Music Terminolgy


Handel Buzzfacts

And the Glory of the lord' is a chorus from the oratorio 'Messiah'

Oratorio is a large scale musical work for chorus, soloists and orchestra based on a biblical text

The Libretto [text/words of an oratorio]

Oratorios follow the structure of operas: Recitative [setting the scene with very little music], Aria [solo song reflecting mood] and chorus [summing up the action]

Originally performed by voices [Soprano, alto, tenor, bass] and accompanied by strings [violin 1/2, viola and chello] and the harpsichord that played the continuo. however handel added oboes and bassoons at a later date.

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Handel Buzzfacts

The chorus is made up of four ideas:

- The first 3 notes outline an A major Triad [C# A E] and the ending is part of a stepwise scale

- The setting of the words is mainly Syllabic [one note per syllable]

- The idea is built up of 2 one-bar descending sequences and a melismatic [several notes to a syllable] setting of the word 'revealed'. The word 'revealed' is used in imitation between parts.

- the long dotted minims emphasise the text 'the Lord hath spoken it' and the part is doubled by tenors and basses.

Throughout most of the piece, we can describe the texture as polyphonic: where all the parts are interweaving.

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Handel Buzzfacts

The affection [mood] of the chorus is joyful and this is conveyed through triple metre [3/4], allegro [very fast] tempo and major key signiture [A major with modulations/key changes to E major and B major]

The ending has a dramatic mood created by a 3 beat rest in all four voices before the last phrase, an adagio [slow] tempo, longer note values, loud dynamics, use of timpani and homophonic texture.

Hemiola rhythms [a device used in triple time, towards a cadence point, in which notes are grouped in 2 beat units] are used in bars 9/10. There is a use of perfect and plagal cadences throughout the chorus.

The harmonic Rhythem [the number of times the chords change per bar] is either one chord per bar or 2 beats then one. there is a lot of imitation between parts [seperate parts copying/imitating each other] There is a use of pedal [ a sustained note usually in the lowest bass part] in the middle of the musical texture.

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