MUNM 1113 at OU Exam 2 notes The Classic Period
MUNM 1113 at OU Exam 2 notes The Classic Period 1113 MUNM
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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by blanca mirella on Wednesday February 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1113 MUNM at University of Oklahoma taught by Rodgers L in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see Understanding Music >3 in Music at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 02/17/16
THE CLASSIC PERIOD 17501825 CHAPTER 10 The Classic period was comparatively homogenous By looking at one of the earliest example of music born of what might be understood as the classic sensibility we might see that front which many of the prevailing stylistic ideals owed The Classical period relating to or belonging to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture a term that implies a model of excellence to be emulated 1 The rise of the Gallant style Naples Italy had long been one of the most important centers of activity in the eld opera During the 17205 a young composer emerged in Naples Today this composer39s name is not widely known but in this time the name of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was uttered with respect from Naples to London and even in the center of opposition to Italian opera Paris A Giovanni Battista Pergolesi 17101736 lived an extremely brief life He died at 26 he lived long enough to energize tremendously important changes in Italian opera When Pergolesi began composing Neapolitan opera opera originating in Naples had become an important part of the life of the city Citizens of all classes attended one Naples39s seven public opera houses almost at night during the early autumn and the period between Christmas and Lent roughly January and most of February These were the high seasons for opera The opera houses of Naples were for people entertainment and social lives The style of Neapolitan opera centered on a strict format of recitative passages in which the action of the opera advances and periods of re ection upon the action called arias The arias constituted the most important part of the opera for enthusiasts of the genre Like the aria from Handel39s Rinaldoprevious chapter Neapolitan arias were usually in an ABA or da capo form Da capo aria an aria in ABA form which results from the opening A section sung da capo at the end When the composer used the whole orchestra these were call quotaccompanied recitativesquot Just as the format of the opera was strictly conceived around alternating recitatives and arias so de dramas were also increasingly formulaic The playwrights Apostolo Zeno and his student Metastasio were the main architects of the format for operatic dramas Their work received so much praise for its elevated language and superb use of simile and metaphor Essentially Metastasio wrote semihistorical loves stories The plays of Baroque opera differ radically from the humanistic ideals of the Renaissance where human merit counted for so much In addition to the tale of the lovers Metastasian dramas presented each member of the couple with sidekick most often servant Blntermezzos Pergolesi s rst innovation boils dawn his objecting to the presence of comic characters amidst the serious stories He felt distracted from the action He also felt that they weren39t really all that funny The drama for operas avoided contemporary situations in order not to look like they might be criticizing any living person in power To solve the problem of comic characters distracting the audience from the action and the dif culty of nding real humor amid antiquated sidekicks Pergolesi began writing intermezzos These were short operas intended for performance between the acts of the main opera That is relatively short piece of music that is performed between longer movements of an extended composition such as an opera The music Pergolesi wrote for his intermezzos never strove for the lofty heights of his serious operas He wanted his intermezzos to be performed by good comedian rather than great singers Toward this end he adopted a tuneful and simple musical style in the arias of his intermezzos Little did he know those tuneful and simple arias would give rise to a new style of music C La serva padrona is an aria from Pergolesi39s most celebrated intermezzo The aria in our recorded anthology shows Serpina hatching her plot Unlike some many arias in serious operas this one advances the action by showing the audience Serpina39s manipulation of the stupid doctor There are two contrasting kinds of music in these arias The rst or quotAquot section nds Serpina pretending to be heartbroken at having to leave the service of Dr Uberto Pergolesi39s orchestra affords the singer a chance for broad comic acting as loud musical snif es in the violin punctuates the section The second or section is in a quicker tempo Serpina describe her sense that her plan to make Dr Uberto jealous of her ctitious Bulgarian captain is working Throughout the aria the A and B sections alternate lending the entire movement a form of ABABA followed by a da capo sign resulting in a repeat of both A and B sections one last time Da capo literally means quotto the endquot in Italian Pergolesi s humble little intermezzo captured the imagination of music lovers His simple style built around the needs of amateur singers became the rage People found his style unpretentious and extremely innovative His popularity grew so tremendous that when he died traveling troops of singeractors were performing la serva padrona throughout Europe These troops eventually reached Paris in 1752 a city that had always despised Italian opera Much of the French public was swept up by the charms of Pergolesi s simple style This style to be known as the