Let me begin this post by saying that music is a hobby for me. I can’t play any instruments or read music, but I do enjoy listening to music, regardless of genre or artist, and I am always willing to listen to new types of music. Today in Seminar, we began by identifying the Four Basic Principles of Music, and applying them to Praeludium 1 and Praeludium 2. Dr. Kahan played both pieces of music on the piano for us, which was beautiful to listen to. We were asked to describe what emotions the two pieces of music brought about when we heard them and because the two pieces were slightly different, so were the responses and feelings that the music evoked. Praeludium 1 was soft, pretty, calming, the undertone to the song, Ave Maria. It was repetitive, but it also had a climax that everybody was able to recognize. Each of us thought of a similar but slightly different scene which could be put to this piece of music. For most of us, it was a romance scene, with the climax being a conflict, for example, a reason the two lovers could not be together. I thought that Praeludium 1 was enjoyable and relaxing, and I could easily put the image of a love story to the music. That was great for me, since I’m a very big fan of romance stories.
Praeludium 2 was the same repetition of notes, and had a similar configuration, but it was frantic, rapid, and not at all soothing. This compilation consisted of dissonant chords, whereas Praeludium 1 consisted of consonant chords. Praeludium 2 had the distinct sound of something like a mechanical machine. It was also very repetitive, but the sound was much harsher and “crunchier” than Praeludium 1. While I found Praeludium 1 to be soothing and enjoyable, I also enjoyed Praeludium 2. It was exciting and fast – moving, and in my head, I imagined it to be the music for a chase, or something adventurous and interesting.
While I enjoyed analyzing both pieces of music, and listening to Dr. Kahan play them with such elegance and skill, my favorite part of class was beginning to look at the opera. We were first shown a clip from the movie, Camille.
In this clip, we see a man telling Camille, played by Greta Garbo, that he loves her, and the following scene finds her telling him not to love her, because she likes her life the way it is, and is not capable of love. We then saw this same scene, but in an opera format. We were shown a clip from La Traviata, by Guiseppe Verdi, starring Placido Domingo, a famous tenor. This scene is showing the same conversation as Camille – a man expressing his love for Camille and her turning him down. However, in the opera, it is expressed with much more feeling and emotion. In the movie format, the whole scene takes about 3 seconds. In the opera, this conversation takes about 3 minutes. The opera has the ability, I think, to take any scene or conversation, and make it beautiful and emotional. It gives the audience something more than the mere drama of the movie screen. I enjoyed seeing both versions of the story, but especially the opera, and I became interested in seeing what happens in the rest of the story.
I look forward to our continuing lectures about music – its form, its compilation, and everything that contributes to the art of music. Just as with art, I find it interesting to analyze different pieces of music and uncover what they contribute or contributed to society.