Handel Messiah

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  • Created by: Lois
  • Created on: 11-04-13 22:40


Written: 1741

Based on four main ideas:

The prophecy of Jesus' birth

His persucution

His crucifixtion

And finally his resurection

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Key: A major

Modulates to E major

Uses perfect cadence to switch key - the end of the introduction also uses perfect cadence.

The piece ends in Plagal Cadence for a grander finish ('Amen')

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Pitch / Harmony

Harmony is Diatonic

No dissonace - no lack of harmony

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In simple triple time ¾ although though it feels like ¼

Allegro – Fast and Joyful

Last four bars are Adagio – slightly slower than Allegro. This was to give the piece a grander ending.

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An oratorio – Religious Opera

4 motifs base around the lyrics–

 1“And the glory of the Lord”
 2“Shall be revealed
3“All flesh shall see together”
4“For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it”

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Parts are played in p – piano (softly,quiet)
forte – f (loud)

Terraced dynamics – instruments going loud and quiet at different parts and times.

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Like melody, rhythm for each motif is different.

Motif 1: Simple rhythm, dotted crotchet quaver rhythm in 2nd bar

Motif 2: Dotted rhythm

Motif 3: repeated crotchet, quaver, quaver, crotchet pattern

Motif 4: long dotted crotchets, this expresses the seriousness of the words being sung.

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[Mostly] Homophonic – where parts move together

[Sometimes] Polyphonic – where many parts weave in and out of each other.

Singers sing in unison and in harmony.

Imitation is also used, basses & sopranos copy tenors.

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Instrumentation / Voice

Large scale string orchestra

Cello and Chamber organ

Aria – vocal solo with accompaniment

Recitative – like spoken song, narrative, tells a story

Choir – sung together

Syllabic – Note played for each syllable

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