fran ois couperin 1668 1733 n.
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Fran ç ois Couperin 1668-1733. L’art de toucher le clavecin. Questions of ornamentation. Is the ornament diatonic, or does it require an accidental? Does it precede the main note or fall on the beat? Is it fast or slow? If slow, what proportion of the main note does the ornament require?

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questions of ornamentation
Questions of ornamentation
  • Is the ornament diatonic, or does it require an accidental?
  • Does it precede the main note or fall on the beat?
  • Is it fast or slow?
  • If slow, what proportion of the main note does the ornament require?
  • Does the stress lie more on the ornament or the main note?
antonio vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
  • Venetian composer
  • Holy Orders in his early twenties.
antonio vivaldi 1678 1741
il prete rosso - “The Red Priest”

Girls’ orphanage in Venice

Composer in one of four of the most important music schools of Italy (and Europe)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
vivaldi s musical style
Vivaldi’s Musical Style
  • Vivaldi is credited for helping to free instrumental style from vocal style.
  • Each piece is used as a teaching tool to create virtuosity in the players of the orphanage and music school.
  • Vivaldi boasted that he could write a concerto faster than the copyist could copy it!
vivaldi s musical style1
Vivaldi’s Musical Style
  • Rapid scale patterns
  • Arpeggio: the outlining of a chord’s root, third, fifth and octave.
  • Change of register. High Low
  • Tessitura: range of an instrument
  • Creating contrasting timbres by blending different instruments together. (sonority)
the four seasons spring
The Four Seasons: Spring
  • La Primavera: The Spring
  • Programmatic Concerto:
  • Program Music: Music that is inspired by prose, poetry, painting, or a scene or event in the mind of the composer.
the four seasons spring1
The Four Seasons: Spring
  • Program: the actual thought, poetry, or prose.
  • La Primavera describes with music a poem from The Contest Between Harmony and Inspiration… attributed to the composer.
spring concerto in e major
Spring – Concerto in E Major


Springtime is upon us.

The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.

Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,

Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.


On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.


Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

la primavera first movement
La Primavera: First movement
  • Joyful spring has arrived (the Spring theme: Ritornello)
  • The birds greet it with their cheerful song.
  • And the brooks in the gentle breezes.
  • Flow with a sweet murmur.
  • The sky is covered with a black mantle, and thunder and lightening announces a storm
  • When they fall silent, the birds take up again their melodious song.
Ritornello form

Vivaldi’s Concerto, Mvt 1

R1S1 R2 S2 R3 S3 R4S4 R5 S5 R6






How is S2

NOT consistent

w/ the form?






  • Over 500 concertos
  • 46 operas
  • sinfonias
  • 73 sonatas
  • chamber music
  • sacred music
treatise on harmony 1722
Treatise on Harmony (1722)
  • Coined the terms tonic, dominant and subdominant
  • harmonic progression through falling 5th (or rising 4th)
  • chords maintain their identity regardless of inversion (harmony is based on root progression, regardless of lowest note)
rameau music theory1
Rameau: Music Theory
  • the chord is the primal element in music
  • a chord maintains its identity in all inversions basse fondamentale or root progression
  • Triadic relationships: tonic, dominant, etc.
  • Hierarchial function of triads
  • Pivot chord modulation
rameau theory ii
Rameau - theory II
  • 3. Triadic relationships - tonic, domininant, etc.
  • 4. Hierarchial function of triads
  • 5. Pivot chord modulation
hippolyte et aricie 1733
Hippolyte et Aricie (1733)
  • music almost programmatic (rough sea, high winds
  • “Ah! faut-il”
  • tragédie lyrique
  • monologue
exposed to greatness
Exposed to greatness
  • Alexandre-Jean-Joseph Le Riche de la Poupliniere (a rich tax collector) became Rameau’s patron
  • Poupliniere’s gatherings included Voltaire, Rousseau, and Casanova
lullistes versus ramistes
Lullistes versus Ramistes

Rameau: “subverter of the good old French opera tradition of Lully”

  • more expressive, dramatic (due to more chromatic harmonies)
  • innovative orchestration (more winds)
  • increase in homophonic sections (Classical period is right around the corner)