9. String Quartet No. 8, Op. 110: movement I - Shostakovich

How many days did this piece take to write?
3.
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Where was this piece first performed, and who by?
It was first performed by the Beethoven Quartet in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on the 2nd October 1960.
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How is this piece almost like an obituary to Shostakovich?
As this piece was written at the same time that Shostakovich gave in to the Communist party and contemplated suicide.
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How does the main motif link to Shostakovich's name?
The motif relates to Shostakovich's name in German (D-Dmitry, Eb, German for "S", C, B natural, German for H).
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How is the sombre mood of the piece created?
Through the use of lots of low notes.
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Which string playing technique is used throughout?
Everything is in arco, but, there is very little use of staccato, tenuto and accents.
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Dynamics are usually quiet, but where is there use of mezzo piano (mp)?
Bars 17, 19 and 110.
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How are 2 of 3 homophonic statements of the DSCH motif highlighted?
By their rising to mezzoforte (mf) in bars 23 and 82.
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How is the texture in bars 1-11 described?
Contrapuntal, with imitative entries based on DSCH motif and transpositions of it.
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Give an example of where homophonic textures are used.
Bars 23-27.
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Describe the texture in bars 28-45 beat 1.
Melody in Violin 1, accompanied by tonic and dominant drones.
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Where is parallelism used?
Occasionally used in ways uncharacteristic of pre 20th century music (bars 11-12, violins and cello move in double octaves, G pedal in viola) (bars 14-15, octaves between Violin 2 and Cello, which is unconventional).
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Which passage can be regarded as an introduction?
The opening passage.
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What kind of structure can the main part of the movement be considered to have?
A symmetrical, arch type structure.
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What can the five "sections" be labelled as?
A, B, C, B(v), A(v) (v signifying "varied").
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How does the structure treat the DSCH motif?
As a key moment for the listener, not least because of their mezzoforte (mf) dynamics.
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Which tonality did Shostakovich label this piece as having?
C minor (3 flats), but this is not clear in the anthology.
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Which key was most frequently associated with C minor in the 18th and 19th centuries?
E flat.
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Which keys and chords was Shostakovich more interested in?
Keys and chords that included E natural. In the case of this piece, E natural would signify the brighter key of C major.
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In bar 81, what is interesting about the chord IV used? (In C minor)
The third is raised from an A flat to an A natural, which actually makes the chord an F major chord, which does not feature in C minor.
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What is interesting about the cello accompaniment in bar 119?
The cello F is delayed by the extension of E flat, which creates a dissonance (upward resolving suspension).
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What is common in the harmony? (Especially in bars 28-45)
Drones. These are not pedals, but are on the tonic and dominant in C minor (C and G).
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How is C minor defined in the harmony?
Perfect cadences help define C minor, in bars 25-26, 83-84, 121-122.
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Which sort of movement is present throughout the melody?
Conjunct movement, with some scalic passages, for example, in bars 67-70, B natural, C, D, E flat (in C minor).
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Which sort of scalic passages occur several times?
Chromatic scalic passages, for example in Violin 1, bars 28-30, and Cello, bars 87-89.
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What is the most important interval throughout the piece?
Descending minor 3rds. This is especially crucial to the DSCH motif, where every interval is minor.
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Which time signature does the first movement use, and why is this peculiar?
The first movement is in 4/4, which is odd, as the metronome mark is minim=63.
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How can the rhythm generally be described?
The rhythm is generally simple, and syncopation is uncommon.
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Which rhythmic feature, though uncommon, are there important examples for?
Syncopation.
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Name two examples of where syncopation is used at some cadences.
Bars 24-25, Violin 1, bars 120-121, viola.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Where was this piece first performed, and who by?

Back

It was first performed by the Beethoven Quartet in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on the 2nd October 1960.

Card 3

Front

How is this piece almost like an obituary to Shostakovich?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

How does the main motif link to Shostakovich's name?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How is the sombre mood of the piece created?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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