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Thursday, February 28, 2008

My analysis for mm.33-51 of Die Mainacht by Brahms is as follows:
m.33- I64 V7
34- iii6 I64
35- I6 I_64
36- ii64 I43
37- IV6 IV
38- viio7/V V
39- V iii
40- vi IV vii65
41- vi vi6 I7
42- vi IV Fr6
43- I64 I7
44-IV7 bVI
45- V/V IIb N6
47- V7___
48- I7___
49- I7___
50- I7 IV64
51- iio42 I

I found the last nineteen measures of Die Mainacht, by Johannes Brahms to be very pretty, but not very exciting. I was not quite sure where the song’s climax is. It is either in mm.41-42 or m.45. I feel that measure 42 is the best choice, since there is a clear ascending line building up to it, but then m.45 is definitely climactic sounding as well. Whatever measure it is, they are both prepared by mixture chords, therefore creating tension and a heightened need to resolve and lead in to the end.
The phrases in this excerpt are very long, and make it seem to move slower than it actually does. I found the beginning of it (mm.33-38) to be too slow in evolving the musical line and progressing into the rest of the piece. If I were to perform this piece, at this particular section I would sing it as one phrase from mm.33-38, but I would be sure to keep the energy up, always driving the melody forward. Even though breaths would be very much needed, it would be imperative to not lose the line within the melody. Singers, myself included, often make the mistake of ending a “phrase” (or breathing for that matter) when the melodic line end and not the textual phrase. This singer (the co-author of the book, correct?) did a mediocre job of creating a noticeable phrase structure. I couldn’t tell from her performance what the correct answer was to question 3 in the workbook.
The piano postlude is very beautiful. It ends with a very hopeful feeling. The last line of text is “...And a lonely tear trembles, burning down my cheek” I find it interesting that Brahms chose to end with an ascending melody, contradicting the motion of a streaming tear. The ascending melodic line clearly refers to the text of mm.37-38 “…shall I find you on earth?” . Ending on this brighter note gives an allusion to more ethereal thoughts.

1 comment:

Scott said...

36 = ii65 V43/IV (notice the accidentals!)
41, same thing, it is a V7/IV.
42 = IV ii half-diminished 65 (no Fi)
43 = I64 V7/IV
44 = IV (suspensions)V7/N
45 = N N6
All of the following I7s are really V7/IV. Pay attention to the quality of the chord.

Look at all of the funky iii, V7/IV, V7/N, N and ii hd 65 chords, that is pretty exciting harmonically. Make a stand on where the climax is. As a performer you can't be wishy-washy. 45 is best, because it has the highest note and the loudest dynamics (crescendo from mf) and the power of the Neapolitan chord.
The Neapolitan is foreshadowed by mixture, esp. at m. 22.

33-38 does have an implied melodic division at 35, though the harmony keeps us moving. Thus the phrase is divided into two subphrases. Don't worry about the author's interpretation or if there is a "correct" answer. Think about your opinions on the performance and why you have them. How would you keep the energy up and drive the melody forward? (slight crescendo in m. 35 leading to 36?)

Good thought about the ascending line at the postlude. Brahms colors this line with a delay of tonic through the V7/IV IV64 ii hd 42 progression before finally fiving tonic again at the last chord.