George Gershwin - 'Summertime' from Porgy and Bess

Vocal Set works 2011

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  • Created by: Joe
  • Created on: 26-04-11 19:08

Background

- Composed in 1935

- Aria - from an opera

- Fusion of folk, jazz and classical

- Described as American Folk Opera

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Rhythm and metre

- Duple time

  • 2/2

- Rocking lullaby rhythm

  • Steady minims in accompaniment
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- Swung rhythms

- Syncopation

- Triplets

- Violin countermelody (verse 2) mainly in quavers

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Melody and word-setting

- Vocal part covers an octave

- Text shows American dialect

- 4 bar phrases

- Pentatonic vocal melody - except for C#

- Ornamentation includes portamento - slide

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Harmony

- Chords outline 16-bar blues pattern

- Added 6th chords (minor triad plus major 6th)

- False relations - from blue notes

- Circle of 5ths

- Perfect cadence at end

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Tonality

- B minor

- Dominant preparation (dominant / F# pedal)

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Structure

- 16 bar song structure

- Balanced 4 bar phrases

- ABAC pattern

- Introduction (dominant pedal and clarinet line)

- Coda

- 2 verse strophic

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Resources/Texture

- Soprano soloist

- Solo violin

- Women's vocalisation (singing wordlessly)

- Symphony orchestra with bells

- Melody dominated homophony

  • Additional layers in 2nd verse
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