Barrington Pheloung - Morse on the Case

Revision cards on Morse on the Case set work for unit 6: Further Musical Understanding for Edexcel A2 Music. 

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  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 09-06-12 17:51

Background/Context + Performing forces

  • Widely known for his music for television
  • Wrote for Morse which is a detective series
  • Music is written for strings, obeo, 4 horns in F, harp and piano
  • Solo oboe enters b49 and accomp by piano
  • 4 horns play almost in unison at the end
  • Piano part sparesly textured 
  • Harp present almost continuously
  • dynamic range pp to mf
  • extremes of pitch range avoided 
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Texture and Structure

  • most of the time sustained notes in strings play against melodic passages in poano which are often slow moving (static)
  • changes to density are important: monophony b59-64
  • sustained octave in oboe and violins b66-68 above which piano has melody
  • No clear structure
  • Section A: b1-50 features horn 
  • Section B: ends b97 with obe no horn or harp
  • Section C: b98-112 shorter closing section features 4 horns 
  • There could instead be two sections with section I: b1-60 and section II: b61-112
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Tonality and Harmony

  • chord of C major at end but piece is not in C major
  • poised between A minor/ C major
  • verging on biotonality
  • sometimes Aeolian mode 
  • Harmony not functional no use of primary chords
  • most harmony combines melodic strands
  • mixture of consonant intervals and milder dissonant ones (perfect 4ths, major 2nds, minor 7ths)
  • b52 strong dissonance between oboe + piano, b67 piano against D in oboe and violins, b92-95 piano agains A naturals in violas
  • Drones
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Melody and Rhythm + metre

  • sucessions of sustained nores as in piano b1-6 unision strings b1-11
  • more rapid melodic events such as piano b8-12 or b26-27
  • Major 2nds and perfect 4th intervals maintain melody unity
  • several figures span 5th like DEA figure
  • in harp EAB, in piano DAG
  • has 4/4 time throughout, no obvious
  • music is static with very long notes 
  • starts on weak semiquaver (2nd or 4th crotchet)
  • notes have irregular values (like notes on piano lasting for 5/6 semiquavers)
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