Vocal Music of the Romantic Period

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What is the basic quality of the Romantic Period in music?

Emotional subjectivity

What does 'Bel Canto' refer to in vocal music?

A technique of beautiful singing

What is the primary purpose of a singer reciting lines in a crowded place without a microphone?

To test the singer's ability to project their voice

What is the importance of stage presence in a music performance?

To engage and connect with the audience

What can happen if an opera singer does not portray their role well?

The audience may feel disconnected from the performance

What is the primary color used in the set design of La Traviata?


What is the name of the play that the libretto of La Traviata is based on?

La Dame aux Camélias

What is the term for a weaker and more airy voice, usually in the higher pitch ranges?


What is the term for a type of vocal piece that expresses emotion and showcases a singer's skill?


What is the term for the text of an opera?


Study Notes

Vocal Music of the Romantic Period

  • Emotional subjectivity is the basic quality of the Romantic period.
  • Composers explore feelings of grandiosity, intimacy, unpredictability, sadness, rapture, and longing.

Aspects of Vocal Music

  • Tone color/Timbre: Refers to the qualifying difference of a sound/voice.
  • Bel Canto Technique: An Italian term meaning “beautiful singing,” done by singing with a wide open mouth and throat, using proper breath control to support the voice.
  • Language: Usually Italian, French, German, and Russian languages are used in Romantic music.

Importance of Stage Presence

  • Testing a performer's ability to project their voice on stage can be done by reciting lines in a crowded place without a microphone.
  • An opera singer's inability to portray their role well can make the audience feel disconnected from the performance.
  • Lack of stage presence can make it difficult for the performer to connect with the audience.
  • Stage presence involves engaging and connecting with the audience, creating intimacy and rapport.
  • The audience plays a crucial role in evaluating a music performance, providing valuable feedback and enhancing the overall experience.

Famous Opera: La Traviata

  • Music by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).
  • Libretto in Italian by Francesco Maria Piave, based on “La Dame aux Camélias” by Alexandre Dumas.
  • Premiere: Venice, March 6, 1853.
  • Categorized as a Romantic tragedy, set in Paris, France during 1850.

Synopsis of La Traviata

  • Act I: Violetta Valéry, a courtesan, is introduced to Alfredo Germont at a party.
  • Act II Scene II: Alfredo learns Violetta has been selling her possessions to pay their expenses, so he leaves for Paris to make financial arrangements.
  • Act III: Alfredo's father visits Violetta to prevent scandal from tarnishing his family's reputation.

Components of an Opera

  • Libretto: The text of an opera, created by a librettist working closely with the composer to tell the story.
  • Score: The book containing the musical directions and notation, created by the composer and librettist.
  • Recitative: Declamatory singing used in prose parts and dialogue of opera, serving as a prelude to the aria.
  • Aria: An air or solo singing part sung by a principal character, expressing emotion and showcasing a singer's skill.

Vocal Terms

  • Falsetto: A weaker and more airy voice, usually in the higher pitch ranges.
  • Passagio: Parts of a singing voice where register transitions occur.
  • Tessitura: The most comfortable singing range of a singer.
  • Vibrato: Rapidly repeated slight pitch variation during a sustained note.

Explore the characteristics of vocal music in the Romantic period, including emotional subjectivity, tone color, and bel canto technique. Learn how composers conveyed feelings of grandiosity, intimacy, and longing.

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