Percell: Music for a while (Rhythm (Simple Quadruple time: 4/4, Rhythm is…
Percell: Music for a while
British Baroque Composer
One of the greatest English composers
a play by poet, John Dryden
The song is sung by a priest hoping to raise the late king Lauis from the dead to find out his murderer. Alecto was a deity from acient greece who avenged crimes - she had snakes for hair and a whip. In the song, her fury is soothed until the snakes fall from her head and she drops the whip.
A much 1700's music, there are no dynamics or tempo - harpsichord can't change dynamics - performers own interpretation
Ternary Form (ABA)
) - In A minor - ends with modulation into dominant (E minor)
) - Modulations through related keys + shorter/longer versions of the ground bass
) - returns to A minor - extended ending to finish on tonic
Built of a ground bass
Three bars long
Heard twelve times
Not boring due to modulations
Rising 5ths and falling 6ths with chromaitism
Modulations into related keys in middle section
Upper notes of the ground bass form a chromatic scale - occasionally tonally ambiguous.
Stepwise movements with occasional leaps
Frequent passing notes between chords notes
Range: just over an octave. E4 to F5
Rests for effect - expression
Includes both rising and falling sequences
Ornaments in vocal and harpsichord (right hand) part
Vocal part and ground bass are often out of sync (ie 3 Bar phases over 4 bar phases) to keep it interesting
Realisation in harpsichord right hand - improvised part over chords
- melisma used for words 'wond'ring' and 'etrenal'
Dischordal chords on the word 'pains'
A chain on suspensions being resolved on the word 'eased'
Long melismatic phases on 'eternal'
Melody and accompniament
Harpsichord realisation is elaborate and sometimes creates counterpoint with vocal point (i.e. short parts of imitation)
Chord sequence dictated by ground bass - mostly alternate root-position and first-investion triads
Some Augmented and diminished triads
Realisation creates false relations - when to different clashing notes occur near each other (e.g. B♭ and B♮ in different parts but at the same time)
Simple Quadruple time: 4/4
Rhythm is mostly quavers (walking bass)
Vocal part follows natural rhythm of words - mainly quavers and semi quavers
Occasional syncopation ('drop')
Tied and dotten notes appear in right hand of harpsichord part