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Vocal Music National 3-5 Understanding Music. Outcomes All forms of vocal music tell stories through the use of different voice types, styles and groupings.

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Presentation on theme: "Vocal Music National 3-5 Understanding Music. Outcomes All forms of vocal music tell stories through the use of different voice types, styles and groupings."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vocal Music National 3-5 Understanding Music

2 Outcomes All forms of vocal music tell stories through the use of different voice types, styles and groupings. Spanning hundreds of years, art forms such as opera, musicals, traditional and popular music have entertained audiences far and wide and continue to do so today. In this unit you will listen to: Different voices and their registers Vocal groupings and techniques associated with them Different styles of vocal music By discussing, comparing and contrasting these musical forms you will be able to identify and describe voices and their uses in different types of vocal music.

3 The Voices The four main voices are: SOPRANOThe highest female voice ALTOThe lowest female voice TENORThe most common and higher pitched male voice BASSThe lowest male voice These voices are sometimes written in music as SATB. Other voices you may hear are: MEZZO SOPRANOFemale voice between Soprano and Alto BARITONEMale voice between Tenor and Bass Listen to, and describe in your own words, each of the following voices. Try and come up with three words you would use to describe the sound of each voice. SOPRANO MEZZO SOPRANO ALTO TENOR BARITONE BASS

4 Concepts CONCEPTDEFINITION SopranoHighest female voice Mezzo SopranoFemale voice between soprano and alto AltoLower female voice TenorMost common high male voice BaritoneMale voice between tenor and bass BassLowest male voice

5 Opera Before styles like rock and pop, opera was a popular form of vocal music. Each of the types of voices we have identified can be heard in opera in different groups and combinations. Opera is a form of theatre in which the drama is told mostly through music and singing. It originated in Italy in the 1600s and is often sung in either Italian or German. The singers are accompanied by a musical ensemble ranging from a small instrumental ensemble to a full symphonic orchestra. Opera uses many of the same elements as stage plays, Including scenery, costumes and acting. (Maria Callas, Soprano) We are now going to look at some of the different ways voices can be used in opera, and other concepts associated with them.

6 Opera - Vocal Features An aria is a solo song in an opera. The singer sings the main melody while the orchestra plays both melody and accompaniment. Listen to an example of an aria. What type of voice do you hear? Duets, trios and other ensembles often occur, and a chorus is used to comment on the action in the story. The chorus is a group of singers with several people to each part, who perform together either in unison (all parts sing the same notes) or harmony (two or more different parts together). Listen to an example of a chorus. Are they singing in unison or harmony? Listen to an example from an opera. Comment on the voices you hear and how they are being used, orchestration and the mood of the music.

7 Although singers are usually accompanied by an orchestra in opera, sometimes voices can be heard without any instrumental accompaniment. This is called a cappella. Listen to an example of a cappella. What type of voice(s) do you hear? Sometimes in vocal music you can hear a counter melody. This is a second melody that is played in harmony with the main melody. If the counter melody is being sung by other voices, such as a choir, this is called a descant. What type of voice(s) do you hear?

8 Concepts CONCEPTDEFINITION OperaStory set to music – uses ‘classical’ music SoloOne person singing or playing A CappellaUnaccompanied singing – no instrumental accompaniment AriaSolo song in an opera Choir/ChorusGroup of singers with several people singing each part UnisonSinging or playing the same notes at the same time HarmonyThe sound of two or more notes made at the same time Descant (voice)A counter melody which accompanies and is sung above the main melody AccompaniedOther instrument(s) or voice(s) supports the main melody Counter melodyA melody played against the main melody

9 Musical Theatre Background to the Musical The word musical is short for musical theatre. A musical is a play with music, songs and often dancing too. Musicals are written for performance on the stage but many have also been films. Write down the names of musicals that you know. Musicals and Opera – the difference The main difference between opera and musicals is in the style of the music. Opera uses more traditional or classical music. Musicals often use more contemporary and popular styles. Musicals generally have a greater focus on spoken dialogue, dancing and are usually sung in the language of the audience. Operas may be sung in a variety of languages, usually Italian or German. Opera singers are generally singers first and actors second, whereas musical theatre performers tend to be actors first and singers second. Sometimes this means that in musicals the singers voices do not sound as ‘polished’ as those in opera. For this reason, amplification and microphones are frequently used in musicals to get the voices across.

