Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht

Schönberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” is a piece of music scored for string sextet i.e., Two violins, two violas, and two cellos. The most exciting aspect of this music is the harmony used and the way it has been resolved. The music piece begins in a minor tonality and transitions to the major tonality in the course of music. The chords used are dissonant and are not resolved as we have been taught in class. For example, Violin and Viola I move in thirds, whereas Violin II and Cello I also move in thirds While Viola II and Cello II are playing a drone in unison. This combination brings forth the feeling of dissonance, which is unresolved.

Question Two

I find Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” to be more appealing to me than Stravinsky’s “Dance of the Sacrificial Virgin.” In “Dance of the Sacrificial Virgin”, the meter is unsteady. It keeps varying from Quadruple meter in the first measure to Triple meter. There is Duple meter used, whereas, in “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” the meter is steady i.e., duple meter. The rhythm used in “Dance of the Sacrificial Virgin” is simple while the rhythm used in “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is complex and has made use of triplets, duplets, and even quintuplets have been used.

Question Three

In Ravel’s “Jeux d’eau”the piano has been used to imitate the character of water in several ways. One is by the use of glissando to imitate the water flowing. The piano also plays an octave higher; this I interpret means that the water is calm and flowing steadily. Later on, the piece of music increases the intensity, relies on staccattos in the left hand. This is to imitate the water is now flowing in full force

Question Four

I consider Russolo’s “Serenata” not to be music. Music as an art is concerned with the beauty of sound that is pleasing to the ear. In my view, some sections of his piece of music are made up of sounds that cannot be notated in terms of melody and rhythm. It also makes use of strange instruments whose timber ‘makes noise.’

Question Five

I am more of an Impressionist. This is because I believe that music or art should be used as a means of communication of our emotions, feelings, and mood aroused either by external factors or internal imagery. I consider music to be a language in which composers can communicate and express their emotions and feelings towards a particular aspect of life. For example, in the piece “Jeux d’eau” by Maurice Ravel, the composer has expressed his imaginations of how the River god is laughing as the water tickles him.

Question Six

I would rank them as Neo-Classicism first, then Aleatoric, then Neo-Romanticism, then Minimalist music, Atonal music, and lastly, Dodecaphonic music.  My preferred style is the Neo-Classicism because the compositional practices of the Classical Period were more structured and had the clarity of sections as compared to the other period of music. My least preferred style that is difficult to listen to and follow is dodecaphonic music. This is because the melody is not clear since it is based on the focal pitches and has to rotate around that as it undergoes several transformations. The use of dissonance is unresolved, and there is no tonality or harmony; it is just unpalatable.

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