Final Exam Notes



  1. crescendos that seem to carry the music forward
  2. themes that sound exactly right but are played very quietly or very loud
  3. dramatic use of classic structures
  4. sudden key changes that fit powerful harmonic logic

symphony #5


Romantic Period






romantic differences from classical:

  romantic romantic
orchestra 25-30 players 60 or more
dynamic range piano to forte triple piano to triple forte
tempo slow or fast greater extremes of tempo, also more changeable
expression rarely indicated often indicated
melody short, balanced longer, more variety
harmony functional, serves to support the melody and the form emotional: serves to express the deepest feelings in music
form fixed flexible

program music: tells some kind of story absolute music: no meaning outside the meaning of the music itself


romantic era:


virtuosi: talented person in arts

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2

MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

TCHAIKOVSKY: Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture:

An increased interest in program music.

An increased interest in national musics (folk song, dance, etc.). Not a contradiction - composers focussed on individual heritage, not a pan-European style (i.e., Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, etc., wrote in essentially the same idiom). Exs. Tchaikovsky: PLAY 1812

Also an increased interest in exoticism: is a genre in which the rhythms, melodies, or instrumentation are designed to evoke the atmosphere of far-off lands or ancient times

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship

DVORaK- New World


In Romantic era:

opera (more “real” people and plots, comic “opera buffa” – inversion, lower classes get the upper hand)

Beethoven only wrote one opera - Fidelio

Virtuosity: Opera becomes show business. Star system, individual singers: Caruso, Jenny Lind (the “Swedish Nightingale”), right up to the three tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo, the other guy Carreras), Stratas, Joan Sutherland, Te Kenewa.

“Divas and prima donnas” Vocal types: colouratura, mezzo soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass Stereotypical roles: heroine - soprano, hero - tenor, alto - friend or “wicked stepmother,” baritone, friend or villain, bass - villain “Giantism” - huge orchestras, casts of thousands - see “Aida”

“bel canto” style (Italian) = “beautiful singing” Bellini, “Norma,” Donizetti, “Lucia”

PUCCINI: La bohème from Che gelida manina:

PUCCINI: Turandot - Act III Scene 1: Nessun dorma:

Nationalism - Operas on national themes with national styles (Russian (“Boris”), Italian (Verdi, “Rigoletto”)

Exoticism - Verdi, “Aida,” Puccini, “Madame Butterfly,” “Girl of the Golden West,” Bizet’s “Carmen,”

Puccini, Madame Butterfly:

Above all, 19th C. opera is about melody.


Richard Wagner (1813-1883) (Yudkin 178-82)

Operas: Rienzi, Tannhauser, Flying Dutchman, Tristan and Isolde, Parsifal, Die Meistersinger, Lohengrin, “The Ring” - Das Rhinegold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung

born in Leipzig (Bach connection) virtually self-taught in music, therefore not afraid to try “wrong” approaches. pivotal figure (like Beethoven)–> bridge from Romanticism to most of the “isms” of the 20th C. –> “expressionism,” “modernism,” “impressionism,”. . . mostly known for operas and writings. . . no symphonies, little chamber music has a difficult place in music history.

Comparison with Jean-Luc Goddard W was a vicious anti-Semite Until quite recently, was not played in Israel. Hitler’s favourite composer (though a little unfair since W died long before the rise of National Socialism). Hitler’s favourite because of W’s subject matter. DISCUSS: can we love the art but despise the artist (ex.: Miles Davis)?

W provided Germany with a mythological past. Germany was created in the 19th C. . . united principalities of Bavaria, Prussia, Saxony and others. W took as his subject matter not German history but German/Northern European mythology. Deep well of myth and legend that runs from Scandinavian sagas and mythology through Beowulf and King Arthur. . . exactly the same well that Tolkien drew from in LOTR. W’s “Ring” (Rhinegold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdamerung) bears many similarities to LOTR - a magic ring of power is forged in secret, mighty warriors, a last battle, the supernatural, a “sword that was broken” that is reforged. . . Also to “Sleeping Beauty,” and other north European fairy tales.

