How to Make an Impression of Classical Music on Students: Introduction of a Trial Using Musical Quotations

How to Make an Impression of Classical Music on Students: Introduction of a Trial Using Musical Quotations

Tohru Nakanishi (Shujitsu University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8042-3.ch013

Abstract

In this article, the author introduces one interesting method to attract the attention of students considerably to classical music. That is a method to introduce quotation of music. Quotation of music means to quote a work by incorporating some of past composer's melodies or melodies of others to one's composing music. In some cases, it is done intentionally. Quotation is a kind of symbiosis of past composers and recent composers, and we can understand the intension of composers clearly by finding these quotations in the music.
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Several Examples Of Musical Quotation

There are various research examples on the citation of such music, and there are cases where there are discussions as to whether it is a quotation or a mere coincidence, but here I would like to mention a few examples of what I received a lot of impression. Many of these are consciously or symbolically citing the melody, so the quoted melody is characterized by many messages including strong message nature.

The most famous thing in history is a quotation of the melody or rhythm (score example 1) which is the famous motif of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor “fate”. When writing the symphony, the composer must be conscious of this Beethoven’s 5th symphony considerably. Shostakovich's 5th is a symphony that begins with an atmosphere very similar to “fate” although tonality is D minor, and Mahler's symphony No. 5 is an example of imitating “fate”. First of all, its tonality of C# minor is quite equivalent to Beethoven's C minor, and although the rhythm of the trumpet (score example 2) has the difference between eighth notes and triplets, it is “fate” itself. The famous marriage march as an interlude to the fifth act of the famous Mendelssohn's “Midsummer Night's Dream” also begins with this “fate” motif (score example 3). Perhaps both pieces are conscious of “fate” considerably, and in fact the beginning of Mahler's symphony No. 5 is said to be a double quote of Beethoven's “fate” and Mendelssohn's marriage march. If you compare Mahler and Mendelssohn indeed, both motifs are triplets, and after repeating twice with the same sound, they look exactly the same as where they rise to third. The fourth movement “Adagietto” of this symphony is a musically romantic string orchestra, which is said to be a love letter to his wife Alma at that time, so I can make a lot of remarks where the beginning of Mahler's own fate and marriage are symbolically expressed by this motif. However, although Mendelssohn is bright third, Mahler is minor third, even after that the funerary march is continued to be what a dark Mahler seems to be. It seems that he has already foreseen discontent with Alma and child's death, and it can be said that it is a somewhat music eerie.

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