10 Background to the Musical Musicals began as light-hearted plays with simple music in them, popular at the end of the 1800s. Although musical comedies were a popular form of entertainment, musicals – which started in America in the 1920s – soon took over from them. One reason for this was that the musical was a larger, more ambitious form of entertainment with a good plot and lively music (often influenced by popular music of the time). It also had a large cast, sumptuous costumes and glittering sets. Like operas, many of the most successful musicals were written by musical partnerships, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein and George and Ira Gershwin. One would write the music while the other partner wrote the lyrics. Other successful musical writers include Cole Porter and Jerome Kern. These composers and lyricists were responsible for the creation of great musicals such as Oklahoma, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, Calamity Jane, Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun...the list goes on and on! After the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein in the 1940s and 1950s, the musical declined in the 1960s, although many popular musicals were revived in the form of films. Perhaps it was the rapid development of pop music, with such groups as the Beatles attracting so much attention, which was the reason for this. Or perhaps it was simply that no-one wrote good musicals in the 1960s!

11 However, all this changed in the 1970s with the partnership of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Their first attempt at writing a musical was a short work called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat. It was originally written as a school show but it became so successful that it was eventually recorded and developed into a full-length stage production. They followed this success with what can be considered the first full-length rock musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and later Evita. Lloyd Webber also had great success with Cats, Song and Dance and Phantom of the Opera. Listen to two songs from different musicals and in your jotters comment on: 1. Instrumentation 2. Type of Voice 3. Vocal techniques/concepts 4. Mood/Style of the Song Complete the listening tasks based on excerpts from Oklahoma and Grease.

12 Popular Vocal Music As well as using most of the concepts heard in opera, musicals usually use more popular styles of music, so many of the features found in rock and pop music can be heard too. Most songs take the form of verse and chorus. This is a structure/ form popular in many songs. The music of the verse will repeat, often with different words, and between verses the chorus will normally repeat and features different music to the verse. This structure, where the music in the verses and chorus are the same and are repeated each time, is called strophic. Many songs feature a lead singer who sings the main melody. Often they are accompanied by backing vocals. These are singers who support the lead singer(s), usually by singing in harmony in the background.

13 There are two types of word setting in vocal music, syllabic and melismatic. Syllabic is where each syllable in the lyrics is given one note only. If the words are melismatic then several notes are sung to one syllable.

14 Styles of Music Styles of music that also feature singers include many forms you have learned about in previous units. They include:

15 Other vocals Vocal music is not just limited to popular music or opera and musicals. It can also be heard in a lot of folk music and educational songs. Listen to an example of a folk group singing in this excerpt. What type of voice(s) do you hear? What instruments are playing in this excerpt? Below are the words for a round. This is where each part sings or plays the same melody, entering one after the other. When they reach the end they start again. Try this one as a class: I like the flowers, I like the daffodils, I like the mountains, I like the rolling hills, I like the fireside when the lights are low, Singing doo-wop, a-doo-wop, a-doo-wop, a-doo.

16 Concepts CONCEPTDEFINITION MusicalA musical play which has speaking, singing and dancing and is performed on a stage Verse & ChorusA structure/ form popular in many songs. The music of the verse will repeat, often with different words, and between verses the chorus will normally repeat and features different music to the verse StrophicA song which has music repeated for verses/choruses, therefore the same music will be heard repeating throughout the song Backing vocalsSingers who support the lead singer(s), usually by singing in harmony in the background SyllabicVocal music where each syllable is given one note only MelismaticSeveral notes sung to one syllable RoundEach part sings or plays the same melody, entering one after the other. When they reach the end they start again


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