A Level Music: 'Pour le Piano': Sarabande by Debussy

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When was this piece composed?
1901 (Originally written in 1894 but later revised and published as the 2nd of 3 movements in a suite entitled, Pour le Piano
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What is a Sarabande?
A Renaissance dance that remained popular an as instrumental movement during the Baroque period
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What type/genre of music is this?
Neo-classical
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Name the Resources
Solo piano
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What is the range of this instrument?
Wide - very low C# to E just over 5 octaves higher. Some LH chords are extended to over an octave so must be spread.
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What form is the structure?
Binary form (There is no single traditional structure, but baroque dances were usually in Binary - some suggest it is in ternary)
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Describe the structure.
Short A Section: ends on a C# with a quiet low passage in octaves. Long B section: includes modified repeat of opening music: bars 42-49.
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What is the metre?
3/4.
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Is there rhythmic variety?
Yes
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Name some features of the rhythm
Tremolo idea: bar 60, Triplet quavers: melody in the opening, 2 semiquaver figure: bar 5 or reverse: bar 23, Hemiola: bars 67-68 and continuous quaver chords.
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Which beat is emphasised in many chords? Is this typical of a sarabande?
The 2nd beat. Yes.
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Describe the harmony.
Non-functional, many chords are ordinary traids in root position, others are lush parallel 7th chords. Whole-tone scale: bar 7, chord streams: bars 35-41.
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Explain what Quartal Harmony is
It is based on superimposed 4ths.
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Is there any chromaticism? If so, give a bar number where there is an example.
Yes. Bars 25-28.
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What is the tonality of this piece?
Aeolian Mode in C# Minor, however the mode is not treated traditionally.
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Is there tonal ambiguity?
Yes: melody in bars 1 & 2 could represent E minor but harmonisation is closer to the modal C# minor.
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Is the melody conjunct or disjunct? If there are any leaps, where do they become more extended?
Moves narrowly in most phrases: mixture of conjunct movement and leaps of 3rds or 4ths. These leaps are slightly more extended on approach to an important cadence or sequential break.
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Is there any repetition in the melody?
Yes: bars 1-2 are repeated in bars 3-4 with slight embellishment.
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Describe the melody at the end of the piece
M.D at end with right hand: hugely complex finish in lower tessitura.
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List features of the texture
Parallel 5ths, 3 short octave passages which provide contrast (bars 5-6), parallel 8ths (mostly doublings of principal melody: bar 1), a few ninth chords, parallelism (6 note chords at the start).
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What primarily is the texture?
Homorhythmic/chordal writing apart from Melody Dominated Homophony in bars 9-12. Much parallelism. Most chords are dense and sonorous.
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Card 2

Front

What is a Sarabande?

Back

A Renaissance dance that remained popular an as instrumental movement during the Baroque period

Card 3

Front

What type/genre of music is this?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Name the Resources

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the range of this instrument?

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