Music Composition Assignment for 10.20.2017
Composition scholars, my sincere apologies for neglecting to get this to you. I hope it is not too much to digest in a short time. Also, as a heads up, my uncle passed away Tuesday afternoon. It is possible that I will be out this week if his funeral is scheduled for Friday. I don’t yet have information on that. Mr. William is already subbing in another class, so everything could devolve into chaos in short order. 🙂 I will do my best to either avoid being gone, or leaving you in the best hands that I can. Please be prepared to present your compositions in an orderly way. If I need to be gone, most likely the sub plans will consist of a lab day for you, where you can work on your semester project (remember that!) in class. Please bring any laptops, pocket keyboards, earbuds/headphones, or whatnot that you would need to be able to work independently. If I am there, we’ll continue on with the Baroque period as planned.
Examples of excellent vocal polyphony can be found in Palestrina’s (1525-1594) masterpiece Sicut Cervus. You’ll notice that each line repeats the initial melodic fragment at different pitch levels based on the voice part, and then passes it around until the next idea is introduced. This video also has the score for you to watch how the voices interact. The text is in Latin, but is from psalm 42, “As the deer pants for the water….”
Another fine instrumental example is the Canzon XVI by Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612). He worked at the famed San Marcos basilica in Venice, known for its construction that allowed for double choirs/ensembles to be used, meaning part of the group would be in one balcony with another part in another balcony, making a kind of double polyphony. Pretty cool.
If you want to completely nerd out on early Renaissance polyphony, I can highly recommend the Vespers by Claudio Monteverdi. This video is about an hour and 45 minutes and one of the finest recorded examples of this work. Another of my favorites is the much shorter O Magnum Mysterium (O Great Mystery) by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). Notice that this one ends on a definitive major chord!