Dido and Aeneas- Two extended scenes

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Aria- "Ah, Belinda"

  • Miniature da capo aria.
  • Based on four bar ground bass (providing a structural link to "When I am laid in earth")
  • Mostly C minor tonality
  • bars 29- 36 move to G minor (dominant minor)
  • Uses varying phrase length
  • Vocal phrases overlap ground bass.
  • This makes it more interesting/ less repetitive.
  • Extensive use of word painting to convey mood:
    • "Ah!"- sigh effect, suspension, not on the main beat.
    • "torment" descending, melismatic, negative
    • "I am press'd" Melismatic, rhythmically unstable- state of mind is fragile at this point.
  • This aria is followed by a ritornello section, which is instrumental, and is based on the first 4 notes of the ground bass. There are imitative string entries throughout.

Recitative- "Grief Increases"

  • begins as a duet between Dido and Belinda.
  • Short, 1 bar phrases suggest Dido is struggling with her conscience.
  • Sense of an argument created, especially by the lyrics "then let me speak".
  • 2nd woman, as a detached character, is used to explain the


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