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Thursday, March 20, 2008

know what time it is? spring break time

ok this is the Handel Chaconne in G Major, I'm going to start with the harmonic analysis of the theme. it goes I - V6 - vi ii7 - V - I6 - III I6 vii06 - I ii6 V64-753 - I. Isn't that a nice little chord progression? I thought it was. As for the bazillllllion variations, they are similar. But isn't that what you'd expect from a chaconne? Handel is a bit of a madman though, he likes to mix it up sometimes. For instance, in the third measure of the first variation the predominant is a secondary dominant, which it wasn't in the original theme. Sometimes too he changes the order of the chord. He uses the same chords but changes up the order of everything, which is what I just said, but I changed up the order of the words, kind of like Handel. Also, when the melody in the variations (like the second and the fifth and the sixth...) gets more complex, he slows down the harmonic rhythm so that our simple brains can handle it. To slow down the harmonic rhythm he has to leave some chords out. But it's ok, because I guess he wasn't that attached to him. Something else notable about the harmony is when it's CRAZY MINOR TIME! Starting at variation nine it is a whole new ball game. First it goes into the parallel minor, aka g minor, and then it has like a character change and a tempo change too. Yeah, I know, that's a lot at once. See it becomes adagio, which is slower, and dolce, which means sweet, like ice cream. The crazy differences that go from variation nine until variation 17 (told you there were a bazillion) are what make me say that this piece is sectional ternary. I mean obviously it's theme and variations, those are its subcategories. So every variation ends with a strong PAC, and they're all separately marked, so it's sectional. Ok well as far as the rhythm goes, the theme is pretty boring, quarter notes, half notes, and crazy notes on beat three. Then it becomes eighth notey and then a nice little dotted eighth note thing with anticipations. variation one thought that eighth note time was so cool they should just have it the whole time. Then variation two decided that the left hand should get to join in the eighth note party, while the right hand has good times with dotted quarter notes. Do you know what happens in variation three? you're about to! There is a meter change. Oh yeah. It goes into 9/8, and there's still eighth note time, in the right hand again, but now it sounds like triplet time. Then in variation four triplet time continues in the left hand. Notice a pattern yet? It seems to me as though Georgey Frid has a little pattern going. He has two variations paired together, tries out a new rhythmic idea in the right hand, and then when that gets crazy applause he puts it in the next variation in the left hand. It continues in variation five, where it goes back to 3/4 time and the right hand has sixteenth notes. Then variation six, the left hand has the sixteenth notes. At that point he runs out of ideas, so he sticks with the sixteenth note nonsense for two more variations. Then it's CRAZY MINOR TIME! As per the perfect title, everything goes to hell. The rhythm is madness, it's in minor, even the harmonies are special. Like this time he uses a new secondary dominant, before he was all about the V/V but now he got all vii0/V. and THEN in the tenth variation in measure five with a #vi. Then in the next variation he's all about the IIIs, he pretty much just lost his mind. Then he gets all into the #vi again in variation sixteen. Ok so that's really all I wanted to say about George's crazy use of harmonies. My last comment about this unbelievably long piece is that in variation twenty one, my favorite because it's the last, he has sixteenth notes in BOTH HANDS. Yeah. He thought he'd pull out all the stops. You know what that reminds me of? It reminds me of Senator Barack Obama. I bet he pulls out all the stops at the convention. I bet he would even appreciate George's insane use of the #vi and #iv. Let's see if we can tell by looking at him. Let me know if you agree.

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