A Level Music: Kinderscenen by Schumann: No 11

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  • Kinderscenen: No 11, Frightening by Schumann
    • Structure
      • Symmetrical Rondo Form
      • ABACABA
      • Each section is 8 bars long
      • B section consists of 4 bars repeated
      • A section is called the refrain, while the other sections, B: bars 9-12 and repeated: bars 37-40 and C: bars 21-28 are called episodes
        • Both episodes contrast vividly with refrain
          • Schneller (faster): bars 9 and 37
    • Tonality
      • Key wavers between E minor and G major
        • E minor: initial I-Vb progression at start of piece
        • Chromatic lower parts blur sense of key
        • G major: established: bars 3-4, continuing to the imperfect cadence: bar 8
      • Refrain: two smoothing 4-bar phrases in G major
        • Both start with chromatic harmony that disguises key: both end with clear imperfect cadences in G
      • Schneller (faster) section: starts in E minor: confirmed by a cadence: bar 9
        • 2 bars in E minor are repeated in sequence a third lower (C major), but ends on an ambiguous 2nd inversion chord of E minor
      • No clear tonal centre in section C - shifting chromaticism gives an unsettling effect reflecting the theme, 'fear'
    • Harmony
      • Rhythmic placing of cadences every 4 bars seems mechanical, yet they appear in varied forms
      • Imperfect cadences are frequent: bars 4 and 8 in G
        • Traditional, root position chords are avoided
        • When there is a perfect cadence, the tonic chord is placed on weaker beat than dominant: bar 24 and 48
      • Chromatic harmony: opening 2 bars are highly chromatic and include parallel diminished chords: bar 2
    • Metre
      • 2/4
    • Rhythm
      • Dotted rhythms - push music forward in alternate bars of A
      • Each episode has own characteristic rhythm
        • Semiquavers in pairs: B
        • Semiquavers in groups of 4: C
          • Off-beat sforzandi for 4 bars only
      • Off-beat rhythms in accompaniment of B and aggressively on alternate quavers: C
    • Textures
      • Basic 3 and 4 part texture, yet Schumann adapts this to the expressive needs of the movement
        • LH thumb at top of accompanying chords repeats the melody notes an octave lower: bars 25-27
      • Opening: melody supported by lower 2 parts descending in 3rds
        • 4-part harmony can be heard: bar 3, involving some rhythmic independence between component lines
          • Opening texture is then inverted: bar 5, with tune in lowest part, whilst the accompaniment is in RH
            • B: bass tune with short off-beat chords accompanying above
              • C: contrasting, alternating rapid semiquaver movement in 6ths, single bass notes and full 5 or 6 part chords
      • Melody dominated homophony: bars 25-28, uses a stride-like accompaniment reminiscient of No 3
    • Melody
      • Mostly diatonic, apart from chromaticism: bar 2 of A
      • Modified version of opening melody: bars 5-8 in bass
      • B Section: disjunct bass melody with octave leaps in sequence
      • 2nd half of C: bars 25-28, 2-bar phrase with semitone movement which spans a diminished 4th and is in sequence
      • Idiomatic piano writing: use of bass melody with RH accomp: bars 5-6 and 9-12  and sudden contrast of dynamics and off-beat accents: bars 21-24

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