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Peripetie from Five Orchestral Pieces, Op.16 - Schoenberg
PART 1 - Placing the Set Work in its Musical, Social and Historical Context
About the Composer Placing the Set Work in a Social and Historical Context
Arnold Schoenberg Austrian, born Vienna in 1874; died 1951
Painter as well as a composer composed and painted in Expressionist style.
Created the "twelve-note system or serialism new compositional technique
Related composers Alban Berg (1885-1935); Anton Webern (1883-1945)
About the Set Work Placing the Set Work in a Musical Context
The term Expressionism was originally borrowed from visual art and literature. Artists created vivid
pictures, distorting colours and shapes to make unrealistic images that suggested strong emotions.
Expressionist composers poured intense emotional expression into their music exploring their
subconscious mind. Expressionist music often features:
A high level of dissonance; Extreme contrasts of dynamics; Constantly changing textures; 'Distorted'
melodies and harmonies; Angular melodies with wide leaps
Music comes from the TWENTIETH CENTURY (c1900-1999) features of 20
th
century music include
Melody - likely to include wide leaps, using chromatic and dissonant intervals, angular and spiky, short
and fragmentary, glissandi, melodies based on note rows
Harmony extreme dissonances, more discords, note-clusters, hexachords
Rhythm vigorous and dynamic, syncopation, irregular metres, changes of metre,
polyrhythms, ostinato, motor rhythms
Timbre greater concern with tone-colour, strange, intriguing, exotic, striking, explosive,
contrasting; expansion of percussion section and emphasis on percussive sounds, unfamiliar
sounds from familiar instruments, extreme pitch-ranges, instruments being played in different
ways, new sounds such as those involving electronic and magnetic tape.
PART 2 Musical Elements, Instrumentation & Musical Features
Form & Structure - Free RONDO - A B A1 C A2
Tempo & Rhythm Instrumentation &
Texture
Pitch & Melody Harmony & Dynamics
A
sehr rash (very quick)
contains mostly triplets,
sextuplets and
demisemiquavers
Full Orchestra
Homophonic & Solo Sections
Use of MUTED brass for timbre
effects

Opens with motif played by
Flutes, Clarinets and Bassoons

Then a chromatic scale by
MUTED trumpets and
Trombone GLISSANDO

nstruments play "as families
Opening Motifs:



Motifs based on
HEXACHORDS

Dissonant Harmony
(use of the interval of a 7
th
)

Sudden loud bursts
Ranges from fff to pp
B
Uses different rhythms which
overlap
Very THICK TEXTURE in
percussion and woodwind


Starts off VERY SOFT
A1
Variation of A


Return of a HEXACHORD on
the Horns
Dissonant Harmony and
extreme dynamic range
C
Alternates between ruhiger
(calmer) & heftig (passionate)
Sparse texture with solo
instruments overlapping
Bassoon tune, taken over by
the cello & double bass
range from pp-fff. A few Loud
semi quaver passages
A2
Another Variation of A
Speeds up with use of triplet
motifs.
Builds up from clarinets &
strings to the f ull orchestra
(tutto) . Double bass play
TREMOLO chord in very high
register.
Motifs are piled up on top of
each other and are played in
COUNTERPOINT and CANON
crescendos very quickly from
pp to fff dissonant chords &
immediately dies away to finish
with a pp chord
Instrumentation Five Orchestral Pieces is written for a very large orchestra using some unusual instruments. There are
three flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons (instead of the normal pairs) plus piccolo, cor anglais, clarinet in D, bass clarinet and
contrabassoon. There are extra horns, trumpets and trombones plus a tuba. The percussion section includes xylophone, cymbals,
tam tam (a large gong) and bass drum. Instruments often play at the extreme of their registers. There are many performance
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directions in the score. Schoenberg was looking for very specific tone colours or timbres.