Autumn comes at the close of summer. Closing our doors and windows and the opening of our hearts. The beginning of the holiday season. A seasonal commencement.
This recital, we will open with finales, or endings, and end with overtures and preludes; the beginnings. And somewhere in the middle, we will find the intermezzos, sonatinas and etudes. All forms of music. All musical form.
This season, I’ve chosen our theme as classical again. But this time, I have chosen form as our focus. Have you ever wondered what is a sonata? Why are there so many Waltzes? What is a Rondo? Today, students will be playing songs with the above names, as well as the dances: minuets, mazurkas and ecossaises. Hopefully, you will come away with a little understanding of these foreign names for classical pieces.
Some forms, like the Waltz and Mazurkas are dances. These include the Minuet Waltz and Eccosaise, not to mention Ballad . Later a ballad became a type of story telling song. The form of the song is a reflection of the steps to a dance. Now imagine, if you will, movement and dancing to the famous Minuet in G major by Christian Pezold.
Etudes are exercises designed to help the student master a particular technique in playing.
Other names, rondo and sonatina reflect the form of the song. A rondo is essentially a round. A sonatina, is a smaller version of a two or three part song. The larger version is a sonata. These are made up of two or three very different songs, and may be as long as 30 minutes in length. Sections of a sonata or concerto were given names based on the speed they are to be played, such as Largo, or Vivace. Largo being a slow paced piece. Vivace a very quick one. A march is of course, a march or parade.
Interludes and intermezzos come in between larger pieces. Sometimes they they are in between acts of a play. That brings us to the end again, or rather the beginnings. Overture and Preludes introduce acts of a play. They also come before other larger pieces such as symphonies and concertos.
So enjoy the music at your students’ recital this fall. I hope to have given you a better understanding of a few names of frequently heard classics.