W’s operas differ in many ways from the Italian grand opera tradition “music drama” - continuous - no set pieces, huge orchestra

Wagner Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin (Act III):

pg. 194-195

2) More are familiar with the following: PLAY (Act III – Vorspiel under “Elgar” as composer) “Ride of the Valkyries” from Die Walkure

wagner tristan:

Romantic (non-opera) Music Continued Strophic Through composed song cycles - groups of songs on a related theme

Franz Schubert (bio pp.), songs, 9 symphonies (including 8 - “Unfinished”), ch. music.

PLAY “Die Forelle” (text: Schubart) - (pp. 157-8)

“Interiority” Program music: Nationalism/Exoticism

Chopin Romantic characteristics: Dreamy, rubato. Titles like “Impromptu,” “Nocturne,” PLAY Chopin, Prelude in E Minor (pp.165)

Innigkeit – dictionary def. = “poignant intimacy of feeling” One of those useful German words for which there is no exact English equivalent. (Zeitgeist etc)

Romantic artist as tortured soul (continued) Schumann, Berlioz,Tchaikovsky

PLAY/discuss Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Dreaming (Traumerei) (pp. 167)

Madness and creativity – possible bipolar disorder? Suicide attempt (1854), institutionalized, dead at 46.

PLAY C. Schumann Andante from Piano Trio Op. 17

Absolute Music Brahms (1833-97), the 3rd “B” 4 symphonies, 4 concertos, a lot of piano music, much chamber music, some choral and vocal music. we all know at least one piece of Brahms - “Wiegenlied” “(Lullaby)” a “romantic” personal life (see pp. 185 for complete bio) studied w/ Schumann Schumann had a nervous collapse - B fell in love w/ Schumann’s wife, Clara (a fine composer and performer in her own right). B was torn by this situation. S died but B did not set up housekeeping w/ C. Though his personal life was “romantic” his music was controlled in a way that Tchaikovsky’s, for example, was not.

only 4 symphonies. Didn’t write a symphony until after 40. In the shadow of Beethoven (“clomping of giants”) PLAY Brahms, “Symph. #4, mvmt 4. (pp. 187)

Post-Romanticism Influence of Wagner

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) conductor/composer symphonies, Songs of the Earth PLAY Symphony #2: Urlicht (pp. 193)

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Tone Poems: Ein Heldenlieben, Death and Transfiguration, Also Sprach Zarathustra (PLAY ), Til Eulenspiegel, Don Quixote. . .

Operas: Electra, Salome, Der Rosenkavalier

extreme situations, chromatic harmony, precursor to expressionism

The XX Century

New Directions: the 20th Century Overview 65 years: from first powered flight to moon landing. Violent 1st half. . . 2 world wars ( 40 & 30 million dead respectively), Russian revolution Technology/science explosion More “isms” in 20th C than rest of music history combined.

Impressionism Two big names: Debussy and Ravel In visual art, impressionism was a (mostly French) reaction against “representation,” Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir characterized by “blurriness,” scenes of middle class and urban life (Monet: pg. 201)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918), piano music, orchestra music (but no symphonies). . . never liked the term “impressionism” Paris Exposition of 1889

technical questions (demonstrate)

2 important developments: freer harmony and freer rhythm. think of the “solid blocks” of functional harmony and form as equivalent to perspective in visual art. emancipation of the dissonance - demonstrate, 9th, 11th, 13th chords, whole tone scale

D - art should be “sensuous” - pleasure

Importance of dance: 3 “scandalous” pieces: Prelude the A of an F, Bolero, Rite of Spring

PLAY “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” (1894) discuss opening phrase - the beginning of a new music, chromatic, ambiguous rhythm, sensuous.

Primitivism, Stravinsky and the Birth of Modern Music Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Russian, student of Rimsky-Korsakov 3 ballets (note non-absolute music), “Firebird” (1910 ), “Petrushka” (1911), “The Rite of Spring” (1913)

PLAY “Firebird” ( (Kaschei), (conclusion))

PLAY “Petrushka” – Tableau I “The Shrovetide Fair”

Week 11

WWI was the end of one era and the beginning of another one. OLD world –> European imperial power. NEW world –> World politics. WWI also created the conditions that led to most of the “isms” of the 20th C. Technology radically altered the conditions of music “consumption” – radio, recording, etc.

