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3.6 Listening Gallery: Building on Identity

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  • The following two passages are taken from Beethoven’s Sonata in E-Major, Opus 109.

    How are they related?

    a) The second passage replays the melody of the first, but with new harmony. b) The second passage consists of almost the same harmonic progression as the first. c) The second fragments and develops the theme of the first, making it harmonically unstable. d) The second dramatically speeds up the harmonic rhythm. e) The two passages are not related. Except for a small alteration near the end, the second passage replays the same harmonic progression as the first, but with new surface activity.

    In Bela Bartok’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle, the following music is used to represent a room filled with tears.

    How does the following passage allude to the room of tears? (Choose one)

    a) It elaborates on the tears by shifting the tears’ gesture around in register. b) It abbreviates the tears’ gesture and repeats it more quickly. c) It slows down the pacing. d) It introduces an entirely new motive of “mourning.” e) It underscores the tears with a heavy chord in the low register. The second passage tersely echoes the rhythm, contour and texture of the tears and shortens the silences between the gestures.

    The excerpt that follows presents a primary theme from the first movement of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished.”

    How does the following passage relate to this theme? (Choose one)

    a) The passage is built from the theme’s head motive. b) The passage is built from an interior motive of the theme. c) The passage is replays the theme’s harmonic progression. d) The passage begins very differently from the theme, but gradually becomes more similar. e) The passage is not related to the theme. The passage leaves off the head motive, and develops an interior motive of the theme. The interior motive is eventually rhythmically modified, becoming more martial and assertive.

    What is the relationship between these two excerpts from Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms?

    a) The textures of the two examples are very similar b) The theme introduced in the first excerpt is played in its entirety in the second, but with a new accompaniment. c) The theme introduced in the first excerpt is developed in the second through fragmentary repetition. d) Only the rhythm, but not the melodic contour, of the theme is preserved. The second excerpt with chorus and orchestra develops the theme through fragmentary repetition, particularly dwelling upon the head motive.

    Here is main theme of the second movement from Johannes Brahms’ Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Opus 120 No. 1.

    How is the following excerpt related to the theme? (Check all that apply)

    a) The theme is played in its entirety exactly as at the opening. b) The clarinet and piano trade roles. c) The resultant rhythm is different from the outset. d) In the theme, the piano’s lower register moved in small leaps. In the second excerpt, the clarinet sometimes substitutes wide jumps. e) The harmonic progression begins identically, but then veers off in a different direction. When the clarinet and piano trade roles, the resultant rhythm is initially identical. However, when the harmony departs from the original progression, so too does the rhythm.

    The opening of “Uranus” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets begins with a slow, emphatic statement played by the brass. What happens next?

    a) The brass motive is repeated twice more exactly. b) The brass repeat the motive once; then the timpani introduces a new idea. c) The complete motive is repeated twice, but at a faster speed. d) The motive is fragmented and developed. e) The motive is played backward. The motive is played twice more at a faster speed: Once by the low brass, once by the timpani.

    Here is the main theme of the third movement of Johannes Brahms’ Sonata for Clarinet, Opus 120, No. 2

    How is the following excerpt related to the theme? (check one)


    a) Brahms focuses on the head motive, using it to create a roving harmonic progression that ends far from where it began. b) The piano part is identical, but the clarinet part is new. c) The clarinet part is identical, but the piano part is new. d) Both parts are new, but the harmonic progression is very close to the original.

    How would you describe the relationship between these two excerpts from Olivier Messaien’s Turangalila Symphonie? (One correct answer)

    a) They are based on the same head motive and contour. b) They share identical harmonic progressions. c) They are orchestrated with similar textures. d) Their resultant rhythm is the same. e) There is no connection between the two excerpts.

    What is the connection between these two excerpts from the theme song for Mission Impossible?

    a) They consist of the identical melodic pattern. b) They are based on the same rhythmic pattern. c) The textures are identical. d) The second excerpt plays the rhythmic pattern in slow motion. e) The two excerpts are not related. The second excerpt presents an embellished version of the repeating rhythm that underlies the Mission Impossible theme.

    Here is the opening flute melody of Claude Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun.

    What do the following two excerpts have in common with this theme? (Choose one)

    a) They are all played by the same instrument. b) They share the same contour as the opening measures of the flute melody. c) They contain the same notes as the flute melody. d) They begin on the same pitch as the flute melody. e) They are not related to the flute melody. Although they differ in details, both excerpts share the same contour as the head motive of the flute melody: Each falls and then rises back to its starting pitch.

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