03/26/14 Sonata Form: An Instrumental Narrative

Writing assignment due Monday, March 31, by beginning of class (via email):
– Choose a story that made a strong impression on you, and that you think would work well as an opera
– What type of story is it? What are the themes/elements?
– List and briefly describe the main characters
– Describe a scene where an aria would occur. (It could be a solo or a duet.) Who is singing, and what is the text they would sing? What emotion or theme would the aria express?

On Monday, we looked at different types of stories that we encounter over and over in books, movies, etc, and the recurring themes and elements they contain:

Story types:
– Action/adventure/suspense/horror
– Happy love stories (romantic comedies)
– Sad love stories (tragedies)
– Hero’s journey (or sometimes anti-hero)
– Comedy

Themes & elements:
– Friendship
– Overcoming obstacles
– Good vs. evil
– Love, lost and found

Music with sung text can tell stories easily, but what about instrumental music?

Refer to p. 155 of your textbook:
“Does All Music Tell a Story?”

Sonata-Allegro form is used as a structure for “absolute music,” but you might hear still it as a story, with themes as different characters and sections as sequences of events.

P. 151: “All narrative and interactive genres — novels, plays, movies, video games — rely on a structural framework.”

P. 153: Detailed summary of Sonata Form
In a nutshell:
Sonata Form AB within ABA

Mozart: Serenade in G major, K. 525 ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’
Movement 1: Allegro

Mozart: Piano Sonata no. 16 in C major
Movement 1: Allegro

Beethoven: Symphony no. 5
Movement 1: Allegro con brio

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