The first thing that stood out to me when listening to Kyrie (monophonic) was the rhythm. Rhythm is the way that music is organized into distinct time units. It tells the order and the length of the pitches. In this piece, the pitches stood on the notes for long periods of time, especially at the end of the verses (such as on the lyric “son”). The tempo stood out to me as well, as the tempo is the speed at which a piece of music or part of it is played. In this piece, certain pitches had more emphasis and took up longer periods of time than others. Certain pitches were assigned to longer durations of time than others, such as at the end of the piece where the last note had a particularly longer duration. Additionally, I took note of the melody, which is a unit of pitches that are sounded one right after the other (in succession). There are higher and lower pitches and those show the differences in the sounds that are heard. I noticed especially higher pitches towards the middle of the song as the music progressed. Furthermore, some pitches had shorter distances between each other, known as conjunct, and some had longer distances, known as disjunct. At some points, the words seemed to blend together faster, and at other times it sounded like it was taking a bit longer to get to the next verse, showing the disjunct. One thing I did not notice in this piece was the timbre, which is the particular sound of color of an instrument that makes it unique. There are no noticeable strings, woodwinds, brass, or percussion that was heard. However, after playing the song for a second time, I noticed a slight mystical sound in the background, almost like an echo, that was being played along with the singer’s voice.
The next piece I listened to was Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass. I really enjoyed this piece and found it pleasing to listen to. After learning the musical elements, I concluded that this could be from the consonant harmonies, which are harmonies that sound pleasing together. This piece had a very excellent use of harmony, which refers to the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time. This piece had multiple pitches that were being sung simultaneously, some going much higher, while others much lower in the background. I also noted the polyphony, which are several independent lines sounding simultaneously, which is what all the different voices sound like as they blended beautifully together. This contrasts with the ending, which I believed showed monophony, which is a single musical line that ended off the song in a satisfying way. I would say this piece of music is structured similar to church/gospel music, as it has that spiritual, higher power feeling to it.
The Baroque period took place from 1600-1750s. One thing about this period that excites me is that opera was invented during this time. The operas they had back then are very similar to musicals that we have today. The operas consisted of a combination between singing, as well as a storyline with a plot usually based on love stories from Greek mythology. Generally, included in the storyline were some sort of divine presence that came to save the day and helped all the issues work out. Early operas featured simple songs, however later on there were alterations between “speech like sections with melodious songs.” It was really fascinating to learn that even in the 16th century they had their own version of Broadway entertainment.
Additionally, this was a time period when music started to become more adventurous. There were new instrumental genres that were being born such as “sonata” and “concerto.” Despite these broadening genres, all styles of music were still able to be unified. This is because all music from that century came from the same base line known as “basso continuo.” This bass line is what brought together all the different types of music and styles during this period. Furthermore, there were some modern advancements to music during this time, such as the development of major and minor chords, as well as ornaments being added to musical notes.
I chose the composer Gerorge Frideric Handel’s most famous piece,“Messiah.” This music does sound like what I expected from this era. This is because the structure resembled that of an opera, although there is no direct speech. In addition, during this time period musicians were into impressing their audiences. This piece includes fast paced violin as well as the voices reaching high melodic notes, such as the Hallelujah chorus, which are vocally impressive. This piece also has the angelic and divine feels to it, which was popular during the Baroque period.