Schoenberg SW4 and Davis SW7 - Riffs

Understanding the riffs seen in these set works. copyright to BBC.

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  • Created on: 22-06-11 10:04
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ARNOLD SCHOENBERG: PERIPETIE
The motifs
Peripetie is a very intense, restless and dramatic movement with frequent shifts in
orchestration, speed and mood. It is a musical kaleidoscope of constantly changing
musical patterns. It is based on a small number of ideas (motifs) which are first
stated and then transformed in different ways.
The movement opens explosively, the motifs are played one after the other, loudly and
dramatically.
Each of the motifs is based on a hexachord. A hexachord is a set of six pitches.
Motif A
Motif A opens the movement. It is a short fanfare played by three clarinets, a bass
clarinet and three bassoons. Notice the angular line, the use of triplets and the six
different pitches. The dynamic is forte (loud) with a crescendo.
Motif A is immediately followed by a short chromatic scale played by three muted
trumpets and four trombones. Trombones 1 and 2 play a glissando (a slide).
Motif B
Next comes Motif B for three flutes and piccolo, three oboes and cor anglais, plus
three clarinets in B flat and one in D (a very unusual clarinet). Notice all the
accidentals creating the dissonant chord at the end of the motif.

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Page 3

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After four bars of intro the 4bar riff is introduced. The piano, drums and bass continue
their ostinati and saxophones are added.
Listen to part of the opening of 'All Blues'. You can hear part of the intro (piano, bass
and drums) and then the riff begins on the saxophones.
Head 1
Head 1 follows the riff with the muted trumpet playing the melody. Miles Davis uses a
Harmon mute. Look at the opening bars of the trumpet part.…read more

Page 4

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Listen to trumpet solo 2. The Harmon mute has now been taken out. Notice the
difference this makes to the sound. The mood though remains laid back and
restrained.
Other instrument solos
The trumpet solos are followed by four choruses for alto saxophone. The style
changes with the sax playing rapid scales and arpeggios, and focusing on the higher
register of the instrument.
The alto sax solo is followed by four choruses for tenor saxophone.…read more

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