Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome - Schumann: Dichterliebe

this piece is really cool because of the contrast in vocal and piano part. The voice in the beginning is very strict and sustained with quarters, half, and whole notes...
the piano has a very jerky feeling because of the eighth, quarter, eighth thing going on..very cool contrast between the two...
The piano line is kind of trying to get the voice line to come and join it and in the second section the voice does start to free up and addes in the alternating quarter, eighth rhythm..this section the piano actually plays right along with the voice..
by the third section the roles have completely changed..the piano is sustaing whole notes for up to three measures and the voice it jerky..then the piano plays the closing which is a recap of the very first A without the vocal line...
i hope this still counts because i accidentally feel asleep on my desk at 4 in the morning working on my music history paper......

I wrote about something classical... the world must be ending

Well, I wanted to go out in style and make this blog super wonderful. Unfortunately, I was in the PAC until 3 am working on my form paper... so this is going to be short, sweet and to the point, because I really need to go to bed. SO here ya have it... my last blog...ever. HOWEVER, for my last blog, I thought I would write about a classical piece. Just because. Maybe to annoy everybody that I did musical theatre all semester, and now for the last one I finally do something classical. Maybe because I am tired, I have sung this song, and it will be easy. Maybe just to throw you all off. Maybe because it's 3 am and I am no longer coherent... anyway.... here ya go.

"Liebhaber in allen Gestalten" by Schubert.

This piece begins with a fun accompaniment that is just full of character. It's mostly 16th notes and a few grace notes, which makes it extra bouncy and fun. It is strophic, so all of the verses are the same. The melody is actually pretty repetitive, and the pitches mostly go from do to sol or they are stepwise. However, there is a ri in the first phrase, so that's exciting. The accompaniment mostly plays 16th notes the entire time.
In order for this to be performed well, the singer must make each verse different through the use of dynamics and charcater. This is just a great little animated character piece that I love to perform. I also love the lyrics... I will give you the translation of the 1st and 3rd verses:
"I wish I were a fish, so agile and fresh, and if you were to catch me, I would not fail you. I wish I were a fish so agile and fresh. But I am as I am, so just accept me like this. If you want a better man, then have him made for you. But I am as I am, so just accept me like this."
Wow. Barbara sure does know me well to pick a song with this translation for me. Ha.

Ok I will stop torturing you with my rambling. As I was told earlier today, "Nice try, Katie."

serenade for strings, dvorak

this is the waltz form serenade for strings in E major- the melody at the beginning is pretty straightforward ( and very beautiful), with very romantic qualties. it's in 3/8, and is in the parallel minor key to start out. The main melodic motive is the 16th not "sol le sol fa me re do"The upper strings have the melody, while the lower voices have the accompaniment (2 eighths, eithe rest, etc...) The A section is a repeated double parallel period with 5 measure phrases, all ending on a pac- The next section after the exposition is development, and it modulates up to the major III- themes are constantly being reused- the exposition comes back 3 different times. The transitions to and from the different sections are seamless-it's beautiful. The ending is a huge suprise because it goes to the dominant key and ends on a huge PAC suddenly and very loudly

The Phantom of the Opera- The Point of No Return

Alright, I admit it. I’m only blogging on this piece so that I can add it to my jumbled string of melodies for tomorrow. As I’m sure many of you know, the DVD of Phantom of the Opera came out last week, and after watching it Friday, I’ve had the melody stuck in my head since, which would explain why I had the desire to add it to my melody transcriptions. So why do I have it so stuck in my head. For one thing it’s very beautiful and sensual. But aside from that, it is the simplicity of both the melody and it’s accompaniment, allowing any feeble mind to recall it and sing it inside. The accompanying strings serve only as a compliment and follow the voice to give it the haunting sound. Of particular concern to me was obvious the main melody, which comprises the A section, and is repeated twice by the phantom. However, another thing of interest in this piece is the changes of voices and tone, which adds to the feeling of two battling forces of good and evil. After the phantom finishes the A melody, which represents the calling of the dark side, with the marching pace of the strings illustrating Christine’s mesmerized walk towards the phantom. Then, in the B section, Christine sings a new melody with a different tone, that is much less smooth and melodic (her exaggerated vibrato adds to the shaky feeling and inner imbalance, representing her inner questioning as she chooses. In the final cadence, as the music sinks lower and lower and returns to the haunting minor mode, she has made her decision to go to the Phantom. She now sings the “Past the Point of no Return” A section, residing back into the mesmerized death march towards her destiny, now accompanied with drums, and with each accented beat leading to her dissension further and further into the depths of darkness. Then the Phantom voice comes in, and each sing a duet of the A melody. This signifies an arrival into the arms of the Phantom, and a final few notes on strings as a closing section signify that it is over (of course, the music turns out to be wrong as it couldn’t fight off a force stronger than darkness, a fairy tail ending, as we find out later that the handsome guy ends up with the pretty girl… who’d of thunk it. I always knew the Phantom would remain without a bride.

