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Monday, April 04, 2005

Bartok - Diminished Fifth - Mikrokosmos, No. 101, Vol. IV

Hahahaha! So, here's what I get for ending Bat Boy rehearsal late. You can't get to the library before it closes, and the only recording you can find is of the VERY dissonant Bartok piece. Here we go!

The piece uses two voices, close in register (think alto and tenor voicing - that's the only way I can describe it). Therefore, it's hard to follow the voices separetely. It sounds like they are blending together to create one voice. Often, while one voice holds a note, the other is playing part of the main motive, creating a feeling of one motive being handed back and forth between the voices.

I didn't recognize any distinct cadences, but the diminished fifth is used a lot at the end of motives, hence the title. For example, it's used at the end of M. 4. This could suggest the end of a phrase, especially since there's an eighth note rest in both voices. The other obvious place that the diminished fifth is used is the last chord of the piece, where the opening motive returns, starting M. 36.

The alto voice begins the main motive, with the tenor voice playing an inverted form of this statement. I loved the descending line that alternates between the two voices from M. 15-22.

Best I could do!


Spoonaloompa said...

Good for you for attempting this - I took one look at the Bartok and decided it wasn't worth it. I wonder how we're supposed to analyze the harmony...

Minnie Mouse said...

Nice job Liz. You get an A for effort. This actually is not a bad analysis for as hard as the piece was. Give yourself some credit!!

Martin Buber said...

I don't think you analyze the harmonies, at least from any traditional perspective, with Bartok.

But good job.

Excepting that it's contrapuntal, his cadences might actually be easier to hear since he has to spell them out with melodic closure and pause since the harmonies don't do it for you. But then,'s still hard to see pauses without the score and harder still with polyphony!

Alex said...

The diminished fifth was built off of set theory. There is no point in trying to find "tonic" because it doesn't exist. Instead, he uses numbers and mathematical inversions to create his piece. If you'll notice, the right hand in mm. 1-5 is the same as the left in mm. 6-11; similarly, the left hand in mm. 1-5 is the same as the right in mm. 6-11.

He uses the "pitch clock" (where C=0, C#=1 ... B=11), normal order, prime form, and interval vectors. The intervals between the two sets are [1 2 2 0 1 0] and the notes, C D Eb F Gb Ab A B make up an octatonic scale (to be specific, Octatonic 2, 3).

Anonymous said...

Very well done, Alex. Need to consider also the number of transpositions the piece has and also the dynamic sequence.

Anonymous said...

The piece is analyzed using Set Theory. There are 12 pitches in the collection. you need to see what type of pitch collections Bartok is using.