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Friday, February 22, 2008

Catherine's post

Chord Progression:

m. 137 – i ii42
m. 138 - i i64 i6
m. 139 - I7
m. 140 – iv iv64
m. 141 – 142 - Chromatic bass line starting from a C asceding to an G. Treble clef sounds octave Cs every beat.
m. 143 – N6 (bII)
m. 144 – viio42/bII
m. 145 – bII
m. 146 – bII6
m. 147 – V7/ V
m.148 – i

The Neapolitan chord is approached by a chromatic ascending bass line. It begins with a two beat hold on an octave C, then from there each beat ascends chromatically to scale degree b2 (A-flat). The treble clef has a constant playing of middle C and the octave above until the N6 chord. This approach is eight beats long, and crescendos to the Neapolitan chord. I think is an extremely effective way to approach this chord. The chromatic bass line effectively warns the listener that an important section of the piece is coming. It brings suspension and excitement to the Neapolitan chord. The Neapolitan chord then resolves to a dominant sounding chord. It resolves to viio42/bII, moves back to bII, then the piece finally concludes with a V7/V to a i. I really enjoy how the Neapolitan chord moves to the fully diminished vii of bII chord because it gives the listener a state of uneasiness. It emphasizes the confusion and fear the performer and music is expressing. While the approach to the Neapolitan chord is somewhat different, the resolution is quite normal. Most often, Neapolitan chords resolve to dominant chords and this one does.
The music of this piece emphasizes text painting. The Neapolitan chord especially gives the correct effect for the state of the performer. For example, the translation of the singer’s text during the playing of the Neapolitan chord is “he holds in his arms the groaning child; he arrives in the courtyard, with effort and distress.” This text reveals that even though the child is harmed, no one truly knows the real state of the child. While the harmony expresses concern, it also holds a place for hope. Despite a wound, the father yearns for the child’s safety and hopes for a prospective outcome. The Neapolitan chord expresses mystery, fear, and hope all at once. Then in the last three measures of the piece, a Neapolitan chord is played and the audience can only hear a harmony of suspense. The performer then pronounces the death of the child. Which then leads the V7/V and minor i. Thus, these two chords confirm the state of the child and the saddened atmosphere.

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