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Melody In Music: The Bel Canto Tradition in Vocal and Instrumental Composition

Alan August, Stephen Siek

Presented at: OCON 2003

Date: Jul 05, 2003

Ayn Rand regarded melody as an "auditory entity" —the result of an integration by the ear and the brain that is essential to our enjoyment of music. Although it is observable that melody begins to assume greater importance for composers as music approaches the Romantic period, it has always been a difficult concept to define—and elusive to analyze. This course, which assumes no prior knowledge of music, will examine the historical growth and development of melodic writing for both voice and instruments as practiced by leading composers over several centuries. Special attention will be paid to the development of the operatic bel canto (beautiful song) tradition—which dominated singing from the time of Mozart through the nineteenth century—as well as the instrumental writing of Schubert, Chopin, and others. The philosophic basis underlying the growth of melody will also be examined, supported with numerous illustrations by voice and piano.



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