10/10/12-Swathi Satty

Today, we discussed Turandot and the first topic that came up was about Liu, who was the faithful servant. She could’ve been used as the foil character, as Naomi mentioned, to the princess because she was so selfless and didn’t see herself as worth anything whereas the princess was very aware of her high status. So her being the complete opposite of the princess was used to create a foil within in the opera. Her death was also not as relevant as the pursuit of the prince. This is common in Operas since the secondary characters don’t often get attended to as the main characters do.

Elisa noticed that while the audience applauded the actors/singers for minutes at a time, the orchestra was quick to get off the scene. This could be because playing instruments for hours at a time is even more physically exhausting than singing on stage for the same amount of time.

In regards to the music played, the music wasn’t what most would consider Chinese music today but was the 20th century depiction of what Italian musicians believed Chinese music would sound like. The music was probably based off of stereotypical perspectives that existed during that time which would now probably be considered racist. In this very opera, certain types of intervals are used to present the impression of the scenario on set given off to the audience. For example, 5ths are used for primitive cultures which would depict them as being violent and aggressive which is a modern day example of racism. In Turandot, Liu’s music had a lot of fourths in her music in her melody making it sound quasi-Chinese allowing the listening subconscious to perceive it as being Chinese. This was present but wasn’t the main focus of the opera. It’s a challenge for the creators of operas to make it exotic but palatable and not overtly racist so they would have to be selective about the instruments used in the orchestra.

Fantasia is based off of a piece by Mark Warhovksy. Even if he was a musician, he never wrote down any of his music until he met another musician who discussed with the bigotry of that age. Professor Sirotta is going to perform with his orchestra is by Mark Warhovsky. I learned that the words and the melody of the a certain piece can trigger past memories in its clearest form which basically states that music is as a personal as it gets. The words mixed with the tune can also convey beautiful messages as shown in “OYFN Pripetshok” which many consider the second Jewish anthem because of the deep message embedded in the tune of the piece and its words.

Many musicians use the melody to shrine the instrument and at the same time show off their skill which goes back to previous discussions about vocalists/instrumentalists trying to give off a message while showing their musical capabilities. Variations in tunes shows the change in music styles in cultures and age. Normally, the variations follow the tune precisely even if the music sounds more and more complex; basically the same framework exists with new harmonies. Sirotta, like many other pieces, brings in the variation after introducing the melody and the tune in his piece which he will perform in the orchestra this Sunday.