A Level Music: Quartet Op.22: Movement 1 by Webern

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  • Quartet Op.22: Movement 1 by Webern
    • Background
      • 1930
      • 1st mvment of 2
      • Requires highly skilled players
    • Resources
      • Widest range of timbre from small no. of players
      • Quartet: Violin, clarinet, saxohpone (non-jazzy) and piano.
      • Wide variety of techniques = maximum variation of tone colour
        • Violin: bars 1-17: mit Dampfer (with mute): arco, pizz, both: bars 22-23.
        • Piano: spread chords (arrows indicating direction)
      • Large pitch range: e.g. violin, top C, bar 22.
      • Wide dynamic range: most music is quiet apart from random 'f': e.g. 'ff' bar 22
    • Structure
      • Sonata Form: difficult to hear this (wanted to combine classical with serialism)
        • Intro: bars 1-5: mirror canons
          • Exposition: bars 6-15: main serial theme (prime row). Then repeated.
        • Development: bars 16-23: rises to climaz at bar 22 (top C), leading to retrograde version of music immediately preceding it: palindrome.
          • Link: bars 24-27
            • Recap: bars  28-39: row appears in Klangfarbenmelodie: notes moving around instrumental parts
              • Coda: bars 39-43: introduction but reversed (ending with first note)
    • Tonality
      • Atonal and serial
      • Serialism: arrangement of series of notes in fixed order
        • Order remains same, yet series can be inverted, retrograded or retrograde inversion
          • Each of 4 versions of series could be transposed up or down by 11 semitones: 48 possible versions of the row!
    • Harmony
      • Notes occur individually, so frequently there is no harmony
        • Two or more notes together: dissonance
          • First 'chord' at beginning of 2nd bar produces a clashing major 2nd interval
            • 3 notes sound at same time: bar 20: C# clashes against D and Eb
    • Rhythm
      • Frequent rests: fragmentary sound
      • Sounds more continuous as it reaches climax (bar 20)
      • Three recurring rhythmic groupings
        • 1) semiquaver-quaver-semiquaver-rest-quaver (first 3 sax notes)
        • 2) 3 semiquavers (piano: bar 3)
        • 3) 2 semiquavers (violins: bars 3-4)
      • Precisely notated (part of tone colour melody idea)
        • Enhanced by tenuto and staccato markings
      • Pause mark: just before recap
    • Metre
      • Mostly in triple time: no sense of metre as time sig changes frequently to quintuple and  quadruplemetre
      • Slow speed: 'sehr massig' (very moderate)
        • Frequent changes: ritardando, a tempo. Calando (quieter and slower) towards end
    • Textures
      • Thin, even at climax with all 5 lines playing
      • Rests prevent more than 3 parts playing together at same time
      • Fundamentally polyphonic (there are 5 parts), but often monophonic
        • Only occasionally in 5 bar intro do 2 parts sound together
      • Mirror canons (beginning): the standard version of a phrase is imitated by inversion (upside down version) of same music
    • Melody
      • Tone Row
      • Wide angular intervals
      • Interval of tritone (diminished 5th or augmented 4th) occurs between 10th/11th notes of series
        • Detracts from sense of key
      • Melodic lines are fragmentary
      • Dividing notes between instruments and using a wide variety or instrumental techniques was called klangfarbenmelodie
      • Pointillist: little splashes of varying instrumental colour



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