Tippett - Concerto for Double String Orchestra: movement I

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  • Created by: Joe
  • Created on: 12-04-11 10:44

Background

- One of Tippett's early works

- Reflects his social concerns

- First performed by the South London Orchestra at Morley College, 1940

  • Provided performance opportunities for unemployed musicians
  • Tippett was musical director

 

- Reflects Tippett's interests in English Madrigals

  • Freely combining independent rhythmic patterns
  • Neoclassicism - associated with Stravinski
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Rhythm and metre

- Notated in 8/8

  • Occasional changes to 6/8 and 4/8 

- Quavers are the basic unit = additive rhythms

- Frequent syncopation

  • Rhythmic patterns extending over the barline

- Bar 95 - Music settles into a regular crotchet pulse

- Rhythmic augmentation

  • Bar 99
  • Bar 103 - Doubled again
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Melody

- Opening motif characterised by repeated step movement

  • Then broadens out by leaps of 4ths and 3rds

- Melody extended by sequence (bar 8)

  • This melody is inverted in lower parts

- Transition material has

  • longer note lengths
  • Appearance of trills

- Prominent broken chord motif in bass (bar 112)

 

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Harmony

- Non-functional

- Harmonic progressions are difficult to hear due to the contrapuntal textures

- Counterpoint leads to dissonant collisions

- Harmonic events:

  • Phrygian cadence (bars 20-21)
  • Common chord progression (bars 39-40)
  • Ambigious progression from bar 119 with augmented/whole tone structures
  • Final modal cadence of G to A, or tonic preceded by flattened 7th
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Tonality

- On A

- Non-functional with modal elements

- Use of pentatonic scale bars 1-4

  • Accidentals in other parts make it more difficult to see which mode dominates
  • 

- Tippett shifts the music to various tonal areas:

  • G (bars 39-67)
  • E (bar 68)
  • C# (bar 86)
  • Ab (bar 107)
  • A (bar 129)
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Structure

- The opening motif keeps coming back - the ritornello of Baroque concerto grosso

- Sonata form

- 2 clear subjects (bar 1, bar 39) linked by a transition (bar 21)

- Development (bar 68) passes through more remote tonal areas

- The opening material reappears in a recapitulation (bar 129), with the 2nd subject in the home key of A as opposed to the original key of G

- Extended coda (bar 194)

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Resources/Texture

- The concerto plays 2 equal forces off against each other instead of a single soloist/group of soloists against a larger accompanying group

- Tippett frequently uses 2-part counterpoint, as in the main theme but each part is doubled at 3 octaves

- He also uses occasional homophony and monophony as well as antiphony

- In the more lyrical sections the accompaniment is sometimes in the form of broken chords

- There are no unconventional playing techniques but there is 'sul tasto' (bow over the fingerboard) in bar 107

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Comments

Johnny Foster

These are really useful! Thanks!

georgina

you just copied it out of the revision book... good one

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