describe basic things every conductor H u m a n i t i e s

describe basic things every conductor H u m a n i t i e s

1. September: At the River – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (pg. 244) – 2 pts.

a. If you didn’t know which month this represented, which month would you think the music was trying to portray? WHY?

b. Is there any difference between piano music written by men vs. an example like this, written by a female composer? Explain your answer.

c. Describe (using your knowledge of the elements of music) the way the composer used two elements of music to create a vision of September:



d. After listening to this example, describe what you think September looked like when Fanny Mendelssohn wrote this piece:


2. Symphonie Fantastique, Mvt. 5 – Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath – Hector Berlioz (pg. 250 – we are ONLY listening to the 5th movement)

Symphonie Fantastique – Berlioz (3 pts)

a. For this specific piece/movement, I have listed five examples of remarkable orchestration, included in the listening notes below. Which of those examples is the most effective in this piece, and why?

b. Which example is the creepiest, and why?

c. Which sounds the least like a traditional symphony orchestra? Why?

d. Write the counter time when you first hear the church bells:

e. Describe how this specific conductor behaves in this example (do not describe basic things every conductor does):

f. If you didn’t know what this story was about, what would you think it was about?

g. Do you think music can convey its meaning without the listener knowing the story? Explain your answer:


3. Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Felix Mendelssohn – pg. 254 (2 pts)

a. If you’ve never seen or read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, read about it on pg. 253. What impression does this music give you overall?

b. Somewhere in this piece is a musical depiction of a donkey braying (hee haw!!). Listen, and tell me where you think it is (use counter times). It will not match up with the counter time in the book:

c. Watch the conductor in this example. How does he compare to your image of what a conductor usually does during a piece? How does he communicate with the orchestra?

d. Describe why this is considered “program music”:


4. In the Hall of the Mountain King – Edvard Grieg (pg 260 – we are NOT listening to “Morning Mood”) – 2 pts.

a. Which instrument is playing the solos at :16, :35, and :53 (although there are two of them, they’re both playing the same thing)? Describe the sound of this instrument:

b. Where is the largest shift in tempo and dynamics (list the counter time)?

c. Describe the overall dramatic arc of this music as though you were telling someone who had never heard it before:

d. What surprises you most in this example? Be specific:


5. Intermezzo in A Major – Johannes Brahms (not in book) – 2 pts.

a. Use two adjectives to describe this music:



b. This is an “intermezzo” – an interlude. Since Brahms intended no specific programmatic meaning, you kind of have to imagine its meaning. What do you think the meaning of this music might be?

c. This piece is in ABA form. The B section goes from about 1:57 – 3:43. How does it contrast the A section that comes before and after it?

d. Describe how Brahms used two elements of music to create this piece and capture this mood (and make it worthy of your adjectives in 5a):




6. Symphony No. 3 in F Major, III (3rd movement) – Johannes Brahms (pg. 263) – 2 pts.

a. What is the genre of this example?

b. Brahms wanted his music to be aesthetically expressive. What mood does this movement express?

c. Which instrument has a solo section at 4:02?

d. It is said that this movement was indicative of a big ‘sigh’. Find a spot in the music that sounds like a musical ‘sigh’. Note the counter time, and describe what the music does that makes you think of a sigh: