Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

The Power of Music to Create Images in the Minds’ Eye, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 895

Essay

Music has long had the power to portray messages of love, loss, happiness, and suffering to listeners worldwide. For centuries, this art form transported listeners to places of fictional events, of desired resolutions and sensual desire. Music has the ability to render images in the minds of listeners, simply by the characteristics of its form, its use of instruments and its overall structure. This paper will examine three pieces from different genres and analyze the impact they have on listeners. That effect, or image provoked, will be attributed to the style of the composition and the instruments involved. The three pieces are Adagio for Strings, Afro-American Symphony – Third Movement, and the New England Triptych: Chester.

Adagio for Strings

Adagio for Strings composed by Samuel Baber is a work for string orchestra and is the second movement of his String Quartet No.1 (Keir). Completed in 1936, this composition brings to mind a melancholic longing. It evokes feelings of sadness and regret. About three minutes into the composition there comes a glimmer of hope as the strings are enunciated to generate a ‘lighter’ feel to the overall gloom of the piece. Near the end, those same strings return to build a crescendo of hope and then disappointment. It brings about an image of a soldier away at war and his lover waiting eagerly for his return. It builds to a dramatic climax as he is fighting for a safe return, but fails miserably on the battlefield where he meets his demise.

Adagio for Strings begins softly with violins playing a B flat. These violins are soon joined by lower strings as the pianissimo tone continues. However, despite the soft tone, a feeling of unease saturates the piece from the very beginning. The New York Times called this particular melodic move a ‘stepwise motion,’ (Keller). Barber creates tension in this piece by changing the harmonies of the melodic contour of the piece. There is a chordal addition for each instrument that is not playing the melody or counter-melody, which attributes to the diatonically stepwise contour of the composition. In this piece, which is riddled with vertical harmonic progression, Barber uses both the 4/4 and 6/4 time signature. Violins and violas play the melody of this piece while the counter-melody is played by second violins at measures 25 and 40. The composition builds to fortissimo close to the end before fading to silence, leaving the listener saddened and the piece ‘harmonically unresolved.” (Keller).

Afro-American Symphony – Third Movement

William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony (Third Movement) brings about images of jubilant celebrations. I see ladies in tank-style beaded dresses and well-dressed gentlemen doing the Charleston in a crowded bar. I am instantly transported to the 1930s jazz era where music mattered most in an otherwise racially biased world.

Afro-American Symphony was the first symphony written by an African American composer for an African American audience (Classics for Kids). The piece was completed in 1930 and fused blues and jazz successfully into a symphony (Wright 120). This symphony is for full orchestra and includes instruments such as the harp and tenor banjo. Still’s incorporation of blues progressions into the symphony reminds the audience that popular African music of that era could fuse successfully with a classical sound. The symphony in its entirety consisted of four movements. The third movement it titled Humor. It consists of two themes, each with a different sound. Theme one, played in A-flat is accompanied by a counter-melody. The counter-melody, played by the horns in measure 8-11, and by the oboe and flute in measure 12-15, contribute to the playful sound of this movement (Wright 122). The second theme consists of a variety of wind instruments and low strings and has a fanfare like mood, which interrupts theme one quite consistently, adding to the overall rapturous sound of the piece.

New England Triptych: Chester

William Schuman’s New England Triptych: Chester evokes a collage of images. In the beginning, I am overwhelmed by feelings of extreme patriotism. As the piece progresses the mood changes to one of celebration. The image most vivid is one of soldiers’ return home. These men and women of war partake in a small-town parade and are honored for their duty to the country. Once the parade is over, the townsfolk celebrate their safe return by dancing and singing in the streets.

This symphony consists of four movements and is considered a ‘symphonic composition’ that lasts nearly 16 minutes. The composition is based on the works of William Billings and is written for an orchestra of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, strings and percussion. It fuses different styles of Billings’ works into one symphonic masterpiece. Chester, specifically, is considered to be Billings’ best-known work; it is also the third movement of the New England Triptych. The Continental Army adopted this church hymn as a marching song. First composed by Schuman in 1956, Chester comprises of complex woodwind parts and repeated marching beats, which gives the composition its patriotic spirit (Kingman 299).

Works Cited

Classics for Kids. Of Note. N.p., n.d. February 2009. Web. 1 December 2010 <http://www.classicsforkids.com/lyris_design/ofnote_feb09.html>.

Keir, Kimberly. Adagio for Strings. PhD Thesis. Maryland: Hal Leonard Publishing, 2008.

Keller, Johanna. “An Adagio for Strings, and for the Ages.” 5 March 2010. The New York Times / International Herald Tribune. 1 December 2010 <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/arts/music/07barber.html?_r=1&ref=arts>.

Kingman, Daniel. American Music: A Panorama. New York: Schirmer Books, 1998.

Wright, Josephine. “William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions. (Review).” Notes (2001): 200-210.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!