Henry Purcell- Music for a while

  • Created by: hedghoge
  • Created on: 12-11-21 15:06


  • The texture of this peice is hoophonic-one main melody and acconmpiment. 
  • Uses alborate realisation 
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  • the main melody is sung by a soprano
  • the word setting is mainly selabic
  • word painting is used 
  • moves in steps 
  • uses lots of ornaments 
  • decending sequneces 
  • rests are used in melodic phrases 
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word painting

  • Mostly minor key 
  • eternal-long melisma
  • The drop is decending sequence.
  • The phrase free the dead is set to a triupmphant sceton of of g major 
  • the word wondering is melsemantic 
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  • The accomimant is orivied by a  ground bass plaued by the bass viol and the left han of the harpsy chord. 
  • chords are diatonic 
  • There are perfect cadences throughout the piece (as the  ground bass ends with a V chord, then repeats again with a I  chord) 
  • There are a couple of dissonances used for word painting,  such as the word "pains" 
  • Another type of dissonance used is a "false relation", like in  bar 1 with the ground bass playing F sharp while the right  hand plays F natural.
  • Suspensions are used very occasionally. For example, there  is a 4–3 suspension in bar 3 beat 4 1⁄2 in the harpsichord  part. 

  • The right hand of the harpsichord plays an elaborate  realisation, which has been interpreted from the original  figured bass
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Ground bass

  • The ground bass is a 3 bar loop 

  • It consists entirely of

    quaver rhythms

  • It has a rising pattern

  • The first 4 sets of 4 quavers use an ascending  sequence, starting one note higher each time At the end of the ground bass there is a fall of an  octave 

  • It uses intervals of semitones

  • After 4 and a half repeats of the ground bass it  begins to modulate into different keys.
  • In the final  A section (bar 29) it returns to the repeating  pattern from the start of the piece.
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  • This piece uses a soprano singer, harpsichord and bass viol.
  • The harpsichord and bass viol act as the basso continuo,  providing accompaniment for the singer. 

    The left hand of the harpsichord and the bass viol play the  ground bass—a repeating bass pattern that acts as an ac companimen
  • The right hand plays a realistaion 
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Tempo and dynamics


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  • The main tonality for the piece is A minor
  • This reflects the sombre, sad nature of the lyrics
  • During the middle (B) section the piece modulatesthrough several related keys—E major (the dominant key—bar 15 & 28), G major in the middle of bar 18, C major (relative major—in bar 22), A major (the tonicmajor—middle of bar 23) and finally back to A minor in bar 29
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