Gabrieli - Pian' e Forte - St. Mark's Cathedral

This is a mindmap of points you can make on a question about Gabrieli's Pian' e forte if you were asked:
'What features of the piece indicate it was written to be performed in St. Mark's Basillica, Venice?' (13 marks)

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  • Gabrieli - Written for St. Mark's Cathedral (splendour)
    • Instrumentation
      • Use of two coros
      • 6 sackbutts
        • Brass instruments create a regal sounding timbre
      • 1 Violin (more like modern day viola)
      • Cornett
        • Brass instruments create a regal sounding timbre
    • Venetian Polychoral style
      • Two alternating coros for two balconies of the Cathedral - cori spezzati
      • Antiphonal texture
    • Dynamics
      • Contrast between loud and soft (Gabrieli was one of the first composers to put dynamics on the score) created a special effect
    • Texture
      • 4 part free counterpoint at bars 1-25 which was special
      • 8 part antiphonal texture at bar 26 which was very grand
      • The climax of the piece is at bar bar 71 - 5 note pattern is imitated 17 times in different parts
    • Tempo
      • Slow tempo suits the celebratory church mass music for the cathedral, adds to the splendour
    • Context
      • This piece would have been performed in church during celebratory mass
      • This was the only major church in Europe that encouraged the use of instruments during mass
    • Harmony
      • Functional Harmony with cadences, like other music played at St. Mark's
        • Perfect: bars 13-14
        • Imperfect and Plagal
        • Phrygian: bars 44-45
      • Tierce de picardie at bar 14 adding to the splendour
    • Rhythm
      • There are many tied notes and sustained notes to create a ceremonial feel appropriate for the venue
      • Dotted rhythms are used to add a special feel to the music, appropriate for a special venue


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