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May 31, 2020, 01:42:03 pm

Author Topic: Music, Musicology and Music Education!  (Read 222 times)  Share 

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angewina_naguen

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Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« on: May 20, 2020, 10:34:16 am »
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Hey, everyone!

Something I've been wanting to do for a while is setting up a thread and sharing my love for music! At university, I study a Bachelor of Music (Music Education) with a major in Musicology (the alliteration is outstanding). The wonderful thing about being a musicology major is that I am constantly immersed in the innerworkings of music and have the privilege to engage with music from a variety of perspectives. One thing musicology seems to lack, at least as I found during my time in school, was accessibility. I wanted to find a way to combine both my passion for music history and analysis with my desire to share the joy that music grants us, whether we are everyday listeners or those interested in understanding music at a more complex level. What better place than here on the forums  ;D

My goal is for this to be similar to a book club but with music recommendations from yours truly! Whether it's classical music, jazz, to Kpop and rock, I hope my observations and analysis can help enrich your listening experience and to increase your awareness of the uniqueness of each song/piece/potentially whole symphonies. I would also encourage for you all to share the music you also like and challenge me to analyse them too  :D I'm open to answering questions, generating discussions and expanding this thread beyond being an educational resource to being a space for us to all occupy as a community of learners. 

Watch this space for my first post soon!

Angelina  ;D
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 11:48:01 am by angewina_naguen »

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angewina_naguen

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Re: Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 11:45:17 am »
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I'm going to start off this thread with one of my favourite pieces of music!

Background Information
  • This Pas de Deux is from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (1892), one of his most beloved ballets to this day and a Christmas favourite for many. In the ballet, it's performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluche.
  • When Tchaikovsky was provided with the commission for this ballet, he was given extensive and detailed instructions on how the composition should play out. While this might be restrictive by today's standard, this was fairly common practice in the time period. That didn't mean the composer didn't have opportunities to exercise creative freedom (if he didn't, we wouldn't have some of the most amazing works of music ever!)
  • The very first instrument you hear in this Pas de Deux is a celesta. Tchaikovsky first discovered this when he was in Paris and thought it would represent the Sugar Plum Fairy's character appropriately. It's a distinct part of his score and contributes to this otherworldliness The Nutcracker embodies.

Analysis and Observations
  • This entire number in the ballet is based on two descending passages, one which uses the pitches from the major scale and the other which uses the relative minor scale. Symbolically, we could associate this constant tension as some kind of conflict between the divine, the glorious and with the mundane, the suffering. I find the first entrance of it with the cello to be one of the most magical moments of the entire ballet.
  • Tchaikovsky is a master of simplicity. His melodies are easy to listen to and he relies a great degree on repetition to develop them. That being said, he really knows how to use the instruments available to him which, in this case, is an orchestra, to create drama and magnificence.
  • I am a huge fan of the way he uses percussion and brass in this number. Considering it has such a gentle, sweet and almost heavenly start, the use of percussion and brass really assist in transforming the material into something more aggressive, assertive and agonising even. The strings are incredible but I think it's even more impressive how he uses the surrounding forces to colour the music. You can really feel it at 3:24 in the recording I have above!

Additional Comments
  • As a child, I was obsessed with the Barbie version of The Nutcracker and the scene where she's dancing with the Prince remains perhaps one of my favourite choreographies of this Pas de Deux. The key is different from the original and the orchestration is also slightly differently at times but nevertheless just as gorgeous. I know it's probably blasphemous that I've basically chosen an animated version of the pas de deux over actual performances of it but without this movie, I wouldn't have appreciated the pas de deux or the music as much as I do now. I've included it below for your viewership!
  • This was my chosen piece for my end of semester presentation in my first semester of university. After spending months analysing it (and crazily pulling together a 10 minute presentation in two days), I could talk for hours about how this single number encapsulates the essence of the entire ballet. This is definitely a number I would be happy to answer further questions on if anyone had any!

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Partyking1234

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Re: Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 03:54:51 pm »
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It's surprising that movies such as the Barbie series were so heavily enriching themselves in classical music and us as kids would never have properly understood the musical context! Now doing my own BachArts/Education, you really understand the importance of classical music to see how we got to where we are now. The piece is definitely a beautiful one and a staple of Tchaikovsky's works :) very keen to see more updates with this!  :D

angewina_naguen

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Re: Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 05:46:28 pm »
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It's surprising that movies such as the Barbie series were so heavily enriching themselves in classical music and us as kids would never have properly understood the musical context! Now doing my own BachArts/Education, you really understand the importance of classical music to see how we got to where we are now. The piece is definitely a beautiful one and a staple of Tchaikovsky's works :) very keen to see more updates with this!  :D

Precisely! Many cartoons make use of some of the best classical music works out there  :D My favourite symphony, which I'll bring up later in another post, was also featured in a Barbie movie so there's definitely a trend there  :) Excited to see more of your posts here too!

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katie,rinos

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Re: Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 10:15:06 pm »
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Super keen to read/listen to this!!  ;D
Class of 2017 (Year 12): Advanced English, General Maths, Legal Studies, Music 1, Ancient History, History Extension, Hospitality
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Sine

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Re: Music, Musicology and Music Education!
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 10:40:17 pm »
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Great idea for a thread  :D
Hope to see a lot of analysis from everyone