Laudamus Te: Vivaldi

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  • Created by: Katherine
  • Created on: 30-04-14 11:51

Context within work, genre

  • Duet for 2 sopranos
  • Follows 2 solo movements - arias.
  • 3rd movement of Vivaldi's Gloria
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Text and Text Setting

  • Major Key
  • Allegro
  • Off beat rhythms accompanying the voice
  • Angular tune - quite bouncy/buoyant in the orchestral part.
  • Lively semiquaver and quaver rhythms.
  • First tune is declamatory.
  • Starts with a three note ascending figure - crotchets.
  • Rhythmic vitality: quaver followed by a semi quaver.
  • Time signature
  • Melisma on "Glorifacamus".  - sense of exhaltation.
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Melody and Rhythm

  • Opening Ritornello: Motific material that follows uses some sequential modulations and some angular melodic shapes. The sequences a t the end of this idea are shorter and closer together creating excitement and anticipation. There are more chromatic shapes.
  • Episode 1: the voices start with a 3 note figure introduced by the orchestra, increasingly short rhythms. Scalic writing, diatonic vocal lines, rising pairs of slurred quavers.
  • Episode 2: diatonic, uses some hard to articulate dotted crotchet and semi quaver rhythms. Interlocking rhythms between the 2 sopranos makes the music exciting.
  • Episode 3: uses some triplets which sound broader. the final setting of 'Adoramus te' writing and dotted rhythms creating a feeling of jubilance and some angular melodic shapes.
  • Episode 4: repeated material.
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Tonality and Harmony

  • The first ritornello is in G major, the tonic.  Abbreviated versions of the ritornello are found in between the vocal entries, in the dominant key of D major, E minor and C major. A complete ritornello in G major concludes the whole movement.    
  • The first few bars of the ritornello melody use the primary chords I, IV and V.   
  • There is some chromaticism in the opening ritornello, although this is because it is modulatory and sequential. 
  • Vivaldi uses secondary sevenths to modulate swiftly and sequentially (G7-C, A7-D).  The rate of harmonic change increases towards the end of the ritornello (two chords per bar), which adds to the excitement.                                                                                                                                  
  • At the first vocal entry, Vivaldi alternates between chords I and IV for some time before using another secondary 7th (this time in 3rd inversion) to move to the dominant.                                                                                                                                     
  • As the music moves towards E minor, Vivaldi uses some chains of suspensions between the two voices which create dissonance and resolve in turn.  These are given greater stability by the repeating As in the bass.                                                    
  • There are a lot of harmonic sequences, for example after the brief E minor ritornello, there is a half circle of fifths moving from A7 – D – G7 – C.  Vivaldi moves chromatically to effect the modulations which define his structure – immediately after this sequence, he moves from an F chord to a D7 chord in order to move through the dominant of the dominant of C major – the key of his next episode.                                                                                                                        
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Writing for instruments and relationship between v

  • Strings and continuo.
    • The orchestral accompaniment, particularly as the violins and violas are in unison, is wonderfully clear.
    •  When the orchestra is accompanying the voices, they play interlocking quaver rhythms with lots of buoyant octave leaps.
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  • Governed by the ritornello principle.
  • This movement contrasts with Bach’s use of ritornello material, as the vocal entries are alternated with the instrumental ritornelli. 
  • The structure is very clearly defined by the tonality.
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Compositional Devices

  • Suspensions
  • Imitation
  • Pedal Notes
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How is this movement a product of its time?

  • Ritornello structure very typical
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  • The 1st and 2nd violins are in unison (comparison with Wachet Auf Movement IV).  
  • The opening ritornello uses some two-part writing between the violins and the continuo, with contrary rhythms.                          
  • There is imitative vocal writing between the two sopranos.  The initial treatment of “Laudamus te” is canonic.                                           
  •  The first setting of “Glorificamus te” uses homophonic paired writing in parallel 3rds. 
  • The most lively vocal texture occurs at the chains of suspensions, when the two voices are again imitative and interlocking.         
  • After the E minor ritornello, the two singers have a phrase each with contrasting material.
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