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Musical Links Investigation

Essay Topic:

Fred Kim Mr. Gillespie IB Music 12 April, 2011 Musical Links Investigation Music is a form of communication that varies distinctively among different countries just as each country has their own language. However, music does not only vary with region, but also with time period and the neighboring musical cultures.

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To investigate how two very distinct and different musical cultures can be connected through their musical qualities, I will compare the similarities and differences between romantic period and classical period music of flute.

Moreover, I will focus on one instrument, flute, because I have great interest in it, and I have a lot of experience of studying and performing the instrument. In this investigation, I will focus on the compositional features found in the music such as form and structure, tone color, mood, and musical background. One of the most famous classical flute pieces is concerto in G major No. 1 K313 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although it is widely known that flute was Mozart’s least favorite instrument, the concerto is very beautifully written in terms of not only variety of texture and structure, but also the subtle changes in mood.

The concerto is composed of three movements which each has distinct characteristics. The first movement is Allegro maestoso, second movement is Adagio ma non troppo and the last movement is Rondo: Tempo di Mennuetto. The orchestral part includes orchestral strings, two oboes, and two horns. This small size of orchestra play a significant role in emphasizing the soloist and shifting the mood and tempo of the music before the soloist comes in. The other piece that I will compare to the Concerto in G major by Mozart is Concerto in D op. 283 by Carl Reinecke.

It is written in Romantic period and is composed of three movements. The first is Allegro Moderato, the second is Lento e Mesto, and the third movement is Moderato. This concerto was written right before Reinecke died. Therefore, the melody is more sensational and insightful compared to the flamboyant and joyful melodies that Mozart had created. The orchestral part includes all instruments with reduced size in each section. The first main similarity that I noticed comparing the two flute concertos from two different time period was their structure. Both concertos are composed of three movements.

The first is both allegro, the second is both slow and the last movement is the finale for both concertos and is fast and graceful. Not only from the exterior point of view, when we look at the internal structure of the pieces from each movement, can we find many similarities. Both pieces start with introducing the main theme and melody and expand on it by adding variations from it. Later on, from both pieces, we can see that the melodic structure falls into under a minor chord creating a sad and solemn mood. After a little more variations on the melody and rhythm, both pieces come to a recapitulation.

Both again introducing the main theme, develops into another set of variations on the melody and rhythm which are generally more complicating and higher in notes. Another interesting factor to compare is the freedom of style, ad-libs, and cadenzas. In general, Classical pieces are considered to be more confined in the way that soloists perform. They are usually rhythmically stricter than Romantic pieces. However, ad-libs, to a certain level, are allowed and are often added by famous players such as James Galway and Jean-Pierre Rampal.

They add some grace notes, mordents, or trills that were not written on the score. By doing this, classical pieces provide some freedom in playing to a certain degree. Not only are that, in the Concerto in G by Mozart, there two cadenzas; One in first movement and the other in the third movement. This Cadenza gave performers the chance to reveal their real abilities in both technical and musical aspect. On the other hand, in Romantic Pieces, ad-libs are usually not allowed, which seems to give it less freedom.

However, Romantic piece usually has more freedom of rhythm. Therefore, performers of the Reinecke Concerto usually express themselves by varying the rhythm. Moreover, in some songs, such as Chaminade Concertino and Mendelsshon Violin Concerto in E minor has cadenzas that are written already but gives the performers freedom to do whatever they want. Therefore, the two periods that I am comparing both give the performers a certain amount of freedom in playing but neither gives full freedom to play how ever they wish.

By comparing the two different periods of western music, Classical and Romantic, I was able to realize how Romantic developed from Classical, evolving into more characteristic type of music. By comparing the m melodically, harmonically, structurally, and rhythmically, I was able to understand in depth how music periods of different time can have certain similarities and differences. Moreover, by only comparing the flute songs, I was more able to understand how even though all “languages” seem different, they are all ways of communication and they do have similarities.

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