quotgallant stylequot Galant Style is a detached emotional musical style favored in the Enlightenment that looks outward to society and is anxious to please as compared to dramatic styles of the Baroque period that are puffed up with their own pathos and emotion The Enlightenment Among the legion of admirers for Pergolesi s style was the French philosopherJeanJacques Rousseau Pergolesi39s style so inspired this enlightenment era philosopher that Rousseau took up pen and paper and composed an opera of his own Le Devin du village in 1752 the same year he heard la serva padrona Rousseau favored the gallant style in his own composition Rousseau39s philosophical grounds for favoring the pleasing and simple style of Pergolesi boil down to two contentions First music should be natural Second music is the product of genius only triumphs when it submits itself to the norms of taste For Rousseau taste was not a matter of personal opinion leanlacques Rousseau is the person who de ned quottastequot as follow quotGenius creates but taste selects and a too abundant genius is often in want of a severe censor to prevent it from abusing its valuable richesquot Today discussions of taste are almost seen as impolite and certainly fruitless Everyone has his or her own taste and everyone should quotlay offquot before attacking the taste of others A EighteenthCentury Taste ln Rousseau39s day people certainly disagree about what they liked or didn39t like but not nearly so much as they do today More importantly taste was not something to which everyone was equally entitled Taste was share throughout the community and existed independent of what individuals thought about it one way or another Getting back to Rousseau s points we see that naturalness and genius tempered by taste provided the philosophical underpinnings for a rational claim for the superiority of one musical creation to another To Rousseau s generation the music ofJS Bach previous chapter was needlessly complex and therefore unnatural Moreover it had fallen out of favor with well educated and in uential people therefore it could not be said to have been tempered by taste No one argued thatJSBach wasn t a genius only that his genius was too much in the service of his personal and by then old fashioned idea about good music Now you can understand why the word quotbaroquequot meaning misshapen and unnatural came to be applied to so much wonderful music created between 1600 and 1750 It was a term of derision invented by people who shared Rousseau s view B Classicism and the Gallant Style by the contrast to the term quotBaroquequot the music of Rousseau39s time came to be called classical This term by de nition is relating or belonging to the ancient Greeks and Romans or their culture a term that implies a model of excellence to be emulated Curiously this term quotclassicalquot would not be used to describe music until the middle of the 18005 In Rousseau39s own time the term gallant style prevailed as a descriptor for music of the late 17005 Philosophical appeals to naturalness came to be the watchword of the late eighteenth century The project of Enlightenment in the West is con gured around the questioning of powerful institutions such as the church and the monarchy on naturagrounds For example the Enlightenment philosophers such as Rousseau saw man as possessing natural rights The American Declaration of Independence articulates these rights as quotlife Liberty and the pursuit of happinessquot Thomas Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence was a great admirer ofJeanJacques Rousseau and the Enlightenment The late eighteen century saw two important revolutions topple monarchical authority rst in America where colonists escaped the rule of King George III of England and later when the rabble in Paris led by Enlightenment intellectuals shattered the once unquestioned power of the French monarchy The church came under the similar attack as a general skepticism attracted The Enlightenment39s impact on music was enormous From the transformation of the social role of music to the rationale for making it everything was touched by the ideas of the age Most all the composers worked either for the princes of the church or of the state Only Pergolesi worked Iarger independently from one of those institutions because he could compose operas for the public The consequences of the Enlightenment for music in particular and culture in general are still playing out in the West OPERA REFORM One of the most interesting applications of the ideals of naturalness in music was Gluck39s opera reform During 1760s Christoph WiIIibaId Gluck 17141787 sought to transform opera the most popular genre of music in Europe by far His transformations were both dramatic supported by librettist Rainero de Calzabigi and musical Their project mars an important difference between baroque opera and classical opera While the operas of Naples described earlier in this chapter privileged formulaic plots Gluck and Calzabigi hoped to create operas in which the structure of the opera was determined by the needs of the drama In this regard their efforts resemble the ideals of the Renaissance when Monteverdi declared poetry the mistress of the music Indeed for their rst opera Gluck and Calzabigi returned to those bygone days when opera was born out of humanist ideals they took the story of Orfeo and his poor wife Euridice as their topic That story has inspired so many composers in the early days of opera Orfeo ed Euridice Act II CD2 5 The structure of the scene is a mixture of diverse types of music The structure of the scene is a mixture of diverse types of music rather than a succession of recitatives and arias In this scene we see a classic reform approach to operative structure
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