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1.3: Listening Gallery- How Music Makes Sense

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    The following short works or excerpts are each based on a single pattern that is repeated throughout the work.

    These terms will help you answer the questions about how the basic patterns are varied.

    The support underlying a melody. For instance, in a typical show tune, the singer performs the melody, while the band provides the accompaniment.
    Whether the basic pattern is played right side up or upside down
    How many notes are played at the same time. For instance, if a pianist plays a chord with all ten fingers, that sound is of higher density that if she or he were to just play with a single finger.
    The loudness of the music
    Smaller segments of the basic pattern are repeated, rather than the whole
    The instruments that are playing the pattern.
    How "high" or "low" the pattern is played. Men sing in the low register, women in the upper. The pianist's left hand generally plays in the low register, the right hand in the upper.
    How fast the pattern is played
    The number of notes in a pattern. For instance, the pattern "da-da-dum, da-da-dum, da-da-dum " consists of a series of three note groupings, whereas "da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum" is made up of four note groupings. "Da-dum, da-da-da-dum, da-da-dum" consists of mixed groupings.

    Listen to Bach's Invention no. 14 in B-flat Major.

    In the following list, mark all of the ways that Bach uses to vary the repetition of his basic pattern:

    Register Contour Density Speed Fragmentation The pattern always occurs at the same speed. Otherwise, Bach uses all of the other means of varying the repetition: The melody is played high and low. It is turned right side up and upside down. It is sometimes in one hand alone, sometimes in both together. It is fragmented, creating passages of greater momentum.

    From the following list, what most contributes to varying the repetition in Chopin's Prelude No. 23 in F-Major?

    Speed Dynamics Register Register. The pattern constantly shifts register, getting higher and higher until finally sinking at the ending.

    In the following excerpt from Gustav Holst's The Planets, the short melody is repeated fifteen times. How many times is the melody repeated exactly the same way?

    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0. It is never repeated the same way twice.

    From the following list, mark all of the ways that Holst uses to vary the repetitions of the melody.

    Accompaniment Contour Dynamics Orchestration Speed Register The melody is always played with the same contour and at the same speed. Holst uses all of the other means to create variety: The accompaniment to the melody changes from a gentle pulse to a more passionate underpinning. The dynamics get gradually louder, then softer. The orchestration changes with almost every appearance of the melody: It begins in the violin, then it is played by the oboe, flute and glockenspiel. Register is also used to vary the melody: The glockenspiel plays it very high; later in the excerpt, the lower strings take over the melody.

    In Charles Ives' song The Cage, the piano accompaniment is extremely unified. Except for the unexpected chord at the word "Wonder," the accompaniment consists only of varied repetitions a single, complex chord-as a way of showing a leopard confined in its cage.

    In the following list, mark all of the ways that Ives uses to vary the repetition of the chord:

    Speed Register Dynamics All of the above! Ives uses speed, register and dynamics to vary how the chord is played. In the middle section of the song, for instance, the chords become quite spaced apart (speed). At the opening, the chords are low and loud; when the voice enters, they get higher and softer.

    Ligeti's Musica ricercata No. 1 is based on just a single note: Only the very last note is different! In the following list, mark all of the ways that Ligeti uses to vary the repetition of the single note.

    Speed Density Dynamics Groupings Register All of the above! Thanks to all of these means, Ligeti is able to create a very vibrant and dramatic piece using only one note!

    FURTHER LISTENING: Bernard Rand's "Le Tambourin" is a suite of orchestral pieces drawn from his opera about Vincent Van Gogh. In the movement "Sorrow," Rands creates repetition without redundancy by modeling his compositional method on a technique used by Van Gogh. In sketching his model, Van Gogh placed three sheets of paper on top of one another. His first, rather spare sketch left imprints on the pages beneath. He then removed the top sheet and repeated the process, adding more detail. He then performed the same operation with the third sheet, making it the most elaborate. Rands treats his music in an analogous manner: He presents an initial passage of music. He then repeats this music identically, but adds new details. A third layer of music is then added to the first two. Thus, the music gradually accumulates in the same way as Van Gogh's imprints.

    This page titled 1.3: Listening Gallery- How Music Makes Sense is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anthony Brandt & Robert McClure (OpenStax CNX) .

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