And The Glory of The Lord-Handel

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Features of Baroque Music

The Baroque era began in 1600 and ended in 1750.  Messiah performed in 1742.

Features of the era

Ornamented melodic parts.

Established key- Minor or Major this replaces modes.

Diatonic chords are used.

'Basso Continuo', the harpsichord or organ playing continuous chordal support.  The bass  line was usually played by the Cello.

Different music textures such as homophonic.

Use of a Baroque Orchestra, harpsichord used for harmonies, new string members were used and woodwind varied depending on the piece.

One affection or mood.

Contrasting dynamics.

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Key Idea 1

And the glory, the glory of the Lord(

This idea has two main features.  The first three notes outline a triad (A major).  The second feature is the stepwise scale ending.

Idea one is mainly syballic meaning one note per syllable.

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Key Idea 2

Shall be Revealed(

This idea is built up using two one bar descending sequences.  The word 'revealed' is set as melismatic (several notes to one syllable).

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Key Idea 3

And all flesh shall see it together(

This idea is reptitive as it consists of three statements of the descending fourth idea.

As its repeated it gives the impression of a firm statement.

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Key Idea 4

For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it(

Characterised by long, dotted minum notes.  This emphasises conviction and makes it clearer to hear and understand.  Handel doubles this part with Tenors and Basses.

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Texture and Instrumentation

What type of texture is used in 'And the Glory of the Lord'

The majority of  'And the glory of the Lord' is in a homophonic texture.  An example of this is bar 33-38.

However Handel uses imitation to create a polyphonic texture.  His use of imitation is found in bars 17 from beat 3 onwards.

Handel also creates a monophonic texture at bars 11-13.

Instruments used

A SATB choir (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass)

Handel also uses two violins, a viola and a cello for the bass line.  This orchestra normally doubles the voice part.

Handel expanded the orchestra for later performances.

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Rhythm, Tempo and Metre


The tempo is allegro up to bar 136 changing to Adagio preparing the audience for the end.


The piece is in 3/4.


The first three ideas contain mainly quavers and crotchets.  The fouth however contrasts this with longer, dotted note that makes the motif emphasise the lyrics.

Handel uses hemiola rhythms to create a syncopation effect. This makes the music feel like is has two beats rather than three beats because notes are grouped in two.  This is a harmonic device and is usually used towards a cadence point.  an example of this is bar 4.

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Structure, Tonality, Harmony and Melody

Structure of the Oratorio

The oratorio follows closely the form of an Italian Opera.  It uses Arias, Recitatives and Choruses.  And the Glory of the Lord is the first chorus in Messiah and its purpose is to summarise what has happened.  As it is at the beginning not much has happened yet so its mainly about creating a joyful mood.

The Tonality

And the glory of the Lord is in A Major.  During the piece it modulates to E major and B Major. 


The piece is made up of four ideas repeated that are combined in deifferent ways to add melodic interest.  it uses repetition and imitation.


The piece is mainly diatonic, folloowing stepwise rather than making leaps.  Harmonic rhythm is one chord per bar or two+one.

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Bar numbers to remember

Single line writing (monophonic)- Bars 11-13

Four part choir (homophoni)- Bars 33 (beat 3)-38

Simple Imitation-Bar 17 (beat 3) onwards

Two ideas together-Bars 110-113

Doubling of Parts-Bar 51 onwards 'for the mouth'

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Key Words

Syballic-  One note per syllable.

Melismatic- Several notes per syllable.

Imitative- Seperate parts copying or imitating each other.  if the imitation is exactly the same this will be a canon.

Hemiola- In triple time, this is a harmonic device often used tpwards a cadence point, in which notes are grouped in two beat units.

Homophonic- Commom music texture comprising a melody part and accompaniment.

Polyphonic- Texture consisting of two or more lines of independent melodies.

Monophonic- Texture with Single part melody.

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thanks this was a great help, allowed me to shorten notes



Amazing! Really helpful, especially  the detail on the melodic lines

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