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On Wenlock Edge

The study of vocal music

What is the context of "On Wenlock Edge"? (Who-What-Where-How-Why-When) WHO: Ralph Vaughan Williams WHAT: Song Cycle WHERE: London HOW: Piano, strings and tenor voice WHY: Text setting for A. E. Housman's poems from "A Shropshire Lad" WHEN: 1909
Describe the melody of "On Wenlock Edge" [5] Restricted noted range throughout Repeated notes emphasise the power of the gale (bar 11 to bar 12) Chromatic conjunct descent (bar 14 to bar 16) Rippling hemidemisemiquaver arpeggios (bar 31 to bar 32) Chromatic slip (bar 37)
Describe the harmony of "On Wenlock Edge" [4] Chord of Eb descending down to an Ab minor chord (bar 1) Parallel first inversion chords (bar 1 to bar 3) False relation between D flat in cello and D natural in second violin (bar 3) Clashing dissonance between Ab and G (bar 11)
Describe the tonality of "On Wenlock Edge" [2] G pentatonic harmony throughout Added fourth C in the G scale throughout
Describe the rhythm of "On Wenlock Edge" [2] Triplets and sextuplets are heard from the beginning Sextuplet semiquavers produce a cross rhythm with straight semiquavers (bar 3)
Describe the texture of "On Wenlock Edge" [5] Trills in unison (bar 7 to bar 12) Left hand of piano doubles the cello (bar 7) Triple stopped pizzicato (bar 8) Score is reduced to just tenor voice and piano (bar 50 to bar 51) Octaves (bar 76 to bar 77)
Describe the instrumentation of "On Wenlock Edge" [4] Tremolo strings (bar 1 to bar 3) Syllabic writing in the tenor line throughout Sul ponticello (bar 57 to bar 75) Vibrato used on tenor voice when singing sustained notes
Describe the melody of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [4] Recitative style for dead man’s melodic line (bar 5 to bar 9) Larger leaps (bar 14 to bar 15) Cello countermelody during living man’s response (bar 9 to bar 18) Introduction idea descends gradually by three octaves (bar 55 to bar 62)
Describe the harmony of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [2] D minor to G major chords throughout Blocked repeated triplet chords (bar 9 to bar 16)
Describe the tonality of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [2] Dorian in modal character Dead man's music is transposed higher than before (bar 45 to bar 51)
Describe the rhythm of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [3] Long held notes enable solo tenor to sing in free time (bar 5 to bar 9) Time signature and tempo changes are common throughout Septuplets decrease to quintuplets (bar 45 to bar 49)
Describe the texture of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [3] Homorhythmic movement (bar 1 to bar 4) Chordal homophony (bar 5 to bar 8) Fortissimo tutti (bar 50)
Describe the instrumentation of "Is My Team Ploughing?" [4] Tremolo strings (bar 37 to bar 38) Sung from a distance for dead man (bar 5 to bar 9) Muted strings (bar 55 to bar 62) Vibrato used on tenor voice when singing sustained
Describe the melody of "Bredon Hill" [3] Flattened 7th F natural indicates a modal outline (bar 29) Simple diatonic melody recalling happier times (bar 24 to bar 35) Mournful phrases are conjunct (bar 92 to bar 111)
Describe the harmony of "Bredon Hill" [3] Dominating minor seventh blocked chords to illustrate church bells throughout Seventh chords in second inversion (bar 29) Fourth and fifth intervals emerge when sevenths become elevenths (bar 52 to bar 83)
Describe the tonality of "Bredon Hill" [2] Untransposed mixolydian feel (bar 29 to bar 32) Flattened seventh F natural ruins G major scale (bar 29 to bar 32)
Describe the rhythm of "Bredon Hill" [3] Sustained bell chords with tied semibreves throughout Anacrusis to fit iambic nature of the first verse (bar 24 to bar 35) Triplets to make the bells ring out more rapidly (bar 52 to bar 79)
Describe the texture of "Bredon Hill" [5] Solemn sustained chords throughout Simple melody dominated homophony (bar 24 to bar 35) Piano part only (bar 52) Single isolated notes (bar 100 to bar 110) Monophony with fading tenor voice (bar 145 to bar 146)
Describe the instrumentation of "Bredon Hill" [4] Upper strings have double stopping (bar 1 to bar 34) Piano is reminiscent of chiming bells (bar 52 to bar 83) Combination of pizzicato and arco playing (bar 100 to bar 110) Open string harmonics (bar 114, bar 144 to bar 145)
Created by: 13hored



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