Couldn’t make art in the same old way - all post 1900 music can be seen in this light. beginning of the “great split” between “art” or “classical” music and the general public. Art music became introspective, hermetic, inward looking. Babbitt - “Who Cares If You Listen?” article.

Tonality Rejected Review Tonality Wagner –> extreme chromaticism, “unsettled” music depicting extremes of emotion.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) “Second Viennese School” with students Berg and Webern trained in the conventional style of German tradition served in WWI though over 40. wrote nothing for 8 yrs (1915-23) left for the US in 1933 with rise to power of Hitler. amateur painter was pushing the boundaries of tonality even prior to WWI.

PLAY “Madonna” from Pierrot Lunaire (1912) pg.208 atonal (define) “sprechstimme” (define - extension of recitative)

atonal and 12-tone music are not the same thing although it is difficult to hear the difference.

atonal music simply avoids any sense of key in an ad hoc, non-systematic way.

Alban Berg (1885-1975) atonal expressionist operas: Wozzeck, Lulu (based on the play, “Pandora’s Box” by Wedekind, also made into one of the great silent films. . . without any music by Berg) extreme “downers.” Wozzeck is a not-too-bright soldier whose wife is unfaithful to him with his commanding officer. . . Everyone dies (except W’s little son), “the horror”) extreme emotional states, murder, lust, corruption

12-tone is a system of composition that replaces the systems and rules of functional harmony.

tone row - chosen to avoid any sense of key all the procedures of counterpoint are available: inversion, retrograde, diminution, augmentation, retro-inv., transposition, rotation, etc..

in 12-tone composition, dynamics, orchestration, phrasing, rhythm are all still freely determined by the composer.

PLAY Schoenberg “Theme and Sixth Variation from Variations for Orchestra, Op.31” (pp.209) DEMONSTRATE row.


In serial composition, the initial choice of materials (the row) controls all aspects of the composition.

The 2nd Viennese School is the origin of this very important stream in “art” music since 1900 –> Babbitt, Xenakis, etc., all art movements contain the seeds of their own demise.

play Webern Mvt 3 from Five Movements for String Quartet (1909) (p. 214)

Tonality Extended

I see three possible reasons for continuing to work in a tonal idiom:

1) Conservatism Many composers simply still think the old way of doing things is the better way and don’t think that tonality is “mined out.” Vaughan-Williams, Holst (PLAY Mars Planets ), Hindemith to some extent.

2) Populism/Nationalism Many composers choose to write accessible music to stay connected with a larger audience:

In the US, Aaron Copland consciously chose to write for a mass audience. Embraced film score writing (won an Oscar). Ballets on American subjects; cowboys, farmers, etc.. Very “American,” democratic idea. . . to write accessible music without compromising artistic integrity. PLAY “Fanfare for the Common Man” (pp.220) PLAY “Hoedown” from Rodeo

3) Compulsion

Artistic repression in Nazi Germany – “decadent,” “Jewish,” “Negroid” (i.e. jazz) music brutally suppressed. Schoenberg left Germany for America.

Many composers in eastern bloc countries were forced to conform to “proper socialist principles” and write in a traditional style or face prison or death. Ideology of “Socialist Realism” Shostakovich: many symphonies chock full of irony and double meanings that went right over the censors’ heads.

John Cage

PLAY Music of Changes I ()

I Ching, prepared piano, Constructions in Metal, “noise”

PLAY Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (page 245)


PLAY Varese, Ionisation

musique concrete, additive rhythm, Poem Electronique. (1958 Brussels Philips Pavilion, Le Corbusier), modernism, the International Style

Klangfarbenmelodie – “tone colour” melody

PLAY Crumb “Music for a Summer Evening” . Notation example pp.256.

Minimalism and return to tonality and rhythm (Mondrian image)

Demo Clapping Music, Piano Phase iPhone/iPad Clapping Music app

PLAY Reich “Nagoya Marimbas”

PLAY Reich “Eight Lines”

New instruments - demise of the orchestra?

New Technologies

PLAY Paul Lansky: “Notjustmoreidlechatter” (Princeton)

Section 1 consists of 10 brief recorded examples. Each example will be played four times. You will be asked to answer four questions about each example. The examples are from the Naxos Music 100 playlist and at least one question per example will concern identification (piece, composer, etc.). You will have heard all these examples in class.

