What is an Oratorio?
An unstaged dramatic work for orchestra, soloist singers and chorus which has a religious theme
What is an Anthem?
Sacred or devotional music written for special occasions. Almost always choral with orchestra and organ.
High female voice
High male voice
Low female voice
Low male voice
Full choir with two male and female parts
Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass (SATB)
What is (Basso) Continuo?
A type of accompaniment featuring a continuous bass line (on cello or similar) and an instrument improvising chords (harpsichord, organ or lute).
What type of music is George Fredric Handel most famous for writing?
In the Baroque period he wrote Operas in Italian, Oratorios in English as well as many Concertos and Anthems.
Based in England and aimed at English tastes of the period.
Where and when was Handel born?
Born in Germany, 23rd February 23rd 1685.
When did Handel die?
14th April 1759.
A piece featuring a bass line that repeats throughout the song (as an ostinato)
The numbers underneath the continuo bass line that tell the person playing chords, which chords to play.
One single melody line. Solo melody
2 or more parts which move at the same time but with different notes. Moving in chords.
Polyphonic / Contrapuntal Texture
When multiple melodies play at the same time, and are rhythmically independent.
In octaves (texture)
Everyone singing/playing the same tune but in different ranges.
‘Melody and Accompaniment’ Texture
Melody dominated homophony
strong melody over a homophonic accompaniment
A part of the oratorio which tells a story or moves the story along.
- Simple word settings
- Always uses syllabic word-setting
- the accompaniment is usually just continuo (not full orchestra)
Dry recitative, the most common sort of recitative.
*Accompaniment is just a continuo, using simple chords.
Accompanied recitative. Orchestra accompanying it, no strong tune.
An aria-like recitative, more song-like. Conveys more emotion than recitative secco.
A type of song with a strong melody for a soloist, usually accompanied with orchestra.
Da Capo Aria
A song in ternary form (A-B-A1), where the final A section features a highly decorated version of the original melody, with lots of ornamentation.
A piece for full orchestra and choir, the key moment in an oratorio, providing the most excitement.
Used to decorate a simple tune to make a melody more interesting. E.g. Grace note, mordent and trills.
Strings - Violin, Viola, Cello , Double bassWoodwind - Oboe, Bassoon, Recorder, FlutePercussion - Timpani ( Kettle drum), HarpsichordBrass - Simple trumpets, French horn, Trombone (All of these could only play notes from the harmonic series)
More than one note per syllable. E.g. Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria
Each syllable has its own note. E.g. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
When the tune/ melody reflects or mimics what the lyrics are about.
A silence that happens in the middle of a piece to create dramatic effect.
Changes of Tempo and Time Signature
Sudden changes of tempo and time signature for effect.