Sister of Night - DM/Rachmaninov Prelude in gm

I don't think I've blogged on Sister of Night by DM, but I may have, so I'll blog so that I can turn in my transcription and then blog shortly on another in case I've already done this one. As far as I can look back through the blogs I haven't done it so...

DM-Sister of Night. And who'd a thunk it was chock full of syncopation. I thought I'd do myself a favor with a DM song...not so. Not so. 4/4. The melody is funny cause it doesn't decide which key it's in--either relative major or minor--sometimes hangs around the major sometimes minor, but the accompaniment underneath is this cool haunting electronic and the harmonies are somehow very mellow. Can I just say again how frickin' syncopated this is? It is. Bah. Even the introduction with some electronic sound is syncopated: dotted quarter, quarter, eighth, eighth, eighth tied to a whole note in the next bar. See there you go, syncopated. Maybe that's what gives the melody such a nice text setting, since the melody itself is pretty limited.

Here are the words (I love them):
(Ultra) Sister Of Night

Sister of night
When the hunger descends
And your body's a fire
An inferno that never ends
An eternal flame
That burns in desire's name
Sister of night
When the longing returns
Giving voice to the flame
Calling you through flesh that burns
Breaking down your will
To move in for the kill
Oh sister, come for me
Embrace me, assure me
Hey sister, I feel it too
Sweet sister, just feel me
I'm trembling, you heal me
Hey sister, I feel it too
Sister of night
In your saddest dress
As you walk through the light
You're desperate to impress
So you slide to the floor
Feeling insecure
Sister of night
With the loneliest eyes
Tell yourself it's alright
He'll make such a perfect prize
But the cold light of day
Will give the game away
Oh sister, come for me
Embrace me, assure me
Hey sister, I feel it too
Sweet sister, just feel me
I'm trembling, you heal me
Hey sister, I feel it too


This recording is old and has static. The recording is from 1920. Josef Lhevinne. I hear more static that music. a lot of repeated fast note, dotted rhythm, and guess what--more syncopation. It's really catchy though--very dance like in some parts, yet also a march feel, and then he has these more lyrical sections in the higher register. He then returns to the first march/dance feel--I would almost say russian tango thing going on. I would say it's some sort of ternary form, but the return of the march-like stuff gets more involved than the first time. Do I hear a little codetta at the end of this? Like it closes and then the piano decides to make one last crazy leap around the keyboard?

let's end this in style...

tchaik style.
tonight i will be blogging on the fourth movement of tchaikovsky's 5th symphony. now i'm not really going to talk about the form or anything, but i'm going to tell you a little about why this piece means so much to me. i'm feeling a little bit nostalgic tonight. it was the first symphony i ever read in youth orchestra--this was before i made the big kids group--i was probably in 8th grade. also, it was the first piece i ever had to transpose. and i didn't have my c trumpet yet, so i was transposing everything down a half step. back then, my mind just didn't work like that, but eventually i got the hang of it. i remember being so scared to play though, afraid i'd miss an accidental, and the big 10th grader who sat in front of me would always make me feel so stupid. but i'm pretty sure i showed him up when i played his solo (in the 3rd mvt) one rehearsal when he was sick. so anyway, what i'm getting at here, is everytime i hear that opening melody, it gives me this heroic sensation, and i feel so alive! that was incredibly cheesy, but you know you liked it.
peace out, advanced musicianship. you've made an ass out of me;)

"Heidenroslein" by Franz Schubert

Really quick song, because my mind feels like it has melted from all the writing I've done this evening. This song is such a cute strophic number, with one melodic line being repeated 3 times. The verses are 2 periods, the first with a HC, followed by a PAC. The second is assymetric, with a HC, followed by a deceptive cadence, then a PAC. The "chorus" is simply a phrase, with a HC that is pulled out by ritardando, then the tempo returns for the consequent phrase and PAC. Really simple song, very cute. My life hurts...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Flute Concerto in D, 3rd movement

Jean-Pierre Rampal

The expository function is established immediantely through parallel phrases and repetition. The rhythm is four sixteenths, low density, and solfege is sol-mi-fa-re-do on each sixteenth. The flute line is accompanied by a violin line that makes the staccato even more emphasized. One of the things that shapes the phrases is the lack of staccato, there is especially emphasis on the contrast between the note lengths because of the low density. The flute line is repeated by strings and oboe. The orchestra then enters a developmental function. An aggressive line in the low strings creates a transistional function back into the expository one. The function is a little different, the sixteenth rhythm and solfege, stay the same, but it is more legato, with very little staccato. The flute then starts a sixteenth passage that slowly climbs up by steps. It then enters another sixteenth passage that doesn't go anywhere, just floats around in a low density, higher register. The same signal of the aggressive bass line in the strings is used to signal another transistional function to the first cadenza. After the cadenza, it repeats back to the beginning, and cycles into a new section briefly in a minor key. The expository funciton is stated again, I think it has been stated in the rondo about five times. The structure is the five part rondo. The entire piece maintains a liteness to it maintianed through very strict rhythmic and harmonic activity. The entire piece moves fast and aggressive, but because of its contrast to the lite sound of the flute, it maintains this flighty feel.

