Use of scale to create melodic shapes.
Sequence used in second melodic theme: 'shall be revealed'.
Repeptition used in third melodic theme: 'and all flesh shall see it together'.
Hemiola: Change of rhythmic emphasis hints at two beats at a bar, common in an approach to a cadence.
The structure of this piece is a 'chorus'.
It is taken from the bigger form, 'an oratorio'.
Oratorio is a religious version of an opera with choruses, arias and duets included.
This oratoria is called 'Messiah' and tells the story of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ.
Another chorus from this work is 'Hallelujah chorus'.
The chorus sums up the story to this point. Not much has happened at this point so it consolidates the joyful feel of the work.
Four vocal parts: soprano, alto, tenor and bass.
A small orchestra is included:
violin, viola, cello and bass.
Basso continuo played on the cello here.
Vocal techniques: syllabic, melissma
Bowing in the strings.
Four main melodies:
- 'And the Glory of the Lord'
- 'Shall be revealed'
- 'And all flesh shall see it together'
- 'For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it'.
Melodies are imitated and sometimes combined.
Strings sometimes play the melodies as well.
Harmony and tonality
The keysignature is A major
Some modualtion to E major nd B major
Cadences and pedal notes help to reaffirm the key of the piece.
Cadences tend to be perfect with a plagal cadence at the end establishing this as a religious piece of music.
A range of textures used.
Monophonic (single line) Bar 11
Homophonic four part writing Bar 33
Imitation Bar 17
Two ideas together (counterpoint) Bar 110
Doubling parts (Bar 51)
unison plagal cadence at the end.
Dynamics are terraced. This is a common feature of the Baroque period.
They are either loud or soft with no gradual changes.
Tempo and rhythm
The lively tempo reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.
Dotted rhythms also reflect the lively and joyful nature of the piece. (shall be revealed in particular)
General Features of the Baroque period
Music has one mood or affection
Major and minor keys with modulation to relative keys.
Use of basso continuo and the presence of the harpsichord
Different musical textures such as monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic.
Counterpoint is the successful and artistic combination of melodies which compliment eachother.
Introduction of timpani, horns and trumpets into the orchestra