~What makes music, music? 9/24/12~

During Monday’s class we listened to different pieces of music and examined how the five main elements of a piece of music were used to evoke different emotions in the listener. These elements were: rhythm, melody/tune, harmony, timbre and texture.  One of the pieces which we listened to was ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Stravinsky. This piece of music intrigued me because it involves multiple different melodies and rhythms simultaneously.  The sounds of the woodwind instruments such as the english horn combined with the harsh brass of the trumpets and the deep sounding timpani made me think of a magical land where peaceful creatures are being attacked by vicious predators.  The story is that of a predator and its prey. When I was listening  to this piece it reminded me of Titans Spirit- by Trevor Rabin. In both pieces there is a conflicting timbre as the woodwind instruments evoke peaceful and innocent emotions and the brass and deeper sounding instruments evoke images of danger and violence.

In addition to ‘The Rite of Spring’ we listened to Praeludium II by J.S. Bach.  When listening to this piece we discussed how the repetition and the fast rhythm of piece was reminiscent of a malevolent machine which was out of control. Even though the piece was written in four four time it is composed entirely of sixteenth and thirthy-sixth notes which made me as the listener feel as though I was trying to keep up with the song as it raced ahead of me. The repetition of the base note also adds a darkness to the piece. The base note acts as an anchor, allowing the melody to float above it and then yanks it down when it starts to stray too far out of bounds. Additionally when I look at the piece I find it interesting that there are no crescendo or diminuendo markings, yet when I listen to the piece performed the pianist uses the base note as a guide for the volume. When the base note is low the piano gets softer in volume, while higher base notes allow the piece to grow in volume.

As a musician I look forward to exploring deeper into the art of composition.