During Monday’s seminar, for the first time in my life, I learned a great deal about musical sounds. I saw how text should have congruency to give the action taking place a more lively experience. A lot of things about music seemed improvised, which was a very novel concept to me. We went over the four elements that compose music, which are rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre/texture.
When Naomi sang “I feel pretty” from West Side Story, and the professor added her part to the melody, the music had more texture and feeling. The rhythm gave the listener an understanding of where to tap their feet. The rhythm tells me where to tap my feet, it makes me feel comfortable around the music a little more. We learned to recognize patterns in the music page called “Praeludium”. I had never dealt with musical notes, so learning about them was definitely an amazing experience. It was fascinating to learn how playing certain notes faster or slower can give off a feeling of progression and suspense. Praeludium #2 had less consonants and more dissonance, and without the distance, there was more “crunch”.
Next we listened to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. It had a celebratory type of suspenseful feeling. It reminded me of winter wonderland where the instruments got louder and added suspense and excitement to the big finale. Slowly all the instruments joined in, creating a remarkable finish.
Personally, this has been one of my favorite seminar classes to date. I always knew about musical composers like Beethoven, but I never actually sat down and listened to their works. Neither did I ever analyze these things. It was a unique experience that makes me appreciate being a student at Macaulay, because at any other place, I know I definitely wouldn’t have learned about music in this way.