GCSE MUSIC - The Messiah and the Baroque Era

GCSE MUSIC - The Messiah and the Baroque Era

"And the Glory of the Lord"

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  • Created by: Angharad
  • Created on: 20-04-11 16:00

Handel and Baroque Music

The Baroque Period:

  • Lasted from 1600-1750
  • Baroque music is very ornate with ornamented melody lines and a complex counterpoint
  • The Baroque period was the first in which composers worked in terms of chords. Main composers of the Baroque period were Handel, Vivaldi, Bach and Purcell

Key Features:

  • Simple, diatonic harmonies
  • Movements kept to the same mood throughout
  • Terraced dynamics - changes are sudden
  • Ornamentation - decorated melodies
  • Complex contrapuntal writing in some pieces
  • Orchestras made up largely of string instruments
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"And the Glory of the Lord"

This comes from the Messiah. The messiah is an oratorio, which is a large scale composition for solo singers, chorus and orchestra. An oratorio is usually based on biblical stories. The words of Messiah come from the Bible and reflect important beliefs about Jesus. 

Messiah was composed in 1741. And the Glory of the Lord is the first chorus from the messiah.

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The work starts with an orchestral introduction, called a ritornello. Shortened versions of this music return later in the work in two different places. There is no set form to the movement. It is based on different combinations of the four ideas:

"And the glory, the glory of the Lord"

"Shall be revealed"

"And all flesh shall see it together"

"For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" 

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"And the glory, the glory of the Lord!"

First sung by the altos, this clearly outlines the key of A major

"Shall be revealed"

First sung by the altos, this motif uses a descending sequence and a melisma on the word 'revealed'

"And all flesh shall see it together"

First sung by tenors and bases. Provides the pedal note and the use of long notes make it sound solemn

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Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

  • This piece is in 3/4
  • Maintains a fast tempo (Allegro), but towards the end there is a three crotchet rest, known as a general pause, and then three bars in a slower tempo (marked Adagio) to create a drawn out ending
  • There are a number of hemiolas in the piece (where the music feels as though it's in 2/4 rather than 3/4)
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Tonality and Harmony

  • The piece is in A major. It modulates to two related keys: the dominant (E major) and the supertonic (B major). The work ends with a plagal cadence in A major.
  • The harmony is diatonic.
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  • Most of the piece alternates between homophonic and contrapuntal passages
  • Handel uses imitation
  • The number of parts vary
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Word Setting

There is a mixture of syllabic and melismatic word setting. 

The different phrases of text are repeated many times, helping to make the words as clear as possible

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on the melody on the 4th motif you haven't commented on it was just wondering on your comments on that section of the movement other wise extremily helpful thankyou :)



"For the mouth of the Lord"

On occasion, basses and tenors sing this together on the note A, thus making it louder. This is a pedal note.

Hope that helps!

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