Section 2 consists of forty multiple choice questions, each worth one mark. These questions will concern the following subject areas: theme, theme and variations, rubato, Apollo, Dionysus, Enlightenment, lieder, strophic song, through composed, requiem, absolute music, exoticism, diva, prima donna, grand opera, bel canto, libretto, overture, ensemble, chorus, expressionism, impressionism, Bayreuth, Ring Cycle, music drama, leitmotif, chromaticism, tone poem, post-romantic, polytonality, polyrhythm, primitivism, populism, additive rhythm, atonality, serialism, 12-tone technique, tone row, expressionism, Second Viennese School, sprechstimme, aleatoric music, minimalism, musique concrete, prepared piano, klangfarbenmelodie.

Section 3 consists of two “essay-type” questions (10 marks each) concerning any of the material we have studied. There will be at least five questions in total from which you may choose any two.

theme: A line in the music
theme and variations: it is the same theme, but varied every time.
rubato: “robbed”, melody slows down as the player keeps the tempo going in the accompaniment
Apollo: God of music
Dionysus: God of wine
englightenment: Led by Voltaire, tried to apply scientific objectivity to social justice. Human over the divine, reason over religion. Tried to improve education, eliminate prejudice, and get rid of class structure.
lieder: a type of German song, especially of the Romantic period, typically for solo voice with piano accompaniment.
strophic song: same music for each stanza of the poetry
through composed: music is different for each stanza
requiem: a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.
absolute music: music has no meaning outside the meaning of the music itself and the feelings it producers in its listeners
exoticism: genre in which the rhythms, melodies, or instrumentation are designed to evoke the atmosphere of far-off lands or ancient times
diva: celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera
prima donna: a principal female singer in an opera or concert organization
grand opera: lofty subjects, grand productions
bel canto: style (Italian) = “beautiful singing” Bellini, “Norma,” Donizetti, “Lucia”
libretto: text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical.
overture: an instrumental introduction in three short movements, fast-slow-fast
ensemble: group of musicians, dancers, or actors who perform together
chorus: a large organized group of singers, especially one that performs together with an orchestra or opera company.
expressionism: Focus on inner states of being and the evocation of extreme feelings
impressionism: symbolism that attempted to convey ideas rather than by direct statements
Bayreuth: Festival founded by Wagner. Very hard to get tickets, may take ten years.
Ring Cycle: is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner
Music Drama: Music and words interwoven in retelling old myths which would carry profound human truth. Founded by Wagner who used it anti-Semitically.
leitmotif: a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation.
chromaticism: a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale.
tone poem: a piece of orchestral music, typically in one movement, on a descriptive or rhapsodic theme.
post-romantic: range of cultural endeavors and attitudes emerging in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after the period of Romanticism
polytonality: Simultaneous sounding of two or more keys at once
polyrhythm: different meters sounding at the same time
primitivism: Directness, instinctiveness, and exoticism of nonurban cultures.
populism: belief in the power of regular people, and in their right to have control over their government rather than a small group of political insiders or a wealthy elite
additive rhythm: larger period of time is divided into smaller rhythmic units
atonality: An attempt to “liberate” music from the traditional rules of composition
serialism: In serial composition, the initial choice of materials (the row) controls all aspects of the composition.
12-tone technique: Use all the available notes, instead of just some, and used in a strict order and must be followed. Is a system of composition that replaces the systems and rules of functional harmony.
tone row: a particular sequence of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale used as a basis for twelve-tone (serial) music.
Second Viennese School: is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna
sprechstimme: Singer approximates the written pitches, in an eerie effect that merges singing with speaking
aleatorics: is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work’s realization is left to the determination of its performer
minimalism: idea of harmonic simplicity and repetitive rhythm. Limited materials and remains almost constant tempo and dynamic.
musique concrete: music constructed by mixing recorded sounds, first developed by experimental composers in the 1940s.
prepared piano: piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects between or on the strings
klangfarbenmelodie: is a musical technique that involves splitting a musical line or melody between several instruments, rather than assigning it to just one instrument (or set of instruments), thereby adding color (timbre) and texture to the melodic line.

Composers Contributions:





Robert Schumann:




Modern Era:





Alban Berg: