Passport To Pimlico - George Auric

These revision cards on Passport To Pimlico by George Auric will consist of:

  • Background information and Performance circumstances
  • Performing forces and their handling
  • Texture
  • Tonailty
  • Structure
  • Harmony
  • Melody
  • Rhythm and Metre

Notes are made from the published guide on the Edexcel website which can be found on the teacher support materials. (GCE - 2008, Music, Teacher support materials, Unit 6)

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Background Information

Auric composed this peice in 1948 for a film made by Ealing Studios known for comedy.

The plot is about the following,

  • Burried tresure found belonging to the Duke of Burgandy
  • Tresure found in Pimlico (Central London)
  • Local inhabitants decalre independance.
  • Authorites border the area with barbed wire

The music is scored at this point and sympathsers are throwing in food to break the blockade. (Shown in the heading's of the score)

George Auric was a French compose and part of the Les Six. The Les Six were created as the wanted to distance from German dominated music. Also, they were united by there comical idea, non-romantic and avant-guard ideas. He was knows as a child prodigy, meeting painters such as Picasso and musicians such as Igor Stravinski.They wanted to move away from the romantic ideas and also the post-romantic expresionism. Composers such as Schoenburg. There influence was from circus music and jazz.

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Performance Forces and Handling

  • George Auric uses a standard size orchestra with extra tuned percussion
  • Tuned percussion usually used to double melody lined
    • Piccolo doubles celeste (Bar 55)
    • Glockenspiel doubles flutes (Bar 5)
  • Tubular bells represnt church bells (Bar 31)
  • Timpani and cymbals reserved for climax. E.g. (Bar 49)
  • Full use of strings
    • Violins, cello's and basses (Bar 7)
  • Strings often used for 'chugging' chords (Bar 31)
  • Pizzicato stings (Bar 11)
  • Brass and stings alternate ofter
    • Antiphonal exchange between strings, answered by trombones (Bar 36-7)
  • Ornamentation
    • Woodwind and string trills (Bar 1)
    • Grace notes (Bar 9)
  • Fanfare figures (Bar 1) and Muted trumpets used (Bar 41)
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  • Often changes rapidly. There are several different testures on the fist page of the score alone. Examples are:
    • (Bars 1-4) - Brass fanfares with trills in strings and scale figures in the horns being in 3rds from (Bar 2)
    • (Bars 5-8) - Themes in 5hts and 8ths in flutes and glockenspiel with 3rds continuing in strings bellow. Later replaces by octaves in (bar 7) and contrary motion in (bar 9). Parallel 6ths at the top of the homophonic texture
    • (Bars 9-10) - Ostinato-like figures in cellos, octave leaps/trills in claranets in conjunction to two melodic lines in flues and piccolo produce a polyphonic texture.
  • Oftem misses lower instruemnts to give high pitched texture (Bar 11)
  • Sometimes only used lower instruments to give low pitch texture (Bar 15)
  • Bass dominated homophony at (Bars 21-22) with the tune in bassoons and pizzato cellos and basses accompanied by repeated chords in upper strings.
  • More conventional melody dominated homophony at (Bar 55)
  • Tutti music at the end is clearly homophonic
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  • Tonal
  • Quick and frequent changes of key. Often ternary related. Starts in E major and quickly changes to G major in (Bar 9) without any sense of modulation
  • (Bar 15) shows the quick apperance of B minor however the 3rd is raised to make it B major before going back to E major in (Bar 21).
  • Further ternary relationship established in (Bar 33) where keys change to C major form E major (3rd lower) notice the chromatic notes
  • (Bar 39) we have the music from (Bar 9) in Eb Major. At the end of (Bar 42) we are in E Major and (Bar 55) it moved to end in C.
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The structure is bassed upon what is happening on the screen as this would be the background music. The short sections show new occurrences in the story.

  • Newspaper headline: Beurandy bombarded with buns
    •  Important sounding fanfares and trills in (Bar 1) are used to announce this and this is used as the introduction.
  • The first thematic material is heard in E ar (Bar 5)
  • Theme is then repeated in G major in bar 9 with new accompaniments and countermelodies.
  • More load fanfare like music accompanies another headline (Bar 13)
  • 2nd theme based of scalic ideas earlier shows in (Bar 15) Low bass texture illustrates the seriousness of the political meetings.
  • A 3rd idea, again in the bass instruemts starts in (Bar 22) Strings/basson.
  • After the dramatric forte chordal intervention at (Bar 27) where new version of the basson tune starts in (Bar 33)
  • Chordal music returns breifly at (Bar 37)

Continues next page

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Structure Continued

  • At (Bar 39) the music from (Bar 9) returnes in E flat before abruptly moving to E major again.
  • Then led to a dramatic, fanfare like fortissimo at (Bar 49) then interupted in (Bar 52) by 'suspense music' with trills and tremolos and a altered version of the mootif in (Bar 5) of the bass.
  • Finally, a jaunty tune in the piccolo and celeste over the pizzacato strings leads the conclusion on the episode.
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  • Some straight forward harmony. G major root position in (Bar 9)
  • Quickly complicated by dissonant notes in the next bar. Such as the C appoggiatura at the beginning of the bar.
  • (Bar 10 + 11) sees chromatisism in the basson and claranet causing blurs.
  • 5ths and 8vs are features of the music. (Bar 5) glocks and flutes.
  • Added notes. Chords in (Bar 7) show this with the added B to the first chord
  • Powerful chords in (Bar 49) are 9th chords. E.g. G7th with a A.
  • Occasional perfect cadences. (Bar 8)
  • Final cadence is complicated with the F# otherwise would be a G.
  • Inverted tonic pedal at (Bar 13-14)
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  •  Most melodic ideas are in the major key. E.g. (Bar 5-8). Onlt the phrase in (Bar 15) hints at the minor key.
  • Occational chromaticism in pizzicato cellos and the bassoon. End of (Bar 21). E.g. F double sharps and A sharps.
  • Some melodies are purly diatonic. (Bar 55) to the end.
  • 4 note bell-chime repeated in decending sequence. (Bar 7)
  • This motif is essensially in a triadic style.
  • The opening phrase of (Bar 5) ountlines the notes of E major with  passing notes and upper auxillary notes filling in.
  • Scalic music is found frequently. (Bar 1) in the horns.
  • The final tune from (Bar 55) is ornamental in character with many grace notes.  
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Rhythm and Metre

  • Opens in a typical fanfare style. Long dotted rhythms and followed by pairs of demisemiquavers.
  • Most of the melodic lines are based upon series of quavers and semiquavers.
  • Auric presents the opening decending scale in rhythmic diminution. (Bar 3)
  • (Bar 48) sees the build up to the main climax and there is a brief passsage of triplet rhytms.
  • Many of the melodies start on the first beat of the bar. E.g. (Bar 15). However, some being on a anacrusis. E.g. Upbeat to (Bar 22)
  • Rests added to provide a staccato feel.(Bar 33)
  • Single bar of triplet time (Bar 51) to go with the screen events.
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