Belioz - Harold in Italy: Movement III

Revision cards to summarise the main points in Harold in Italy movement three for A2 Edexcel students for Unit 6 Further Musical Understanding. 

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  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 23-05-12 09:50

Context/Background information

  • born in France and originally studied medicine
  • 1830 composed symphonie fantastique, 1834 composed Harold in Italy
  • influenced by Beethoven who 'opened up a new world of music' 
  • programme music: Byron's 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' poem describes travels of young man looking for distractions in foreign lands: captures mood of this
  • idee fix - theme is announced in 1st movement
  • used expanded orchestra
  • solo viola part was intended for paganini but paganini refused it because there was not enough to play
  • symphony rather than concerto
  • influence of folk music from Abruzzi mountains (eg saltarello rhythms)
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Performing Forces + Handling

  • uses romantic era symphony orchestra without, trumpets, cornets, trombones and percussion
  • horns are in different keys
  • violas divided in opening to enable lower string drones
  • piccolo and obeo represent pifferi (rustic oboe)
  • pizzacato on strings with double stopping - guitar like serenade
  • clarinet uses low chalumeaux register with broken chords b48
  • b53 arco
  • final section strings play with mute (con sordini)
  • harp plays harmonics
  • solo viola plays b65 idee fix with longer note values 
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Melody dominated homophony with variations: 

  • opening of piece starts with a drone. Violas play same notes with rhythmic figure. Main melodic material played in octaves. 
  • Allegretto strings play homophonic accompaniment to serenade theme. violas maintain broken chord figure. 
  • b.53 strings play octaves in chromatic counter melody to woodwind
  • b60 horns play call version of serenade theme. 
  • idee fix long notes on viola provides additional strand b65
  • semi quaver figures in cellos
  • b79-80 dialogue between cor anglas/oboe
  • b166 main themes layered above saltarello rhythm
  • b202-206 monophonic statement of serenade theme
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movement replaces scherzo in standard symphony.

Has broad ABA structure. 

Section A: b1-31 allegro assai

Section B: b32-135 Allegretto

Section A: b136-165

Extended Coda: b166-208 Allegretto

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In the Key of C major and limited modulations (represents folk character)

  • Allegro assai clearly defines by constant tonic pedal
  • modal inflections (B flat) 
  • serenade theme in C. 
  • b100 in D minor is only strong modulation
  • Saltarello material to end music remains in C major. 
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  • Diatonic with some chromatic inflections
  • chords in all inversions - some stock progressions
  • harmony in Allegro assai is built on tonic pedal C
  • serenade section imperfect cadence A minor with 4-3 suspension
  • theme ends with perfect cadence in C at b46-47
  • 2nd part of serenade material more chromatic
  • key seems briefly in G minor b53-54
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Salterrello melody (allegro assai): influence by folk apparent by repeated notes, conjunct movement, range of 8th, grace notes, B flat modal inflection, one bar cells and some inversion of basic material. 

Serenade melody (allegretto): opens with arpeggio figure in c major, falling 3rd reminiscent of idee fix, falling 6th b45, chromaticism b49

idee fix (b65): harlod's theme doesn't match orgional theme rhythmically but pitch is the same as origional 3 bars, repeated 4th higher with upper stings, 2nd section of idee fix presented characterised by falling 3rd then falling 5th. 

Allegretto (coda): Harold's theme head in C, serenade theme fragmented, saltarello theme is then fragmented 

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Rhythm + Metre

compound duple time (6/8).

Tempo of allegro assai introduction  is twice that of the allegretto. 

serenade theme explores mixing 3/4 and 6/8. theme recurs many times and comes back ornamented with semiquavers. 

Triple semiquavers also appear. 

most dramatic moments for soloist involve repeated semi quaver octave leaps b99

hint of rhythmic augmentation in b192 as final motif turned from semi-quavers to quavers. 

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