Skip to main content
Library homepage
 
Humanities LibreTexts

1.13: Listening Gallery- Time's Effect

  • Page ID
    55750
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Listen to this movement from Bach's Cantata No. 52. Does time have an effect on the material?

    Time does not have an effect. Time does have an effect. The opening section is reprised exactly and in its entirety. Time does not have an effect.


    Listen to the second, third and fourth movements of Earl Kim's Now and Then. The second movement, Thither, is reprised. Does time have an effect?

    Time does not have an effect. Time does have an effect.

    The second movement song, Thither, is replayed identically. Time does not have an effect.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Click when you hear a new section. Use the pull-down menus to label the section. Use the prime notation if a refrain is transformed in some way.

    Answer

    The first refrain of the A-section is literal. The only change is that, this time, the melody is played only once and then proceeds directly into the C-section, rendering the connection more impulsive.

    The C-section is characterized by a new, faster underlying rhythm. When the A-section once again returns, the accompaniment does not revert to its earlier speed as expected. Instead, the C-section's faster rhythm continues, blurring the distinction between the two sections. Instead of reverting to the original A-section, Beethoven's ending is gently progressive.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Click whenever you hear a return to the opening passage. Has time had an effect?

    Answer

    The first refrain of the A-section is literal and complete. The second begins identically, but then a haunting transformation takes place: The theme, which had been continuous, is broken up into fragments, separated by silences.

    Time has had an effect! Where do the silences come from? Compare the starting and stopping nature of the A′-section with this passage from earlier in the work:

    Mozart never returns to the original A-section: The fragmented version is the last one we hear.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

    Click whenever you hear a return to the opening passage. Has time had an effect?

    Answer

    At the first refrain, time does have an effect. The opening rhythmic patterns return only in the lower strings, juxtaposed against a lyrical melody in the first violin. As the section is prolonged, the rhythmic patterns and melodic fragments circulate among the instruments.

    At the final refrain, time does not have an effect. The ending is a literal restatement of the opening passage. It is, however, cut short and ends unexpectedly in the middle of a phrase. If you chose that "time does have an effect" for this reason, then you have a valid argument.

    The second half of this movement is filled with fragmentary refrains of earlier passages. These fragments are relatively equal in length; the final refrain of the A-section fits the expected proportion. So, although it is abbreviated, the final refrain is not shockingly short: The music has never offered a complete restatement; it has taught us to expect only excerpts. In all other respects, the final refrain's identity is secure. That is why, in my opinion, the listener will consider that time has not had an effect--or has had a negligible one--at the movement's close. Nevertheless, the movement ends suspensively, preparing the way for the quartet to continue.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    Listen to the opening of Schubert’s String Quartet no. 15 in G-Major and compare it with its refrain later in the movement. Has time had an effect on the material?

    Yes, time has an effect. No, time does not have effect.

    Answer

    Yes, time has an effect. The refrain has a very different character than the opening: It is more gentle and lyrical. Plucked sounds take the place of the aggressive chords. The dotted rhythms of the opening are smoothed out. The melody hesitates where it didn’t before and adds embellishments. All of these changes support a remarkable feature: The original version begins with a sustained G-Major triad that is replaced by a sharply accentuated g-minor chord. The refrain does the reverse: It is the minor that enters first, only to be replaced by the Major one, this time gracefully plucked! Even if the tonal contrast between Major and minor is unfamiliar or hard to hear, you won’t miss the other transformations that support this switch.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    Listen to the following excerpt from Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7. When the reprise of the opening occurs, does time have an effect on the material?

    Yes, time has an effect. No, time does not have effect.

    Answer

    Yes, time has an effect. In the return, the theme is mainly plucked, rather than bowed. There are sudden interjections. The rhythms are also subtly changed.

    FURTHER LISTENING: Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" is a seminal example of time strengthening the material. The piece consists of the same melody repeated over and over, each time with heavier orchestration. Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting In A Room" is an experimental example of time weakening the material. The composer recorded himself reading a brief text. He then broadcast the recording into a room and recorded it. He took that recording, broadcast it and recorded it. As he repeated this circular process, the fidelity of the recording gradually degraded, until all that was left was the resonance frequency of the room vibrating with the rhythm of his voice.


    This page titled 1.13: Listening Gallery- Time's Effect is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anthony Brandt & Robert McClure (OpenStax CNX) .

    • Was this article helpful?