'Peripetie' - All you need to know

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  • Created by: esumner
  • Created on: 29-03-15 15:03

Background:

- Expressionism 

- Schoenberg (Austrian) was influential in the expressionist movement

- He founded the second Viennese School

- Composed in 1909 

- Fourth in a set of 'Five Orchestral Pieces'

- First performed in 1912 at the proms

- 'Peripetie' means 'A Sudden Reversal'

- Was shocking at the time and was difficult to find large orchestras to play the pieces 

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Forces and Instrumentation:

- Large orchestra: at least 90 players

- Strings, woodwind, percussion, and brass

- Instrumentation changes rapidly throughout, creating contrasts in timbre

- Performers are frequently required to play at the extemes of their range 

- Unusual effects are used e.g. playing the cymbals with a cello bow

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Structure:

- Free rondo form - different to traditional type of rondo 

- Five sections: ABACA

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Melody:

- Made up of many short, fragmented motifs combined in different ways

- Melodies are disjunct and angular

- Octave displacement is used

- Motifs aren't necessarily altered, but techniques like inversions and rhythmic augmentation are used

- Each motif is based on a hexachord  

- Main melody is the 'Haupstimme'

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Rhythm, Metre and Tempo:

- Changes between 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4

- Tempo is 'Sehr Rasch' - very quick

- Rhythms are complex and varied, change quickly

- In some parts, a number of different rythmic patterns are layered on top of each other to create a complex contrapuntal texture

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Harmony and Tonality:

- Atonal - does not have a key

- Uses lots of dissonant harmonies

- The chords and melodies are often built from hexachords

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Texture:

- Mainly contrapuntal/polyphonic

- There are occasional monophonic and homophonic moments 

- Complex textures are built up through use of techniques like imitation and inversions

- Final climax is created from 3 different canons all heard at the same time

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Dynamics and Expression:

- Extreme dynamics

- Frequent and sudden changes in dynamics lead to extreme contrasts between ppp and fff

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