MUSIC CONCERT RESPONSE/ELEMENTS OF MUSIC-CHECKLIST
MUSIC CONCERT RESPONSE/ELEMENTS OF MUSIC-CHECKLIST
key and mode
• a different style/period/century of music from what you did last time
• what was the concert
• some general/historical comments
• choose a specific piece/song/movement and tell me details of:
o instrumentation – how instruments related
o rhythmic elements
• any identifiable form (parts/melodies which repeat)???
• make comparisons with ANY MUSICAL ELEMENT in the music you heard to what we have heard in class or read/heard in the textbook
• personal/emotional response
Yuri Yunakov Band at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre 1/23/10; arranged through SymphonySpace.
The SymphonySpace website happily accentuated the “gypsy factor” in their presentation of Yuri Yunakov Band. Indeed, Yuri Yunakov himself has Turkish-Bulgarian Romani
heritage- traditionally rooted in Gypsy traditions. However, even though Yunakov at one point or two toys with the stereotypes of this often stigmatized culture,
(while announcing the recent marriage of one of his band members he jokingly reassures the female audience that the newlywed “…is still looking, you know, gypsy
style!”) the concert itself feels distant from “Disneyfied” Western ideas of colorful Esmeraldas- dancing barefoot, swinging their dazzling tambourines. Yuri Yunakov
and his sextet (clarinet, guitar, keyboards, percussion and vocals) comfortably flirt with a variety of musical genres. Dressed in somber black shirts, as if to really
allow the music (and probably also the wedding if there was one) to be the focus of the performance, the band tears off everything from jazzy, seemingly improvised
scales to bossa nova chants and fluttering folk melodies- the latter bringing forth some Turkish influence. Still, the common denominator is hard to miss since it is
enthusiastically encouraged by Yunakov throughout the show: “Tempo, people, tempo!”. Woodwind and percussion instruments are heavily emphasized, but at the heart of
the concert is the leading musician’s genius with the saxophone, often in counterpoint to a younger colleague’s more shrill-sounding clarinet. In a magnetic number the
two of them seem to partly duel, partly lovingly converse one another as their instruments initially take turns performing monophonic, voice-like scales, back and
forth in the minor mode. Following this emotionally charged musical “dialogue”, the conversation gradually ends up in a polyphonic major climax, fiercely accompanied
by drum beats in duple meter. At this point the piece bears similarities to the form of Guillaume de Machaut’s motet “Quant en moi” in that the two “voices”, the sax
and the clarinet, sound out their respective fairly complicated tunes simultaneously. There are no repetitions, no familiar chorus to come back to, yet, just like
Machaut’s singers, they continuously merge and blend into a fairly rhythmic, tangible melody. The guitar and the two keyboards finally join the rest and help conclude
the piece as it finishes off in a fast-paced homophony.
As two hours of Balkan Wedding Music came to an end, I couldn’t help but wonder whether all music can stand on its own in the absence of its cultural frames. For when
Yuri Yunakov and his Band exit the stage, dripping sweat and happily announcing “See you next time!”, I catch myself wishing that this “next time” would be at an
actual Balkan wedding, you know, gypsy style!
here are a few examples of what i’d like you all to strive for in your CR/comparisons:
a description of the music you hear with a compelling link to a specific piece from the textbook/CD’s and a referencing of the musical element/s that connect the 2
pieces of music – what you hear in your live music event and the named piece from the textbook. i hope these examples help.
The song itself was simple. It was homophonic, with a simple background melody played with a string instrument (acoustic guitar) and vocals, similar to the troubadour
song of Bernart de Ventadorn, “La dousa votz.” Much like “La dousa votz,” the rhythm and mood (or chords) from the string instrument remained consistent throughout the
song. There was a slight difference in the form, as previously mentioned, with the returning (ritornello) chorus. “La dousa votz” is just a series of verses, while
“Teach Your Children Well” employs ritornello like Vivaldi’s “Violin Concerto in G.” Of course it’s a much simpler structure than Vivaldi’s piece, but the basic
mechanism is still the same. The structure would be something like “A, B, C, B.” To me though, the most important part of “Teach Your Children Well” was undoubtedly
the lyrics. In this regard, it is once again like “La dousa votz,” where there story being told is what’s important.
A series of low, quasi-hymnal chords give way to a mysterious bass repetition of the word koyaanisqatsi. In technical terms, the opening moments can be clearly
identified as a passacaglia, a “…set of variations on a brief series of chords and also the bass line associated with the chords.” (Listen, 100) and are evocative of
the fourth movement of Girolamo Frescobaldi’s “Suite (Canzona, Balletto, Corrente, and Passacaglia)”. In practical terms, the slow development of the foundational
chords is drone-like, and in conjunction with the dark vocal repetition of the exotic, Hopi word has the emotional effect of a recitation. This is plainchant, and is
no less compelling than Hildegard von Bingen’s “Columba aspexit.”