO The time signature is ________ throughout which means simple triple time. The tempo is allegro which means _________________. In which bar does the tempo change? ___________________________. What happens on the three beats prior to the change? _____________________________________________ By changing the tempo and adding in the general pause this helps to emphasise the final words hath spoken it. The first three motifs use mostly crotchets and quavers whereas the fourth motif is characterised by long (dotted minim) repeated notes. These notes serve to emphasise the Lord hath spoken it. To strengthen the statement further he doubles the part with the tenors and ______________. Handel creates syncopation by using what is known as a hemiola. This is a rhythmic device, often used towards a cadence point, where the music feels as if it has 2 rather than 3 beats per bar. Give an example of where this first occurs:_______________________________.

TONALITY AND HARMONY This piece is in the key of ________________. It modulates (changes key) to two related keys: the dominant (E major) and the supertonic (B major). The piece ends with a ______________cadence. The harmony is diatonic. What does this mean? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

TEXTURE Handel creates contrast within this piece by contrasting both homophonic and contrapuntal/polyphonic textures. Describe what is meant by homopho