European Traditions, 1550-1800
Music 261: European Traditions, 1550-1800
Analysis Assignment: Monteverdi and Gesualdo
Due date: Wed., Sept. 5 at the beginning of class
ITEMS ON RESERVE (Burling Listening Room):
1) For Monteverdi's "Ah dolente partita"
find on reserve:
2) For Gesualdo's "Mercè, grido
piangendo" find on reserve:
Recordings and scores of the two madrigals listed above are on reserve for you at Burling Listening Room. Your task is to study the relationship between the music and text of these madrigals by drawing on the same techniques we used in class to analyze two madrigals by the same two composers. Focus your attention on the text (i.e. its meaning) and the way the text is set musically in each particular piece. Think about the ways the music heightens (or perhaps even obscures) the poet's intentions. In your analysis consider elements such as text repetition, the overlapping of different texts, the various musical textures employed (i.e. consider both the harmonic/chordal as well as linear dimensions of each piece), the range of different voices at different moments throughout the piece, the use of different voice groupings, and the way different voices operate in relation to one another. The points you make in this regard should be directly related to the text to which these musical features are tied. Be very specific in your analysis: refer to specific measure numbers and beats within the measure and refer to specific voices (i.e. alto, soprano etc.).
You do not need to consult any secondary sources (books, articles, etc.) to complete this project. A good starting point for thinking about the pieces is to consider them in relation to the similar works we discussed in class.
Your written assignment is not a comparative study of these two madrigals, although I hope you will notice differences between the two pieces as you proceed with your study of them. The assignment consists of two individual parts: a portion devoted to Monteverdi's "Ah dolente partita" and a separate analysis of Gesualdo's "Mercè, grido piangendo." Your paper should be approximately 3 type-written, double-spaced pages. In light of the nature of each piece, I would suggest writing approx. two pages on the Monteverdi madrigal and one page on the Gesualdo madrigal. Provide an introductory paragraph for each, and organize your thoughts in a logical manner. Do not attempt to analyze every aspect of each piece; pick out particular features which strike you and for which you are able to elucidate the particular relationship between text and music.
Make a point of carefully proof-reading the final version of your paper for spelling errors, incorrect grammar etc. Although you are not expected to use secondary sources for this project, if you do directly quote another author or paraphrase his or her ideas you must cite your source/s in footnotes or endnotes. (Make sure to consult the Student Handbook, pp. 51-53 regarding acknowledging sources in your writing; see also Corbett & Finkles' Little English Handbook or The Chicago Manual of Style; both are available in Burling.) Papers should be written individually, although I encourage you to consult with me or Writing Lab instructors on aspects of your writing and organization.
Because an understanding of the text is crucial for this assignment, I have provided you with a literal, word-by-word translation of each text. You can also find less literal translations in the scores and CD booklet. I encourage you to consider the musical treatment of words that appear to be of particular importance.
TEXTS: LITERAL TRANSLATIONS
"Ah, dolente partita"
Ah dolente partita! AH, PAINFUL SEPARATION! Ah, fin de la mia vita! AH, [THIS IS] THE END OF MY LIFE! Da te part'e non moro? FROM YOU I PART AND DO NOT DIE? E pur io provo AND YET I FEEL La pena de la morte, THE PAIN OF DEATH E sento nel partire AND I FEEL IN THE LEAVING Un vivace morire A LIFE-GIVING DEATH Che dà vita al dolore THAT GIVES LIFE TO THE PAIN Per far che moia immortalment'il core. IN ORDER THAT DIES ETERNALLY THE HEART (i.e. only to make my heart die unendingly)
"Mercè grido piangendo"
Mercè grido piangendo "MERCY!" I CRY WEEPING. Ma chi m'ascolta? Ahi lasso, io vengo meno; BUT WHO HEARS ME? ALAS, I COME LESS (i.e. I am failing; I faint) Morrò dunque tacendo. I SHALL DIE, THEREFORE, IN SILENCE Deh, per pietade almeno, AH, FOR PITY AT LEAST Dolce del core tesoro, SWEET OF MY HEART TREASURE (i.e. sweet treasure of my heart) Potessi dirti pria ch'io mora: "Io moro!" LET ME TELL YOU, BEFORE I DIE, "I DIE!"
Last day to select your own research topic/question
Students should begin to think about and work on their research papers as soon as possible. There are three graded components with due dates spread across the course of the semester. It is possible for you to propose your own research area but this must be discussed with me and agreed upon by Sept. 15. If a student chooses one of the research areas listed below, I also suggest that he or she discuss the approach to the topic with me well in advance of Sept. 29 when the paper title, outline, and bibliography are due. Students are required not only to choose a specific area for research but more importantly develop an argument or question for which they are expected to produce supporting evidence. The ability to draw together and synthesize supporting materials, the logical explication of ideas, and clarity of expression are essential for the production of a convincing argument. When you turn in your paper title, outline etc. on Sept. 29, a large proportion of the work for your paper should have already been accomplished. You should have collected, examined, and synthesized the relevant materials to the extent that you are able to formulate your research question and provide a detailed outline of the key features of your argument and how it will be developed. I will return the outline to you with suggestions for improvement that can be incorporated into the final paper.
The paper should be approximately 10 type-written, double-spaced pages (not including bibliography). Before writing the paper, make sure to consult the Student Handbook, pp. 51-53, regarding acknowledging sources in academic writing. You must use either footnotes or endnotes to acknowledge the use of information or ideas drawn from either primary or secondary sources, regardless of whether they are directly quoted or paraphrased. For information on matters of style and format see Corbett & Finkles' Little English Handbook or The Chicago Manual of Style; both are available in Burling. Papers should be written individually, although I encourage you to consult with me or Writing Lab instructors on aspects of your writing and organization.
POSSIBLE RESEARCH AREAS AND QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
1. By drawing on the surviving letters of Monteverdi, discuss the musical politics and social conditions that effected the day to day working life of the musician and composer. You may wish to focus on Monteverdi's employment at either Mantua or Venice or provide a comparison.
2. Consider the social position of the Venetian singer-composer Barbara Strozzi. Discuss the context of her musical performances in relation to the musical styles and genres that she cultivated. To what extent did her gender influence the kind of music-making in which she was involved and the ways she was perceived by her male contemporaries?
3. Taking Purcell's Dido and Aeneas as a focus, examine the ways that his music integrates Italian and/or French influences. To what extent might it be seen to reflect a specifically English style?
4. Discuss the musico-poetic experiments of the group of poets and composers who in 1570 formed the Académie de Poésie et de Musique (Academy of Poetry and Music). Situate these experiments within the context of the French intellectual movement of the late sixteenth century, especially the interest in reviving the poetry and music of the ancients.
on one particular institution, examine the kinds of music-making that
took place in an Italian convent during the seventeenth century. How did
musical nuns resist attempts by church authorities to limit, even suppress,