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What Makes It Great: Short Masterpieces, Great Composers

Showing Rating details. Sort order. This is the key to unlocking classical music for people who don't understand what's so great about it! Buy a copy or download the iBook , and see what you've been missing! Dec 19, Gabriel rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone who likes music!

Eye-opening, or rather, "ear-opening"! Most of my life, I've been aware of classical music, but not terribly interested in it. Kapilow changed that. Each chapter brings one piece of classical music to life, expounding its history, the details of it's composition, and even analyzing selections of the score, to give you an encompassing understanding that rivals years of music theory instruction, with none of the boredom. Also, there is an accompanying website that illustrates Kapilow's points with Eye-opening, or rather, "ear-opening"!

50 Most Famous Pieces of Classical Music

Also, there is an accompanying website that illustrates Kapilow's points with animations and apparently there is an eBook version that features this in the text , so even if you don't read music, you will be able to see and hear the movements described in the book. This is my favorite non-fiction read in years.

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There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Videos About This Book. More videos About Rob Kapilow. Rob Kapilow. Kapilow's down-to-earth approach makes classical music easy to grasp, regardless of your musical background. Books by Rob Kapilow. So what did Bach learn from Vivaldi? The concerto first appeared as a new form of orchestral composition in the last two decades of the seventeenth century, and it became the single most important type of Baroque orchestral composition after There were basically two types of Baroque concertos: the concerto grosso, for several soloists and orchestra, and the solo concerto, for a single soloist and orchestra.

Both types were fundamentally about the deliberate contrast of two different sonorities: a soloist or several soloists and the mass of orchestral sound. The one versus the many. The contrast between the two unequal masses of sound that is at the heart of the concerto is not simply a contrast of volume, but also a contrast of expression. Before we even get to the details of the music, the bare numerical facts about this opening are extraordinary.

The opening orchestral ritornello lasts for 50 beats.


Forty-four of these beats are the same basic E-major chord. In fact, if we include the solo section that follows, of the first beats of the piece are E-major chords! Before Philip Glass and the minimalists arrived on the scene, no piece of music had ever begun with such elementary harmony. There are actually only two simple ideas in this opening ritornello, but their surface simplicity allows small details to make an enormous impact in ways that can easily be heard and appreciated by any listener.

Some of these details are rhythmic. If you clap my rhythm of five short notes and one long note twice sssssl, sssssl , you will immediately get a sense of how lifeless its rhythm is. An exact repeat would start with the same leap up example 3C. Vivaldi uses all the means at his disposal to make the end of this opening phrase beautiful. See example 1, measures 1 through 3.

The melody in the first two measures was played by the first violins, with the second violins clearly in an accompanying role. However, in the third measure, the second violins join the first violins at a slightly lower pitch, as if the solo melody has become a duet to close the thought. To make the key point again, all of these wonderful subtleties—the varied repetition in the melody, the beautiful doubling in the second violins, the acceleration of the bass rhythm, and the change of notes and harmony—are gettable on a first hearing.

We have already looked at the repetition within the opening idea itself. Once we have heard the whole three-measure idea, Vivaldi repeats it in its entirety, but softer, as a classic Baroque echo example 1, measures 4 through 6. Once again, this kind of echo is an utterly gettable gesture. We hear all the wonderful details of the phrase a second time while enjoying the different sound and feeling of the idea played softer.

  • What Makes It Great: Short Masterpieces, Great Composers by Rob Kapilow.
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  • The surface of the music is everything. There is only one other idea in this opening ritornello idea 2 in example 1.

    What Makes It Great by Rob Kapilow - Read Online

    This is ultimately the most important theme in the movement, and it operates much like the opening idea in terms of melody, harmony, and repetition. Once again the music makes its points with utter clarity, unmistakable to any listener. Wonderful rhythm leads to and then emphasizes the money note in measure 7—the highest note in the introduction. Instead of using four even eighth notes like in example 4A, Vivaldi uses two fast notes to help push to a classic rhythm called a Lombard rhythm or Scotch snap to bring out the highest note example 4B.

    As in the opening phrase, inner repetition measure 8 helps the listener remember the catchy idea. As I mentioned earlier, on the most fundamental level, the Baroque concerto is about the opposition of two different worlds: the world of the soloist or soloists and the world of the ensemble, the tutti. Because the contrast between solo and tutti sections is so central to the drama of these concertos, the way each new section begins can provide some of the most striking.

    This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Home Books Pop Culture. Save For Later. Create a List. Explores the musical styles and genius of great classical composers, including Vivaldi, Handel, J.

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    Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Puccini, Wagner, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy Features an accompanying web site where you can see, hear, and download each short masterpiece and all of the book's musical examples Introduces you in depth to popular pieces from the classical repertoire, including "Spring" from the Four Seasons Vivaldi , "Dove Sono" from The Marriage of Figaro Mozart , the Prelude to Tristan and Isolde Wagner , and "Trepak" from The Nutcracker Suite Tchaikovsky Written by acclaimed composer, conductor, and pianist Rob Kapilow: "You could practically see the light bulbs going on above people's heads" The Philadelphia Inquirer ; "Rob Kapilow is awfully good at what he does" The Boston Globe ; "A wonderful guy who brings music alive!

    Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere. The One vs. Idea 2 There is only one other idea in this opening ritornello idea 2 in example 1. Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1. Close Dialog Are you sure? Also remove everything in this list from your library.