Free «Musical Style in Performance» Essay Sample

Listening to live western art music is different from other experiences like listening on radio, headphones where you only hear the tune without having any visual interaction. While listening to a live Western music concert, the audience appears to listen attentively as they are quietly engaged with the performance with the anxiety to see what is to come after. This is unique in the following aspects;

Existence of the social space of performance

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Social space can be considered as the performance event. It offers understanding of how participants are engaged. The participants can be both the audience and the musicians since music making is a social process. Music was realized as an identity by Simon Frith. Frith discovered the connection between music and development of social identity.

The narrative and the body

The presence of human body as the creator of music and as a participant in making music is brought by the live performance of creative improvisation. In particular occasion, the importance of the creative activator of music who is the performer is downplayed. For instance, in the performance of a Western classical symphony, the creator of music is viewed as the composer since the score is written by him or her. Here, performers are perceived to be interpreters of music rather than the sources of music. The body is an integral part in the process of making music since it doesn't generate meaning only but also contributes to interaction of music.

The audience as performers

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Live music makes the audience both as individuals and as a collective to perform either by what they are doing i.e., thinking and listening or how they influence the performance in terms of the presence of their bodies and their interactions with the musicians who are performing. Many members of the audience make specific reference to the importance of being in a position to see instrumentalists so as to locate the source of certain interesting sounds. It is also believed that visual information through live music helps one to understand the sound that come from the drums.

The people in the concert were very anxious and jovial to see what the musicians had in store for them. This can be told by their punctuality to the venue of the concert and the kind of noise they made in the concert hall. The physical layout of the venue was that of sizeable loft setting that had chair and couch seating on one part of the hall and the other part was an open space for performers. The stage is not raised; it was an intimate performance environment since the musicians and the audience was on the same level. A small number of paying patrons attended this concert. They sat comfortably and listened to the proceedings. Musicians themselves formed the bigger part of the audience. Since musicians who were performing on stage also sat together with the audience. The behaviour of the audience was characterized by informality throughout the concert. This informality by no means suggested lack of appreciation or respect to the music. The audience appeared to be listening attentively.

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This was an instrumental symphony. It consist four movements with very unusual styles. The usual tempo relationships are turned inside out by the four movements. It begins with slow movements. Faster movements are reserved for the second and third place. It was certain that the procedure was not unprecedented. Two previous symphonies of valedictory character ended in slow tempo. These include the "Farewell" which is forty fifth symphony of Haydn in F-sharp minor, and the sixth symphony of Tchaikovsky entitled "Pathetique." Mahler's 9th starts from an opening movement in key D (though not specific whether minor or major) and ends firmly in key D flat. In one of the simplest musical ideas, a poignant longing to stay is expressed by the first movement. A descending idea of the theme that goes down the scale (mi, re, do), but rejects coming to the point of rest or the final note (do). This is often heard in the Ninth as a form of musical sigh.

This symphony comprised of the following orchestra; woodwinds (piccolo, 4 flutes, 4 oboes, E-flat clarinet, 3 clarinets in B-flat, A, bass clarinet and bassoons), brass (4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba and 3 trumpets), percussion (bass drum, timpani, cymbals, tam-tam snare-drum, glockenspiel and triangle), and strings (2 harps, violas, double basses, violins i, ii, and violoncellos). This work exhibited tonal progression. The movement of the symphony starts in D-major and ends in D flat major. In this symphony the initial rhythm is shared between the fourth horn and the cellos. The three-note motif that wholly dominates the movement is stated by the harp. Then the second horn introduces the third of the basic motifs. Throughout the entire movement, the violins play a symbolic role.

In conclusion, this symphony completes the excellent work in nine chapters. It was full of sound and fury. As the music fragmented and grew ever more rarefied, the audience could not be mistaken as they felt an exceptional emotional charge. The audience is invariably carried by the work. The performers outdo themselves as the work invites the listeners to feel united with each other.

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