Peripetie, Schoenberg compased in 1909

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  • It is the fourth of Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces.
  • Peripetie is from the 'Five Orchestral Pieces' and was written in 1922 (the early twentieth century). 
  • It was completed in 1909. The first performance took place in London in 1912 
  • He founded the Second Viennese School - a group of composers (including Berg and Webern who were
  • taught by Schoenberg in Vienna) who wrote Expressionist music.
  • He was an Austrian composer.
  • Expressionism.
  • Peripetie means 'A sudden reversal'.
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Texture and Dynamics

  • Largely contrapuntal, occasional monophonic and homophonic moments
  • Textures built up by using imitation, diminution and inversion.
  • The final climax of the piece is created from three different canons that are heard at the same time.
  • There are frequent sudden changes of dynamics, leading to extreme contrasts between ppp and fff.
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  • Requires a large, full orchestra.
  • Strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.
  • Changes rapidly throughout, creating many contrasts in timbre.
  • Cymbals are played, unusually, with a mallet.
  • Instruments are played to the extreme of their range either very low or very high.
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Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

  • Tempo is sehr rasch - very quick.
  • Metre changes between 3/4, 2/4 and 4/4.
  • Rhythms are complex, and varied, and change quickly in parts of the work.
  • A number of different rhythmic patterns on top of each other to create complex contrapuntal textures.
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  • The piece is free rondo form, with five sections A B A C A.
  • The piece is called free rondo because it is very different to the traditional type of rondo heard in the Classical period, when different sections were clearly contrasted
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  • Made up of short, fragmented motifs.
  • Rhythmic augmentation - the notes become twice as long.
  • Motifs are varied through the use of inversion and rhythmic augmentation.
  • Inversion - melody is turned upside down.
  • Octave displacement is used - unexpectedly moving individual notes of the main melody into a
  • different octave.
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Tonality and Harmony

  • Atonal - has no key or mode.
  • Dissonant harmony chords and melodies, often built in hexachords (set of six notes).
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