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Brief Analysis on Handel's Messiah

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Handel's Messiah No. 47 - Behold I Tell You a Myst

Behold I Tell You a Mystery

  • recitative secco - dry recitative
  • comes before an aria - The Trumpet Shall Sound (aria obbligato)
  • narration - set mood for what is to come in aria - ressurection of Jesus

Analysis

  • b. 1-2 in bass voice outline tonic triad notes
  • dominant 7th chord used in b. 4 - would expect a Bb instead of an A#
  • rhythmic language speads up at b. 5
  • accompaniment goes from playing minims to quavers and semiquavers - changes the momentum - gives a dramatic effect -> word painting - 'chang'd, in a moment'
  • b. 5 bass voice semiquavers become more frequent - prepares for trumpet
  • b. 5 G# used - chromaticism - leads toward A major
  • b. 6-8 antiphony between bass voice and accompaniment
  • b. 6 fanfair like chords herrold the trumpets
  • b. 8 A major chord - ends on dominant of D major - effect of imperfect cadence - but not
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Handel's Messiah No. 48 - The Trumpet Shall Sound

The Trumpet Shall Sound

  • aria obbligato - aria with a solo instrument
  • in the same key signature (D major) as Behold I Tell You a Mystery (recitative) - they link into each other

Analysis

  • major key - dotted rhythm - majestic - Jesus' resurrection - marked Pomposo, ma non allegro (pompously, but not fast)
  • b. 1 tutti orchestra + trumpet
  • instrumentation - cleverly uses trumpet because of title
  • b. 1-3 outlines the chord of D major
  • ornaments - trills - stereotypical of Baroque period
  • b. 9 & 11 sequencing in trumpet part
  • b. 9-19 antiphony between orchestra and trumpet
  • b. 28 rhythmic motif enters in bass voice
  • b. 28 tonic chord established
  • b. 30 word painting - sustained note on 'sound'
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Handel's Messiah No 48 - The Trumpet Shall Sound (

  • bass voice mostly has crotchets and quavers
  • b. 34-35 antiphony between bass voice and trumpet
  • b. 35 dotted rhythm kept for trumpet
  • b. 38 & 50 word painting - melody rises on 'dead shall be raised' - each time it's sung in the piece the note is higher
  • b. 45-46 modulates as melody outlines the chord of A major
  • b. 57 chromaticism with the G
  • bass voice mostly syllabic - sometimes melismatic e.g. b. 60-65
  • b. 68-78 antiphony between strings and trumpet
  • b. 79 return to D major - outlined by octave leap
  • b. 102 word painting - rhythm is always slightly changed  at 'be changed'
  • b.121 & 122 consecutive 6ths and 3rds - gives harmonic orchestral support
  • b. 137-138 interrupted cadence - Ic - VI
  • DeCapo Aria
  • 176-177 hemiola is achieved by ties
  • b. 185-194 word painting - 'immortal' - reflects something thats never ending
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Handel's Messiah No. 20 - He Shall Feed His Flock

He Shall Feed His Flock Like A Shepherd

  • aria
  • Binary form A,B,A,B
  • compound signature - reflective of name as it is often used in folk music
  • comfortable range for instruments

Analysis

  • piece is a mixture of syllabic and melismatic word setting
  • moves mainly in step
  • b. 2 upper piano part moves in contrary motion - common in Baroque Period
  • b. 6-7 modulates to F major
  • b. 19-20 sequencing in soprano part
  • b. 22 word painting - 'gently' moves by step
  • b. 27 word painting - 'labour' octave leap - hard work
  • b. 42 word painting - 'rest' sustained note
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Handel's Messiah No. 14a - There Were Shepherds Ab

There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field

  • recitative secco - accompaniment is simple - emphasis on words
  • C major

Analysis

  • soprano comes in with dominant then up to tonic - major theme
  • syllabic setting - simple e.g. b. 1 'step-herds'
  • b. 2 chord 7 over tonic - prepares us for chord change in b. 3
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Handel's Messiah No. 14b - And, Lo, The Angel of t

And, Lo, The Angel of the Lord Came Upon Them

  • recitative accompagnato - accompaniment is more complex than melody
  • F major - subdominant of C major - There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field

Analysis

  • broken chord figure - main feature of accompaniment
  • b. 1 broken chord feature outlines key - chord I
  • b. 1 tonic pedal in accompaniment
  • b. 2 added 7th in accompaniment - chord I7
  • syllabic setting in soprano voice
  • b. 3 chord IVb - D in bass
  • b. 4 word painting - 'glory' highest note in section
  • b. 5 chord V7b - E in bass
  • b. 7 perfect cadence - V-I
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Handel's Messiah No. 15 - And the Angel Said Unto

And the Angel Said Unto Them

  • recitative secco- accompaniment is simple -emphasis on words
  • A major

Analysis

  • b. 1 soprano voice starts on the tonic - makes key clear
  • b. 1 starts on chord Ib
  • syllabic setting
  • b. 5 melodic minor - raised 6th - shows the shift
  • b. 9 E# - indicates F minor
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Handel's Messiah No. 16 - And Suddenly There Was W

And Suddenly There Was With The Angel

  •  D major

Analysis

  • b. 1 tonic pedal
  • b. 1-2 alternating 3rds and 4ths
  • b. 3 semiquaver motif - creates excitement
  • b. 3-4 soprano's first notes are dominant then tonic
  • b. 4 semiquavers in voice heralds the modulation
  • b. 5 modulates to E major - chord changes
  • b. 5 tonic-dominant melody
  • b. 7 chord IV
  • b. 7 ambiguous key 
  • b. 8 ends in E major- helps lead into Glory To God
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Handel's Messiah No. 17 - Glory To God (Chorus)

Glory To God

  • chorus
  • D major

Analysis

  • And Suddenly There Was With The Angel ends on E - subdominant of D major
  • b. 1-4 1st subject in S,A,T
  • b. 1-4 semiquaver runs in accompaniment - creates excitement
  • b. 1 starts with dotted rhythm - majestic feel
  • syllabic setting
  • b. 5-7 2nd subject in T,B - longer rhythms - shorter phrase - static notes - don't jump around
  • b. 6 word painting - 'peace' less busy and peaceful - sustained chords
  • b. 7 gentle quavers and p dynamics
  • b. 10 1st subject returns - start with tonic and dominant
  • b. 14 2nd subject returns
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Handel's Messiah No. 17 - Glory To God (Chorus) co

  • b. 18 3rd subject enters
  • b. 18 staggered entry - canonic entry
  • b. 72 antiphony between SATB
  • b. 40-42 extended cadence - stereotypical of Baroque period
  • b. 47-49 perfect cadence - V-V-I - unusual ending on B7 chord
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