"Billy Joel" - The Longest Time

This song is entirely a capella. I hear Billy Joel on lead vocals, finger snapping, and four background vocalists, including a very low bass. I don't know if some of the background vocals are sung by Billy Joel himself, but I can easily see him singing the higher voices.

Other than the chorus, this is in rounded binary form: A A B" A B" A. There is a repeat of the first A section, as well as the B"A sections.

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
*Not really any form for this section. I love the bass guy's little solos.

A section:
If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write (HC)
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time (PAC)
*This is a contrasting assymetrical period. The background vocals do a lot of "ooo"ing and "aaa"ing. They sing the lyrics on "for the longest time."

Repeat of A section:
Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on (HC)
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time (PAC)

Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Oh, oh, oh
For the longest time

A section:
I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all (HC)
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time (PAC)

B section:
Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong (HC)
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more that I hoped for (HC)
*This is a parallel symmetrical period - it is progressive in that it is in a minor key, but modulates right back to the original key.
*The background vocals do a little arpeggiating on "bong", followed by a "duadua" - very cute.

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone (HC)
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time (PAC)

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart (HC)
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more that I hoped for (HC)

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things (HC)
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for The longest time (PAC)

Appalachian Spring

Aaron Copland really captures the aural image of America in his famous "Appalachian Spring." You can almost here the open fields and endless possibilities in this pulitzer prize winning composition. It is a truly a masterpiece that beautiful weaves the simple shaker theme throughout the piece. Once and a while you can hear the influence of "Simple Gifts." There are exciting moments juxtaposed to sweet mellow movements. Copland opens the song with very simple chords, with a very simple melody placed on top. This leaves the listener with a very pastoral feeling to the music. I am particularly fond of the ending. The gorgeous flute line is very somber, almost sad. It is a very emotional piece, in my mind representing the simple cyclical progress of nature coupled with the pastoral beauty of the United States.

“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson

“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson is in four-four with three beats of pick-up notes played by the guitar, mi-sol-mi-re-do-la. These notes give a little preview for the notes that are most often used in the melody and they are also important because they give the song its slightly swingin’ beat. It’s got some bluesy/jazzy chords and a swing quality because the eighth notes are not straight but more uneven. There are about four measures of guitar before the verse comes in. It sounds like there could be some sort of acoustic bass which plays mostly do-sol-do-sol so the chords are mostly tonic and dominant. The only other instrument is some sort of drum which definitely has a few pitches, maybe congas. The song has a very laid back, swingy feel. There are not set verses, but there seems to be one main melody for most of the phrases, mi-sol-la-sol-mi-re-mi-re-do, mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-do. There is not one ti throughout the entire melody, mostly la-dos but no ti-dos. The chord changes are not very fast or very often.
This song is great because is a mixture of genres but it has that overall laid back Jack Johnson feel.

Taffanel - Andante pastoral

The piano begins the piece by itself playing a short intro that is then echoed very softly by the piano. The flute solo enters after this in a minor key. The melody throughout the entire piece is extremely ornamented and embellished in one way or another. At first, one of the main ways Taffanel does this is by incorporating scales into the melody. The scales usually lead up or down into the main beat that we hear as part of the melodic line. The piece ties the low and higher octaves together very well. It's all very fluid in the movement from one to the other. A considerable amount of time is spent in the low octave, but because of the way the different registers are connected with arpeggios and such, the higher octaves don't stick out at all. Instead, the low octave flows right into it. The tempo fluctuates a lot at various points during the piece. The flute truly has the lead role in the piece because the piano accompaniment is basic chords and follows the flute's tempo changes well. This is also what probably enhances the overall bittersweet and poignant feeling this movement creates. The intro of solo piano is balanced, yet contrasted by the ending, which is basically performed only by the flute.

I got a Gal... In Kalamazoo- Glen Miller

Thats me! A real pipperoo...
This is a great song, and in only a short time, I'll be back in my hometown before I take off for New York for a summer of oboe.
I like the swing era kinds of songs that make you think of your grandparents, and it also has some great solos in it, one is the trumpet solo and another is of course the sax solo, don't think I didn't hear like a half an hour lecture on that from Tyler.
I don't know if its the light kind of bouncy dance feel to the song, or just me wanting to go home really bad, but the song reminds me of summer, I also like the harmonies that go on within the voices...
Here are the lyrics, enjoy...

