Purcell: Sonata for trumpet and strings in D major

  • Created by: S_Bluck
  • Created on: 01-08-20 12:00

The composer: Purcell

  • One of the countries greatest composer
  • Died aged 36
  • Sacred, Secular, vocal and instrumental
  • Wrote first ever English Opera, Dido and Aeneas
  • English
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Purcell's background

  • Family of musicians
  • Chorister in Chapel Royal
  • Musical jobs (assistant keeper, repairer of King's Instruments, organ tuner of Westminster Abbey and occasional of copyist of music)
  • 18 years old - Composer for King's violins
  • 20 years old - Replaced John Blow as organist of Westminster Abbey
  • Whole adult life spent as church composer and musician
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Background of this piece

  • Written near the end of his life
  • Published in 1964
  • Trumpet - celebration
  • Follows pattern to many of his Sonatas
  • Imitation of Anton Corelli
  • Used own marks (lively rhythmic energy, expressive and poignant harmony, adventurous chromaticism and a strong inventive melodic creativity)
  • End of 17th century, Italians were masters of instrumental chamber music and opera
  • Advance in violin technique, allowed greater tonal range than viol
  • Showed off best performers skills
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Concerto vs Sonata

  • Three movements (fast, slow, fast) vs Four movement structure
  • Firm bass with florid melody
  • Clear organisation of keys to reveal musical structure
  • Contrast of texture between movement
  • Longer structures within movements
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Baroque Trumpet

  • Natural instrument with no valves
  • Most pitched in D
  • Set of crooks to insert into tubing for key changes
  • Purcell uses 10 different pitches from 9 harmonics
  • Lowest two pitches for final section of 3rd movement
  • Different sound to modern equivalent
  • Tight lip pressure on higher harmonics
  • Clarino - different mouthpiece, shallower cup, sharper edge to main bore (made lipping the out of tune harmonics easier)
  • Best players - Manage instrument as soft as flute
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  • String orchestra - 6 or 8 violins, 2 violas, violincello, double bass and harpsichord or organ (basso continuo)
  • Can be performed with smaller forces
  • Short movements in length that are direct, immediate and concise
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How is a bright mood achieved throughout the piece

  • High pitched trumpet
  • Major key
  • Upper Auxiliary notes
  • Fast tempo - Pomposo
  • Short note values - semi-quavers and anacrusis in Basso Continuo
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How is a sense of excitement portrayed in the firs

  • Short note values
  • Sequence progresses
  • Rise in pitch
  • Anticipatory note (Bar 3)
  • Trill at end
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Melody, Rhythm & Texture typical of Baroque period

Melody: Fugal subject (violin 1 contours down and up)

Trumpet - high tessatura and conjunct (harmonic series)


Two bar interval but occasionally stretto

Inverted melody bar 33 and played down a perfect 4th

Rhythm: Fast rhythm - allegro 



Texture: Polyphonic

Antiphonal which is quite homophonic

Bar 27 - polarised texture

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1st movement vs 2nd movement


  • Slower tempo ( pomposo —> andante maestros)
  • Use of rests
  • Instrumentation - no trumpet, violin has melody
  • Key - B minor
  • Homophonic - no antiphony
  • Longer note values 
  • Static movement - crotchet led
  • No ornamentation
  • Interesting harmony - greater use of 7th chords
  • More chromaticism/chromatic harmony
  • Imitation between parts


  • Diatonic harmony
  • Harmonic structure
  • 4-3 suspensions
  • Finish in D major
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