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Listening Outlines, Vocal Music Guides, and the Properties of Sound (Continuation)


Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III (1848), by Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) utilizes dynamic differences to lay the perfect scene for the heroine and hero's wedding in his drama Lohengrin, Prelude to Act 3. The great sound of the orchestra creates an energetic atmopshere, having the preface opens with a sensation of celebration. The the music abruptly becomes quiet and less instruments are heard- those that are heard are being played delicately. The full orchestra plays yet once again, bringing forth an unexpected contrast.

WAGNER, Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III

3 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, tambourine, 1st violins, 2d violins, violas, cellos, double basses (Duration 2:59)

Pay attention and take note of differentiation of dynamics and tone colour between the full orchestra (in 1.a.) and the oboe tune (in 2).


00:00 a. Full orchestra, very loud (ff), main melody in violins, cymbal crashes.

00:26 b. Brass melody, pulsating accompaniment strings.

1:13 c. Full orchestra, fundamental tune in violins, cymbal crashes.


1:25 Soft (p), contrasting oboe melody. Melody repeates by flute. Clarinet and violins continue.


2:16 a. Full orchestra, very loud (ff), main melody in violins, cymbal crashes.

2:27 b. Brass melody, pulsating accompaniment in strings.

2:52 c. Cymbals, very loud orchestral close.

The Firebird, Scene 2 (1910), by Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (18821971) in the second and last scene of his ballet The Firebird, one song melody is rehashed over and over- this brings forth assortment and differentiation via the changes of tone colour, rhythm, and dynamics. This scene displays victory for the hero, resulting in an engagement with a stunning princess.

The subsequent scene starts delicately- as the music steadily develops stronger, or louder, (crescendo), the scene becomes greater as the more instruments play (higher pitches). As all instruments quit playing, except the strings, a while later. A splendid concluding segment as a fast crescendo occurs.

Listening Outline STRAVINSKY, The Firebird, Scene 2

Piccolo, 3 flutes, 3 oboes, English horn, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 French horns, 6 trumpets, tuba, timpani, triangle, cymbals, bass drum, 3 harps, 1st violins, 2d violins, violas, cellos, double basses (Duration 3:06)

Pay attention to the steady crescendo (dynamics) and the reiteration of the primary tune in progressively higher octaves (pitch) during 1.a-e.


0:00 a. Slow melody in French horn, soft (p), quivering string accompaniment.

0:29 b. Violins, soft, melody an octave higher. Flutes join.

0:43 c. Grows louder (crescendo) as more instruments enter.

1:03 d. Violins and flutes, loud (f), melody at even higher octave, crescendo to

1:17 e. Full orchestra, melody very loud (ff), timpani (kettledrums).

1:34 f. Suddenly very soft (pp), strings, quick crescendo to.


1:41 a. Brasses, very loud (ff), melody in quick detached notes, timpani.

2:04 b. Melody in slower, accented notes, brasses, ff, timpani, music gradually slows.

2:35 c. High held tone, ff, brass chords, extremely loud (fff), lead to sudden pp and crescendo to extremely loud close.

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