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H
I got a gal in Kalamazoo
Don’t want to boast but I know she’s the toast of Kalamazoo(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)
Years have gone by, my my how she grew
I liked her looks when I carried her books in Kalamazoo(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)

I’m gonna send away, hoppin’ on a plane, leavin’ today
Am I dreamin’? I can hear her screamin’"
Hiya, Mr. Jackson"
Everything’s OK, A-L-A-M-A-Z-O
Oh, what a gal, a real pipperoo
I’ll make my bid for that freckle-faced kid I’m hurryin’ to
I’m goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest gal in Kalamazoo(Zoo, zoo)(Zoo, zoo, zoo, Kalamazoo)
K (K)A (A)L-A-M-A-Z-O(Oh, oh, oh, oh what a gal, a real pipperoo)
(We’re goin’ to Michigan to see the sweetest gal in Kalamazoo)
(Zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo, zoo)(Kalamazoo!!)

Queen, “Who Wants to Live Forever”

This is the last listening journal (woo hoo!) so I’m going to do one of my favorite songs.

The song begins with the synthesizer emphasizing the dominant chord that ushers in the first verse. The first verse is very serene with only the synthesizer accompanying the singer and the timbre they use for this has very long and distant sounding sustains on each chord. The choice of having the guitarist sing this as opposed to the lead singer is also important because the guitarist’s voice fits the mood of this part of the song better. The chorus also has the same instrumentation and has a wonderful that goes up scalar for each “who wants to live forever” reaching tension and the tension not being released until the chorus feels like its done with a little afterthought as the chords resolve with the singer just doing some soft “oohs”

In the second verse a string section is added to the synthesizer which gives a slightly different timbre but does little to change the mood and the feel, except that they have some stagnant two tone eighth note repetition that push the verse a little more. The lead singer also comes back in to make the music a bit louder. A little bass drum is also added on the 1 and the last sixteenth note of the first beat when the singer is breaking between lines. The chorus starts out the same as the first time with the new instrumentation and cool little descending line in the low strings right after the singer’s ascending line, but this time the return to tonic is marked as a peak rather than as a downfall into the second verse. A cymbal rolls helps emphasize this and the chorus ends up getting extended with a long feeling of dominant that finally gets resolved when the electric guitar enters for the first time and the texture falls back apart again that ushers in the instrumental solo.

The solo section begins with the first feel of a real driving rhythm with the hi hat starting up with the bass drum playing the line earlier every measure and every other measure being forte with a huge snare drum hit on the & of 2. The guitar solo basically stays along the lines of the verse. The bridge follows this and is just four bars long and keeps the same rhythmic aspects as previous but features the vocalist in a new line that works its way up to the high vocal range that was last seen at the end of the second chorus.

Another round of chorus follows this but has lyrics that fit in with the bridge so the feeling of the chorus isn’t quite there. Probably my favorite part about the song is at this point and in the later choruses is the drum part after each one of the rising lines which consists of bass drum on the sixteenth note just before beat 3, snare drum on three, bass drum on the sixteenth note just after three and just before beat 4, snare drum on 4, and bass drum on the sixteenth note right after beat 4. It is really cool because it is using a somewhat funky beat in the context of a emotionally gripping rock ballad which is somewhat unusual but works very effectively here. After this chorus the texture drops out for a measure then there’s a crescendo that goes into the real singing of the chorus, which is sung by multiple voices. After this the texture falls apart and the singer sings the last couple lines and then the music goes on for a couple minutes, doing a great job of delaying the cadence for many measure.

The last instrumental part consists of some guitar solos and is there because this song was used in the movie “Highlander” so they kept it in context of the song. The end of this instrumental features the synthesizer running up doing a D major with a major 9 chord, which has become my favorite chord.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Now the Green Blade Rises arr. John Sittard

This piece begins with a piano introduction that sounds like Reniassance flute music. It consist of a parallel period. It then goes into chords that seem to initiate the start of the melody. As anticipated, the hymn tune then follows. It is played very basic and simply for the first verse. The second verse makes use of arrpegiated chords in the bass line. Then the 3rd verse does something very shocking and is grounded by harmonic chords that sound very 20th centuryish and aren't tonal at all. This makes a very eerie effect. The next verse continues with the 20th century chords with no melody in piano. The melody is now played by flute. Then there is an interlude where the piano returns to the original dance like introductory theme. The flute plays a final theme from the melody and the piece ends with a baroque arrpegiation on piano. The greatest thing about this piece is that by adding the additional theme to the familiar verses the piece takes on a rounded binary feeling. I wish I had an arrangement of this piece. It really puts a person in high spirits.