Appreciation of Western Classical Music - Basic Introduction

Appreciation of Western Classical Music - Basic Introduction

Before I saw a friend listening to Canon, I decided to use length of article to briefly talk about taking Western classical music on a whim (I don't dare to dig holes anymore for fear I won't be able to fill them).

Appreciation of Western Classical Music - Basic Introduction

1. Common Sense Western Classical Music

Western classical music refers narrowly to Viennese school of classical music, and broadly to natural and serious types of music based on orchestral music that originated in Europe, from Bach to Stravinsky. .

The so-called orchestral music here basically refers to musical form created by Haydn in 18th century, mainly including sonatas, symphonies, concertos, operas and other forms. The main features that distinguish it from other musical forms are organization of band and underlying style of music.

First, in terms of group formation, orchestra is conventionally divided into string group, woodwind group, wind instrument group, percussion group and color function group, among which string group is soul of orchestra, mainly including violin, viola. , cello and bass violin; woodwind group mainly includes flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon; group of wind instruments mainly includes trumpet, horn and trombone; percussion group includes timpani, snare drum, triangle and other percussion instruments; color function group mainly includes piano, accordion, harp, etc.

Secondly, in terms of musical style of fundamental tone, orchestral music is, first of all, polyphonic music, and several melodic parts are organically combined in movement. Secondly, among several parts, there is main melodic part, which occupies a dominant position, and remaining parts are used as a background. In addition, main part of orchestral music is, as a rule, high notes.

In order to clarify organization of orchestra and musical style of main melody, orchestral music is usually performed in form of major and minor harmony, that is, natural major key is main melody, and harmonic minor is complemented. Here it is necessary to briefly introduce concept of major and minor scales. The so-called major and minor scales refer to way an orchestra plays. As we all know, 12345671 (do rai mi...) is an octave with seven intervals in between. But in fact, pitch difference between 1-7 is unevenly distributed, and part of pitch difference can be divided into two semitones, a total of 12 parts, which is so-called 12 equal temperament.

Appreciation of Western Classical Music - Basic Introduction

Let's take a piano keyboard as an example. The white keys represent standard pitch and black keys represent minor. The uneven distribution of black keys means that distances between notes are not equal. Among them, ABCD, so-called pitch, refers to frequency at which a musical instrument or vocal cords vibrate. The first note on piano keyboard is C, which means that C will be pronounced at pitch of C. The so-called C major refers to natural major of music that begins with C sound.

As two fixed paradigms, natural major or major is a fixed octave form, structure is "full integer half integer integer half" and keystrokes must be "CDEFGABC" in sequence. Among them, there are semitones between E-F and B-C, so there are no black keys, so "half" here directly corresponds to white keys on keyboard.

Accordingly, formula for one octave of harmonic minor is "full, half full, half full, half full" and keyboard strike order is "CDD#FGG#A#C". Among them, since there is a semitone between E-F and B-C, entire tone from beginning of D# must cross E and go straight to F, and entire tone from A# must cross B and go straight to C. And since there is a whole tone between G-A and A-B, whole a tone starting with G# goes up to A#.

By understanding above rules, you know that C major, which is often used in orchestral music, is called "CDEFGABC" mentioned above, and D major is "DEFGABCD", and so on.

2. Introduction to Western Classical Music

As mentioned above, Western classical music represented by orchestral music can be roughly divided into concertos, sonatas, symphonies, operas, and other categories. Among them, songs are first of all postponed. Of other orchestral types, sonatas and symphonies are most suitable for beginners. Here are some musical guidelines to help you establish a preliminary understanding of perception:

1. Canon in D Major

Canon as a genre is characterized by a melody in which one voice chases another voice until last chord of last bar merges together. Many masters of classical music have borrowed canon method in their works, of course, most famous of them is Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major.

2. Carmen Overture

Prelude to opera "Carmen", you may not know its name, but you must have heard it.

3. Dvorak Symphony No. 9

Symphony No. 9 in E minor is Dvořák's most famous work.

Note: A symphony is usually divided into four movements. The first movement is a sonata-style structure, and musical features are fast and lively, which is core of whole song; it is lyrical center of whole play; third movement is often based on a minuet or scherzo (Beethoven was first to add a scherzo to third movement), which is danceable; fourth hoursometimes very fast, often expressing vitality. Fame and optimism also often show victory of life, customs and struggle, and scenes of festivals and carnivals.

4. Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major

The so-called concerto refers to an ensemble of one main instrument and other instruments. Violin in D major refers to a concerto composed primarily of violins and formula is "DEFGABCD". Beethoven is known for his symphonies such as Heroes, Destiny and Pastoral, but he is also very famous for his concertos and sonatas, Violin Concerto in D major is one of his masterpieces.

5. Vltava

The most famous symphony by another Czech master, Smetana, is known as second national anthem of Czech Republic.

6. Waltz by Shostakovich No. 2

One of my favorite pieces of classical music.

7. First movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

Bach's most popular masterpiece.

8. Ride of Valkyries

Introductory song of second act of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.