fbpx

What is Sonata form?

In this article, I will talk about the origins, functions and structure of music in Sonata form. I will also dive into our musical analysis of Haydn’s renowned composition. If you have performed a piece of music by either Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, then you have probably encountered a work in sonata form. Most first movements1 of the symphonies and concertos, as well as the chamber and solo instrumental works, by these composers are organized into sonata form. Typically, the tempo of these opening movements is fast, which is why it is sometimes referred to as sonata-allegro form. This type of … Read more

Tempo rubato

Musical concept: Tempo Rubato Tempo rubato, a type of tempo marking, instructs the performer to freely, expressively speed up or slow down at certain passages. In Italian, “rubare” means “to steal,” and “tempo” means “time.” Therefore “tempo rubato” means the time of some measures are stolen by the others. There are two different kinds of tempo rubato. The first kind is when the underlying pulse stays the same and the tempo is slightly varied. This type was common in the eighteenth century and received a lot of discussion from writers at that time. During the rubato passage, some measures are … Read more

Pizzicato

Musical concept: Pizzicato Pizzicato is a playing technique when bowed stringed instruments, rather than using a bow, pluck notes with the fingers. The sound produced is percussive. This technique was first used by the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) in his Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorida in 1624. The strings are usually plucked by the forefinger of the right hand. The violin virtuoso Paganini was the first person to extensively use the left hand to pluck the strings while the right hand continued to bow.If you would like to hear how pizzicato sounds, the third movement in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. … Read more

Bossa nova

Musical genre: Bossa nova Bossa nova is a movement in Brazilian popular music from the late 1950s that caused many changes in Samba. The originators include Antônio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. Their Chega da saudade was the first important recording of this new style. Bossa nova features distinct rhythmic patterns, which are usually played by acoustic guitar. Singing, unlike in other popular music, is subdued. This music style also displays increased harmonic and melodic complexity. Other musical influences, besides samba, also include cool and bebop jazz. Now let’s hear two albums: Antônio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto’s Chega da … Read more

Tango

Genre: Tango The term “tango” has many meanings and interpretations, but it is commonly understood as the Argentinian urban dance in the twentieth century. It’s usually in duple meter, meaning each measure has two or four beats. Each piece usually has two sections and the second section is in the relative minor or dominant key of the first section. The lyrics are usually about love and life in a pessimistic, dark manner. In the Rhythm of Tango—by Leonid Afremov Tango became internationally known in the beginning of the twentieth century and the most popular ballroom dance during World War I. … Read more

Bel canto

Musical concept: Bel canto The term bel canto literally means beautiful singing in Italian. The term is subjected to different interpretations. Generally, bel canto is understood as the Italian singing style from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that emphasizes evenness in tone and legato production throughout the range, lightness in higher registers, and the singer’s ability to remain agile and flexible. This singing style is especially opposite to the German singing style, which is weightier and focuses more on pronouncing words. Let’s hear how some great singers talk about bel canto: Ready to learn music theory? Start learning with … Read more