Flashcards in AOS 6 The Rite of Spring Deck (7)
Describe the use of rhythm and metre in 'The Rite of Spring'
Rubato during the bassoon solo, with accompanying musicians required to play colla parte.
Triplets and quintuplets are found everywhere
Polyrhythm can be found at the climax of the introduction, where simultaneous triplets, septuplets, straight quavers all sound together to illustrate the chaos of the gradual awakening of nature at the beginning of spring. In the ritual of abduction, the upper strings play in compound triple time, while the double basses play in 4/8 and 5/8.
Cross-rhythms can be found in figure 15, where triplet quavers in the solo trumpet part work against the straight pairs of quavers in the string chords.
Time signature changes, Stravinsky almost constantly changes his time signatures, and can be seen from the start where 4/4, 3/4 and 2/4 alternate.
Unusual time signatures, such as 5/8, 2/8 and 4/8 are used near the end of the Ritual of Abduction.
Syncopation is at the heart of this piece.
Powerful off-beat string and horn chords appear randomly at the beginning of the Augurs.
Describe the use of texture in 'The Rite of Spring'
Polyphony is the overriding texture of the piece, with frequent use of simultaneous fragmentary melodies, e.g. at the end of the introduction.
The texture of the whole first section builds from monophonic to a two-part texture in a duet with the French Horn. At the più mosso, after figure three, there is a four part texture. At the climax, just before figure 12, there are numerous polyphonic parts in the chaos of spring's arrival.
There is an abrupt change to homophonic chords fro the stamping dance for the Augurs of Spring. This changes to melody-dominated homophony with the solo trumpet entry. In the complex polyphony at figure 29, Stravinsky uses multiple ostinato fragments, as well as a countermelody in trumpets and cellos.
Homorhythmic texture is used in the climaxes of the Ritual of Abduction.
Describe the use of melody in 'The Rite of Spring'
A number of melodies are derived from Russian and other Eastern European folk songs. The opening bassoon melody is derived from a Lithuanian folk song.
Ostinatos dominate the whole work. The four-note ostinato idea in the cor anglais at figure 14 occurs at numerous points in the augurs of spring.
The melody is very fragmented and repetitive. E.g. at figure 15, the solo trumpet fragment, which also shows other typical melodic features such as repeated notes and chromaticism.
The solo horn at figure 25's melody is typically short and also surprising in its completely diatonic nature, with acciaccatura ornaments. This ornamentation is an important feature of Russian folk songs and can also be heard in the solo bassoon.
Also, short motifs are detached from longer melodies and re-ordered. At figure 17, the alto flute plays the new diatonic tune, and the last two notes with the acciaccatura are taken and repeated, before a motif from the middle of the tune is used.
Describe the Harmony and Tonality of 'The Rite of 'Spring'
There is never any clear sense of key and constant use of harsh dissonance, but there are suggestions of bitonality at the beginning of the Augurs of Spring, where an Eb7 chord in the upper strings is played simultaneously with an Fb major chord in the cellos and basses. The cor anglais ostinato at figure 14 continues to outline the Eb7 chord, while the the cellos outline the Fb major chord, now notated as E major.
The combinations of multiple conflicting tonal elements can be heard at the height of the chaos at the end of the introduction from figure 11. There are chromatic scales in some woodwind parts and C7 broken chords in violas and E minor and major harmonies in the Bassoon. Even though most of this is created by tonal means, it creates an atonal effect.
The opening bassoon melody is diatonic in Aeolian (A) style.
Describe the structure of 'Introduction' from'The Rite of Spring'
Can be seen as a musical representation of the gradual awakening of the earth after the long Russian winter.
Numerous melodic ideas, starting with the meandering bassoon solo, then a cor anglais idea, with its distinctive rising perfect fourth, followed by an oboe idea in figure 5 with distinctive phrase with rising fifths.
The texture builds from monophonic to the chaotic polyphony which gradually emerges. Numerous short ostinato figures are combined.
After figure 9, a new, high-pitched, piercing idea is introduced on the Clarinet in D, with its first four notes dominating the texture and the music builds to a climax. At figure 12, all suddenly stops and the bassoon solo reappears. Briefly, the next section is anticipated by a four note ostinato theme in pizzicato violins.
Describe the structure of 'The Augurs of Spring' from 'The Rite of Spring'
The section opens with bitonal stamping chords, reinforced by the eight horns, producing randomised syncopation.
The anticipated four note ostinato theme begins in the cor anglais above the chords in figure 14 and continues sporadically, for much of the whole section.
Fragments of melody are heard in the solo trumpet, with three against two cross-rhythms and descending chromatic scalic figures.
Figure 18 has the return of the bitonal chords, with a new, conjunct, diatonic melodic idea starts in the bassoons, beginning with repeated notes, all heavily syncopated. A solo trombone joins in with the same idea at figure 20. This chaos is all brought to a stop just before figure 22, with fortissimo dissonant chords and prominent timpani and bass drum.
At figure 22, the cor anglais ostinato resumes the main melody, a simple diatonic folk tune in the solo horn, is heard at figure 25, and answered a more flamboyant flute melody.
The triplet repeated idea returns at figure 26, before the alto flute takes up the melody played at figure 25, while the ostinato accompaniment continues.
More instruments join the texture as another climax is being reached. The new tune continues to be repeated as a further melodic idea is introduced in the trumpets, shortly after figure 28. This starts with four repeated crotches and is entirely conjunct. This is played by a pair of trumpets, both in parallel thirds. The four trumpets together produce parallel seventh chords in second inversion.
There is a quick quieter section as new ostinati figures begins at figure 30, and the music moves towards the ff tutti climax at the end of the section.