A Level Music: Kinderscenen by Schumann (Overview)

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  • Kinderscenen, Movements No 1, 3 and 11 by Schumann
    • Background
      • Written in 1838 aged 28
      • Piano minatures
      • Scenes from Childhood
      • Collection of 13 short pieces
      • Written at time of change (romantic perod): programme music, daring compositional techniques
      • Music ABOUT children, not for them to play
      • Reflection of his own personal life: law battle to marry Clara
    • Resources
      • Piano
      • Major changes to instrument
        • Iron frame: greater resonance and sustaining power
        • Use of felt rather than leather to cover hammers: altered tone to mellower, less strident quality
        • Way piano was played change as result of these improvements
        • More virtuosic playing: concerts, recitals
        • Sustaining pedal
    • Structure
      • Rounded binary form: typical form for baroque dance movements
      • Nostalgic simplicity
    • Tonality
      • Functional
      • Modulations to related keys
    • Harmony
      • Functional
      • Clearly defined cadences
      • Mainly diatonic harmony with occasional chromatic chords
    • Rhythm
      • Simple rhythms typically established and maintained for a whole piece
        • Romantic composers base a pieceof a single rhythmic and expressive idea which embraces melody and accompaniment
          • This naturally leads to shorter pieces (capturing a mood in a single phrase)
    • Metre
      • Duple time signatures for all three pieces
        • Other pieces in set use simple triple and quadruple
    • Textures
      • Melody dominated homophony
    • Melody
      • Diatonic melodies
      • Balanced phrasing as these are 'songs without words' that could accompany lines of lyric poetry

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