Monday’s class we were introduced to music. Professor Kahan explained that there were four main “pieces” that make up music. The first being rhythm, then melody, followed by harmony and timbre/texture. This particular seminar was probably one of my favorites, looking at sheet music and talking about music reminds me of my years in choir. This accompanied by Professor Kahan’s piano playing made this class particularly enjoyable. Before this class, I had not known about timbre and texture being multiple instruments playing simultaneously. Depending upon the level of instruments playing it can make the music feel thick or thin.
Something else that could change the feeling a piece exudes is text. By inserting text into a piece it can emphasize how one views the piece. A song like “I Feel Pretty” has such an upbeat rhythm words are simply an accessory. The meaning of the song is typically congruent to the music. Which truly does make sense, in “I Feel Pretty” changing the word “pretty” with “ugly” would be completely out of place with the song. One should also take in to account, musical improvisation, otherwise known as, the part of music that happens spontaneously. The freedom a musician can have while performing a piece, I think, adds to the creation of a musician’s signature style.
In class we also got our first taste of opera. How beautiful the music was and how passionate these singers were about what they are singing truly excited me about going to the opera. What stood out to me was how a moment in “movie time” about saying “I love you”, could be only a minute long. In contrast, in “opera time” it could take up to five minutes. Having that patience for performing is quite admirable. Ultimately I am looking forward to Wednesday where I can observe, at first hand, the physical exertion these singers put into their singing to express the deep emotion in the pieces they sing.