Area of study 2.1 peripetie

Area of study 2.1 peripetie

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  • in both art and music was strongest in Germany just after WW1- this piece is an early example


  • he wanted to create strong feelings in the reader- he wished to express his personal feelings of disconsertion.
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  • the piece was completed in 1909
  • the first preformance was in london 1912
  • schoenburg said it was "a vivid, uninterrupted succession of colours and moods"
  • peripete is the 4th of 5 movements
  • it translates as a sudden change of fortune
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  • a free rondo A B A1 C A1

(All Bananas Adore Colourful Abacuses)


  • sections are defined by mood and feel rather than actual musical differences
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  • the thematic idea is a hexachord
    • a set of six random notes in any order used, in any mix.
    • it can be transposed.
    • peripetie uses A Bb C C# E F

All Baboons Call Crazy Elephants Fat

  • the primary voices are indicated by Haupstimme
  • the secondary by Nebenstimme
  • the melodies are disjointed and angular including lots of dissonances (7ths and 9ths)
  • all instruments play using their full range.
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  • for massive orchestra
    • quadruple woodwind
    • extra brass
    • fairly large percussion
    • strings are normal size
  • each section has it's own feel
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Rhythm and metre

  • detailed tempo markings that change often
  • lots of triplets and sextuplets which give an impression of speed.
    • these are used frequently in section A and can be seen as a rhythmic motif
  • Schoenberg exaggerates these changes in tempo by the length of notes 
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Section A

  • full orchestra briefly then short bursts of the different sections

section B

  • Polyphonic- builds very quickly 

Section C

  • not as busy with overlapping combinations of solo instruments- Klangfarbenmelodie -yes it's a real word
    • Klang  faben  melodie
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There isn't much,

it has no key- it's atonal

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  • Largely built on hexachords
  • this creates a dissonant effect
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  • With such a big orchestra dynamics vary massively
    • eg, in bars 5-6 the violins go from fff to pp in just two bars
  • Section b includes very restless dynamics
  • the instrument that has the 'hauptstimme' is louder then the backing
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Chanel Townsend


'peripetie'  actually translates to 'a sudden reversal'

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