Style of Pieces

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alangrumble
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Style of Pieces

Post by alangrumble » 22 Nov 2012, 16:38

Hi,
I would really appreciate any help here. I am on grade 5 and one of the requirement in the theory section is to describe the style of the pieces I'm playing. Can anyone tell me please...the pieces are

Rondo in A Major by Johann B. Wanhal

Sonatina in C op 188 no. 1 by Cornelius Gurlitt

Alone at Sunset by Walter Carroll

and

Waltz (Lyric Pieces...op 38 no. 15) by Edvard Grieg

Thanks in advance :piano;

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Style of Pieces

Post by Colin Nicholson » 22 Nov 2012, 23:43

I'm not familiar with the requirements including written theory AND performance skills in one test? Can you tell me which syllabus this is from, and/or which examining board sets these questions please?

I also need to see exactly how the question is worded in an exam paper?

I am familiar with the word "Style" - but it depends on the context of the grade & music, and how thorough the answer needs to be. For example, 'style' usually goes together with "Style & Period" , then there are other topics to cover ... but this is usually answered in the aural tests (ABRSM).... so can you enlighten me?

Let's take Debussy as an example:-

Generally speaking, for the 'style' ... it will be late romantic/ colourful, occasional pentatonic harmony, use of pedal? (sounds sustained together through rests), flexible rhythms, use of dissonance, impressionistic etc.

The style is the "general sound" and overall structure you HEAR according to the period of the music. There are also various "stock" answers that can be used to suite composers and their works.

I am able to comment partly on Alone at Sunset, but I can't remember the whole music - I think its from Sea Idylls?? and in E flat major?

So style is Contemporary (modern) - with some romantic features in the left hand with use of widened arpeggios & sustain pedal. Rich harmony, subtle key changes, melody with occasional chordal backing, lyrical & flowing.... Howz that! ??

If you purchase the new aural tests (ABRSM), they come with model answers and optional CD - and 'style' is covered from mainly Grade 6 standard.

Hope that helps.... sorry, too busy to answer other pieces - please ask a teacher.
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gizzy
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Re: Style of Pieces

Post by gizzy » 23 Nov 2012, 11:38

I don't recognise the exam requirements either

It's certainly not any of the "regular" British boards. Sounds like the Royal Conservatory of Music (not British despite the implication behind the name), since I know Alone at Sunset is set for grade 5 in their syllabus. However, they are very opaque about the syllabus and requirements - you have to pay for the syllabus! so I have no idea what this theory component is. Does the OP mean a viva voce section?

Alangrumble, where are you posting from?

STOP PRESS!
Found it.
It would be the Royal IRISH Acedemy of Music, wouldn't it? SYllabus online, but, frustratingly, list of pieces not included in it (buy the book)

I would have said that for this grade you possibly only have to be able to use a generic word such as impressionistic, jazz, rococo, as well as all the period names; I don't yet know the other piecves, but I'd say the Carroll piece is modern and impressionist. I don't think mood descriptions, like sultry, perky, tragic, etc are what examiners usually want for style questions.

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Re: Style of Pieces

Post by Colin Nicholson » 23 Nov 2012, 12:31

Good bit of detective work there Gizzy!

I've just looked at the syllabus aswell. It appears from the grade 4 syllabus, just a one-worded answer is required for the style, as shown in brackets - so this should apply to Grade 5, with the addition of recognising dominant chords etc.

Don't quote me on this, but I think the term "style" here also refers to the period when the music was written.... so its a simple exercise of looking up the composer's name, and naming the appropriate "style & period".... this then tells the examiner that you have an understand when the music was written, and in what period.

As a rough guide, I use this basic format for teaching style & period....

1600 - 1700 Baroque
1700 - 1800 Classical
1800 - 1900 Romantic
1900 - Contemporary (modern)*

Of course, there is no exact cut-off date, but this is a reasonable guide - and there are also composers on the early & late classical period etc. 1900 onwards could also be named 'Jazz period' .... or possible '2-time rag music' - and in the case of the Walter Caroll music, there is a hint of romantic/ impressionism in there.
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alangrumble
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Re: Style of Pieces

Post by alangrumble » 23 Nov 2012, 14:21

Hi again,
Thank you so much for your help and apologies..I should've said..yes it Royal Irish Academy.
In the syllabus under Aural Requirements and Theoretical Questions for g.5 it say.."candidates will be asked to describe the style of the pieces performed eg. baroque, classical, romantic, modern.

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