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Handel

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Explain the features of ‘And the glory of the Lord’ by Handel
In terms of melody, word setting and structure, the piece, ‘And the glory of the Lord’ by Handel, is structured around the main 4 melodic ideas, starting with a rimornello: ‘and the glory of the Lord’( idea 1), ‘shall be revealed’ (idea 2), ‘and all flesh shall see it together’(idea 3) and ‘for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it’(idea 4). The first idea has two characteristic features. The first three notes, although not in order, make up up the A major triad and the second feature is a stepwise scale ending. The setting of the word is mainly syllabic. The second idea has a melismatic setting of the word ‘revealed’ and this is built up of a two one-bar descending sequence. The third idea is repetitive having three statements of the descending fourth idea. Because it is repeating, it gives the impression of a firm statement. The fourth idea is characterised by long repeated notes. These notes emphasise the idea ‘the Lord hath spoken it’. To achieve this strength Handel doubles the part with tenors and basses. All four of these short melodic phrases contrast from one another, so that when Handel combines them together, each melody having its own character and shape can be clearly heard.
This piece’s instrumentation suits its grand yet religious nature. There is a SATB(Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) choir. Double basses play same as cellos but sound an octave lower. The introduction is just the strings alone. Some vocal parts are accompanied only by continuo for example the first vocal entry. Harpsichord improvises harmonies from the bass line. Handel later added in parts for the bassoon and oboe.
In terms of the piece’s tonality and harmony, major keys are used all the way throughout the piece to highlight te piece’s joyous mood. The piece begins and ends in the key of A major. One section of the piece is played in the dominant key ,E major, then another section modulates to B major. It first modulates to E major in bar 21-22; it changes back to A major in bar 43; it then changes to B major in bar 67-68; it again modulates back to A major. Throughout the piece, are perfect cadences but the piece finishes with a plagal cadence.
The texture alternates between homophonic (in bars 11-14) and contrapuntal(e.g 4 point counterpoint in bar 97), but there are a few short monophonic sections(for example, right at the beginning). Handel often combines different motifs to create polyphonic textures. Contrasts are created by the use of the single voice in contrast with the whole choir. Instruments often double vocal line although usually at different octaves.
In terms of rhythm, the time signature of 3/4 is used throughout. Hemiola is used (for example bars 9-10). Longer note values used to highlight idea 4. This is a joyous movement which is reflected in the the allegro tempo and the lilting rhythms. The ending is a total silence followed by a sustained plagal cadence.…...

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