Concert Pitch

Concept video :
Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in Bb Major https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHkot1TmvZU

These things you can tackle the following questions:

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-What symphony are you reviewing? State the composer and the title of the piece. State the name of the orchestra, the conductor and where the concert takes place (if it is stated in the video).
-What is the instrumentation of the orchestra? Please review your instruments! Do not call basses, cellos, or the oboe, a clarinet or saxophone, etc.
-Overall structure of the Symphony: How many movements does the symphony have? Is it the standard four-movement form or is it different? Does it have a Minuet or a Scherzo?

I would like you to discuss three of the four movements. You must discuss the first and last movements, which middle movement you choose is up to you. It is probably best to organize your essay movement by movement.

Discuss the form of the first movement in detail. It will be in Sonata form, so here are the things I’d like you to write about;

– What is, or are, the tempo(s) in this movement? Use Italian terms. If you can’t see it in the video, make your best guess.
– Is there an introduction? Is it long (over 10 seconds) or short (just a few notes or chords)? Is it a call to attention or lyrical or a little of both? How does it lead to the exposition?
– Give the timing of the start of the exposition. Identify the first and second themes with timings. Briefly discuss the character of the themes–strong, rhythmic, lyrical, smooth, forte or piano, etc. Is the second theme contrasting with the first? Is it preceded with a cadence and a rest or does the music flow into it without a pause?
– Give the timing of the start of the development. (Remember that the exposition will likely repeat! The development will start after the repeat of the exposition). Is the development based mostly on the first or second theme? Does the texture of the music change during it? For example, it may become polyphonic or maybe monophonic for part of it. Give timings for where this happens. Is there a buildup of tension before the recapitulation?
– In the recapitulation, do you notice any changes in the music from the exposition? For example, can you hear a different transition or any alterations getting from the first to the second theme? What about the closing of the movement? Is it based on the same section that closed the exposition or is it completely different material? Is it based on the first or second theme?

Here are other observations for you to include in your discussion of each of the three movements.:

Tempos—use Italian terms for each of the movements. If it is not listed in the video, make your best guess.
– Dynamics—use Italian terms. Here, discuss a few interesting, surprising, or important (obvious) dynamics that help define the structure of the piece. For example, are there sudden notes that jump out at you in unexpected places? Is the first theme, forte and the second theme, piano for contrast? Is there a big crescendo before the recapitulation or a diminuendo? Is the first theme in the recapitulation more forte than in the exposition? Things of that nature.
– Timbre—what instruments are featured and when/why? What is the effect? Remember, if an instrument is playing the melody by itself (in this style of music it will usually be a woodwind instrument or possibly the concertmaster) it is considered a solo! Hint: the camera may zoom in on the solo player.
– Rhythm—determine the meter of the movements. Are there repeating patterns? Look for this in transitions and in the development section? Are these repeated rhythms in the background or foreground? Are they smooth or angular?
– Melody (conjunct or disjunct, are there—are there changes?). Compare the first and second themes. Is there a clear contrast? If there is, describe the difference. Is one more rhythmically active? Stronger? More lyrical?
– Harmony (Major or minor). Is a theme that is first stated in the major later stated in the minor? Give a specific timing where this happens. Does the development begin in the major or minor? Is it primarily in one mode or does it shift? What effect does the shift in modality have (if there is one)?
– Form (structure of the music: this is the hardest element to hear. Some clues can be in the titles of the piece or movement, such as “Variations…,” “Sonata for…,” “Rondo,” etc.
– Texture (homophonic, monophonic, polyphonic or are there changes)? Are there solos? Where do these textural changes take place? Give timings. Do they help define the structure of the piece?
– Mood of the piece and does it change? How does it make you feel? Be as descriptive as you can here.

— If you write about the third movement, discuss if you think it is a minute or a scherzo. Give a timing for where you think the Trio begins and where the return of the A section begins. Discuss the contrast between the sections. For more information on Concert Pitch check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concert_pitch

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