Sequenza III for female voice - Berio

Notes on the Berio

  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 18-03-11 11:21

Sequenza III for female voice - Berio - 1


  • Avant-garde work
  • Written in 1966
  • Notable for:
  • Virtuosity
  • 'Extended vocal techniques'
  • Challenging of traditional language and conventions of music, for example, the disguised opening of the work with the performer walking on stage muttering
  • Performances are likely to take place at 'specialist' modern music events

Rhythm and metre

  • No traditional rhythm or metre
  • Time is managed into 10-second segments but are flexible
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Sequenza III for female voice - Berio - 2

(Rhythm and metre continued)

  • Relatively long and short durations but these are not notated traditionally

Melody and word-setting

  • Text is a poem by Marc Kutter
  • It is frequently dislocated and subjected to various treatments:
  • (Rare) use of complete phrase
  • Spinning out of new phrases drawing on component parts of the text
  • Splitting up of words or changing of component sounds
  • There are (rare) conventionally sung passages with clearly defined pitches and intervals, e.g. minor 3rds, broken triads, 7ths, augmented 4ths and repeated notes (notated on five-line stave)
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Sequenza III for female voice - Berio - 3

(Melody and word setting continued)

  • Otherwise, Berio uses other forms of voice production:
  • Muttering
  • Laughing
  • Tongue clicks
  • Coughs
  • Sighs
  • Trills
  • Tremolos
  • Cupping of hand over mouth


  • Berio spoke of a 'sequence of harmonic fields', but it is impossible to speak of harmony as such
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Sequenza III for female voice - Berio - 4


  • Atonal, with no fixed relationship of pitches to one another


  • Random succesion of ideas and 'moods'


  • Monophonic


  • Graphic, with only approximate indications of time values and pitches
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