Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Prof: Okay. Good morning. Over the weekend, you were assigned material from chapter one of the text and it dealt really with three famous beginnings of pieces of classical music. Somebody tell me at the outset: what were those three famous pieces? Young lady down here. Student: The first was Beethoven's. Prof: Okay, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. What was the second one? Student: I believe it was Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto Number One. Prof: Yeah, Piano Concerto Number One of Tchaikovsky, and the third one? Student: > Prof: Yeah, this piece by Richard Strauss with this funny sounding German name. We'll just call it Zarathustra, this prophet, Zarathustra. So those are the three pieces and the issues there had to do with musical genre that we're going to talk a little bit more about in a moment, and the instruments. And you went ahead and worked with the Listening Exercises nine through eleven to engage the musical instruments a bit in those particular exercises, and we have performers here today that are going to, as you can see, demonstrate some of these instruments for us. Let's make one point very clear at the outset. Oftentimes I get student papers that refer to "Beethoven's fifth song" or "Tchaikovsky's first piano song." Is that right? No, that's not good at all. Are these songs? What do you have to have to make something a song? Student: Lyrics. Prof: Lyrics. You've got to have a text and so we don't have--in eighty percent of classical music--we don't have lyrics; we don't have a text. Well, yes, with opera of course, but the other eighty percent is purely instrumental music. It works its magic, again, through purely instrumental means, so we can't really call those songs, and this puzzled me. One day I was sitting there at iTunes and I wanted to buy an interior movement of a Mozart serenade so I was all set to purchase this and it said, "Buy song." Boom. That told me the answer. That's where this terminology comes in to play because on iTunes we buy songs. It could be purely instrumental but it's called "buy a song," but we don't want to use that sort of parlance. We want to be more--a bit more sophisticated than that, if you will, and use other terms, so we'll talk generally about Beethoven's composition or Beethoven's piece or Beethoven's work or his master work or chef d'oeuvre or however fancy you want to get with it. We could also go on and be a little more precise and say it belongs to a particular genre. We could use the name of a genre, and I'll be talking a lot about genre in this course. "Genre" is simply a fancy word for "type" or "kind" so what genre of piece is this by Beethoven? Well, it's a symphony. Symphonies generally have four movements. What's a movement? Well, a movement is simply an independent piece that works oftentimes-- if there are multiple movements in a symphony or concerto-- works with other movements. They are independent yet they are complementary. Think of, for example, a sculpture garden. You might have four independent sculptures in there, but they relate one to another; they make some sort of special sense one to another. So symphonies have these four movements and they usually operate in the following way: A fast opening movement; a slower, more lyrical second movement; then a third movement that's derived from dance; and then a fourth movement that's sort of again "up tempo," fast, emphatic conclusion. Let's see how these play out by means of a quick review of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony so all we're going to do here is going to go from the beginning of the track for the first movement to the second movement and so on, and well, let's just start here. Let's just, by way of refreshing our memory, the beginning of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. > Let's pause it there, and as we said last time, it operates <<music playing>> in that fashion, and that beginning gives us a good opportunity to make a distinction between two types of melody, between this idea of a motive and a theme. Both are sort of subsets of melody, if you will. As I say in the textbook there, the beginning of the Beethoven Fifth is something like a musical punch in the nose. Right? > Sort of grabbing you here, hitting you in the face, whatever, musically. It's not a very long idea. How many notes is in this opening gambit here? How many pitches? Four, > short, short, short, long. Okay. So that's a classic example of a motive. A motive is just a little cell, a germ, out of which the composer will build other musical material. Now let's contrast that with what happens in the second movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony where we have a lyrical, long, flowing theme. Okay? > Okay. We'll stop there. All right? So that went on--If we heard the whole thing, it actually goes on for 32 notes as opposed to just four so motive versus longer theme. Themes tend maybe a little bit more lyrical. Now let's go on to the third movement. We said the third movement was dance derived, but in this case with Beethoven it's a very strange dance if it is dance derived. It's just a little bit different than most of these third movements, but let's listen to it anyway because I'd like you to-- when the brasses come in--think about what you're hearing and think about that vis-à-vis the first movement, so let's hear the third movement now. > Okay. So what happened there when the brasses came in? How did that relate to the first movement? Yes? Student: Four notes? Prof: Four notes, something as simple as that, > , same rhythmic idea, so that's the use of a motive there and that's how these movements are tied together a little bit. Let's go on to the finale now, and as we listen to the finale let's think about what we heard at the very beginning and talked about last time, > about the mood that the beginning of the Fifth Symphony created for it. We have these adjectives up here, "negative," "anxious," "unsettled." Well, how do we feel now about the finale and why? > So why do we feel differently about that? I think we do. What do we feel there? Well, sort of upbeat, positive. What's turned all of this around, what specifically? Well, with the first movement we said he's generally going > and that kind of idea, but now it's <<music playing>> and we'll explore this when we get to harmony, this idea of major and minor so we're going <<music playing>> and now <<music playing>> and that's a change from the dark minor to the brighter major. We were going down in the first movement. Now we're going-- <<music playing>> It's going up and instead of having just the violins playing we have the trumpets, the heroic trumpets, so it sounds very triumphant. So in this 40-minute interval we've gone sort of through an emotional musical journey here from despair, despondency, uncertainty, to whatever- to personal triumph, and in a way that mirrors some of the things that were going on in Beethoven's life. Okay. Let's go on to talk about the second piece. We finished with this idea of the genre, of the four movements, so then let's go on to talk about the piano concerto. Concertos are generally in three movements. The concerto is another genre. It's a genre in which a soloist will confront the orchestra and there'll be a kind of give and take--a spirited give and take--between the two. So now we are going to listen to the beginning of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto. You've worked with this already so you're a little bit familiar with it, and at the outset here I have two questions for you. Is the beginning here played by the brasses or the strings? In other words, what--or the woodwinds-- what family of instruments is playing here and is Tchaikovsky using a motive or is he using a theme at the very beginning of this concerto? > So what about that? Theme or motive at the beginning? Student: Motive. Prof: Motive. All right. So here it was I think. > How many notes in our motive? > Same as in the Beethoven. Why isn't it the same? Well, we've got a skippy Beethoven <<music playing>> but here with Tchaikovsky he's coming down, just straight down, > down consecutive intervals there for the most part. And both of them are, however, minor. > With the Tchaikovsky they--all the intervals are the--the durations are the same, > but with the Beethoven, > short, short, short, long. So Tchaikovsky is a little bit more neutral in terms of the rhythm. Okay. So then we go on and the piano enters. What is the piano doing? So let's hear the piano come in just a bit. > So what's the piano up to? Well, the piano is just playing chords, <<music playing>> playing them in octave successions, and we'll talk about that a little bit more too. So what do we have here in this next section? Do we have a theme or do we have a motive and which do this--are the violins playing? Are they--Do they have the theme or the motive or does the piano have the theme or the motive? Let's listen. > So was--what the--what were the violins playing? Theme or motive? Theme. What was the piano doing? Student: *. Prof: Yeah, just the same chords > > in that fashion. I'm singing the melody. They're playing a chordal accompaniment against it. All right. Let's listen to the next iteration of this theme. We've identified this as a theme. Who's got the theme now? Is it exactly the same? And what are the strings up to in terms of string technique here? > So who had the theme? The piano now, but was it exactly the same? Not really. It was kind of noodling around with it, varying it a little bit.