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LISTENING GRID

Title of
Piece
Date/ Info
Area of
Study

CONTEX
T
Historical,
social &
cultural
context

Chorus Hallelujah
Part of G.F. Handels Messiah, 1741
Vocal

Chorus definition: a large organized group of singers, especially one which performs with an orchestra or opera company.
The Hallelujah chorus closes Part II of The Messiah. It is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of
the performance. The tradition is said to have originated with the first London performance of Messiah, which was attended by
King George II. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king was so moved that he rose to his feet
and remained standing until the end of the chorus. (Wikipedia)
One affection (mood) through-out the chorus, as was typical of Baroque music. The affection is joyous, a feeling of exaltation.

ORGANIS MELODY:
5 themes, some of which are based on the instrumental 3-bar introduction in strings
ATION
A: Hallelujah (b.4) - based on a, a short, energetic motif in b.1 of a P. 4 th & 2nd. The interval of 2nd is repeated, which
OF
emphasises the word Hallelujah.
PITCH
B: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (b.12) - based on b, last 3 quavers b.3 & crotchet b.4: an ascending scalic motif
Melody &
harmony
(Harmonic
change,
cadences,
for example
interrupted,
and melodic
and
harmonic

starting on the dominant note of D major. There is a quick leap of an octave on words God omni-, which represents
Gods almighty presence.
C: The kingdom of this World is become (b.34) based on c, anacrusis to b.3 to descending scalic quaver motif from
dominant note. C goes from dominant note to tonic note; giving a solemn feel to the music. This is then repeated a 10 th
higher, which emphasises the lyrics.
D: and he shall reign for ever and ever (b.40) based on d, final quaver b. 1, the dominant note, followed by leap Perfect
4th up then minor 6th down on dotted crotchet-quaver pattern. D contrasts to previous themes, as it has large ascending &
descending leaps of P.4th upwards & descending minor/major 6ths. The melody finishes with a trill. The large intervals may
symbolise the omnipresence of God.

LISTENING GRID
devices)

TONALIT
Y
Which keys
are used
and how a
pieces goes
from one
key to
another

E: King of Kings/ Lord of Lords (b.51) is not related to musical introduction. Starts on final two crotchets of a bar and
remains on the same note. Gradually ascends from dominant note to tonic note. Gives the theme a majestic feel.
The themes are heard separately and at times together; for example and he shall reign as a subject to a fugue, with for
ever based on the Hallelujah motif (b.44-45)
Melodies are mainly syllabic in vocal parts, with some short melismas (b.71 alto reign)
Occasional ornamentation: trill b.43
HARMONY:
P.C. bar 3 at end of instrumental introduction
Use of Plagal Cadences (Pl.C.); for example at the end of Hallelujah section.
Anticipation notes at some cadences: b.73, makes it sound more formal
The movements ends on a series of Plagal Cadences
Imperfect Cadence b.69; in general there are now many at the end of sections
Dominant pedal: b.51 King of Kings drives the music forward
Tonic pedal: end of the repeated Hallelujah on the note d in soprano

The movement is in D major


Goes through related keys:
b.8 A major (dominant): elevates the mood
Fugal passage goes through A major (dominant) for answer:
b. 17 D major
b. 44 A major
b. 46 D major
b.49 A major
King of Kings b.57: changes of key more rapid (from 4 to 2 bars)
b.57 D major
b.61 A major
b.64 B minor (relative minor)
b.67 D major
b. 69 A major
b.72 D major

LISTENING GRID
STRUCT
URE
Form/
organisati
on of
musical
material
How music
is organised

SONORIT
Y
organisati
on of
musical
material
= Timbre
Combination
s of vocal
timbres and
instrumental
techniques

Introduction: instrumental (without trumpets/timpani), in which motives a, b, c, d are presented


A Hallelujah: b.4-11
B for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (with A): b.12-21
A & B development: b. 22-33
C The kingdom of this World is become: b.34-41
D and he shall reign for ever and ever: b.42-51
E King of Kings/ Lord of Lords with D & A: b.52-69 Ends Imperfect Cadence
D: b.69-74
E with D & A: b.74

Trumpets 1 & 2 add a brilliance, as a regal fanfare


Timpani tuned to note A (dominant) & D (tonic)
Violins 1, 2, viola
Basso continuo with organ & cello
SATB choir
Tasto solo (example b.12): Tasto solo is an Italian term used in music scores, usually on the continuo part, to indicate
that a note or section should be played on its own, without harmony.
1st appearance of trumpets anacrusis to b. 15
Usually strings double the voices: S = vln1; A = vln2; T = viola; B = cello
At times orchestra responds to the choir (b. 4-5)

LISTENING GRID
TEXTURE
combination
s of musical
lines (parts)

TEMPO,
METRE &
RHYTHM
how music
is
organised
in time
Metrical and
rhythmic
devices

DYNAMI
CS
Use of
dynamics
Expressive
devices

Mainly homophonic
Some imitation: b.4-7, between choir & strings
Unison/ 8ves b.14 strings & SATB choir = gravity of the proclamation
Homophonic & homorhythmic chordal setting: b.15-16
Polyphony: b.22-24 between theme B & A with voices doubled by strings
Dramatic contrast homophonic tutti b.21 & lighter polyphonic texture b.22
Rapid imitation subject A Soprano & Alto b.24-25, with subject B in unison Tenor & Bass
Unison Tenor & Alto b.29 B; trumpet plays and 8ve higher.
Theme C: 4-part chorale harmonisation b.34-39

Allegro: lively. Remains steady through-out.


Common time
Homorhythmic passages; b.15-16 & end
Use of rests to create energetic, punctuated motives (b. 4 Hallelujah)
The rhythms give a distinctive quality to each theme, which Handel exploits by contrasting and juxtaposing them
Theme A: use of dotted notes & quaver for contrasts rests followed by two semiquavers. Sounds like a fanfare.
Theme B: long-held notes with dotted crotchet on omnipotent, makes it sound majestic
Theme C: crotchets with a dotted quaver-semiquaver & semibreve. Makes it sound more gentle and flowing.
Theme D: crotchet and two quavers: more stable & solemn
Theme E: two crotchets followed by long-held notes (b.55 Lord lasts for 10 beats)

The dynamics are mf to f: it is more the contrasts of texture that creates some dynamic differences, rather than specific
dynamic markings
The forte dynamics are fitting for a movement that celebrates the glory of God.