A Level Music: 'Take Her to the Sea, Mr Murdoch' from Titanic, James Horner

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  • 'Take Her to the Sea, Mr Murdoch' from Titanic (1997) by James Horner
    • Resources
      • Orchestra, Voices, Synthesised Vocal Sounds, 2 Harps and Piano
      • Orchestrs has standard sections & instruments used traditionally.
      • Percussion  interesting: timpani, suspended cymbal, bass drum, tubular bells, bell tree, a glockenspiel and sleigh bells.
      • Doubled parts, limited range
    • Structure
      • Reflects what's happening in the film - helps tell the story
      • Through-composed
      • Defined by melodic sections: 'the Leaving of Liverpool' and 'Dance Section'
      • Repetition
    • Texture
      • Homophonic: bar 80
      • Homorhythmic: bar 37
      • Heterophonic: bar 21 (same melody, different rhythms), trombone, horns, violin II & viola
      • Imitation: opening
      • Pedals: bars 11, 57 and 106 in double bass (establishes key)
        • Accented pedal notes: bar 8 in viola
      • Octaves: bar 11 in cello
    • Rhythm
      • Syncopation: bar 37
      • Quavers, semiquavers, crotchets and minims = rhythmically standard
      • Quaver triplets: bar 57
      • Augmentation of 'Leaving of Liverpool' - (note lengths doubled): bar 86
      • Rhythm gradually builds (gets faster as ship moves)
    • Metre
      • 3/4
      • Moves to 4/4, 3/2, 5/4 and 2/2
        • Changing time signature = ambiguous beat
        • 5/4 at bar 37: folk feel = irish nationality
        • Keeps piece moving forward
      • Andante tempo at beginning
    • Tonality
      • Traditional and diatonic
      • Opens in Eb Major, yet sounds modal (Raised Lydian 4th)
        • Tonally ambiguous at beginning: no written key sig & Lydian 4th blurs key
      • Modulates frequently to unrelated keys
        • Modulations occur without candences
          • Therefore, modulates in tertiary movement, i.e. in 3rds
            • Begins in D maj: bar 8, B maj: bar 15, Ab maj: bar 19
            • Next tertiary movement begins in E maj: bar 21, C maj: bar 23, A maj: bar 25
            • Key settles in G maj: bar 30 (calmer feel)
              • Abrupt key change to D maj: bar 57
                • Final tertiary movement at bar 86 to B major (from D)
            • Helps build excitement
            • Piece ends in B major
              • Final chord is missing 3rd (hollow sound of bare 5ths)
    • Harmony
      • Tonal, diatonic and functional
        • Mostly diatonic: bar 37 (trad. dance tune)
      • Mostly roots and first inversion chords
      • Pedals: bars 11, 57 and 106 in double bass (establishes key)
        • Accented pedal notes: bar 8 in viola
      • Perfect cadences rare
        • Piece moves from one key to another with preparation
        • There is one at end of piece
      • Circle of 5ths in bass: bars 41-53
      • A Major: bar 25, yet a random Eb maj chord is heard in bar 26
    • Melody
      • Opening figure: rising, based on Eb maj, yet Ab (4th note) is raised
        • Raised Lydian 4th - modal quality, and hints folk
        • Inversion: 2nd bar inverts 1st
        • Outline of this re-occurs with ostinato played in viola: bar 12
      • 'Leaving of Liverpool': bar 30
        • Based on first 2 bars of trad. Irish ballad
        • Outlines G major arp and scale
      • 'Dance Melody': bar 37
        • Written in 5/4
        • Appears again in 6/4: bar 68
        • Syncopated
        • Restricted, similar movement
          • Reflects waves
        • Conjunct and repetitive
  • Percussion  interesting: timpani, suspended cymbal, bass drum, tubular bells, bell tree, a glockenspiel and sleigh bells.

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