Listening Log Essay Sample
The music “Otello” by Vergi is a classical music type based on its production period. The musical style is a symphony since it comprises several sections and movements. Notably, the song occurs under the second section. The music contains some recital passages that carry forward the message. The piece also depicts an Italian opera that possess balanced musical forms (Listening Guide 281). Moreover, the music has different sections, each holding a unique melody and key. The piece centers on an emotional setup, which covers the act’s visible hatred themes.
Several elements indicate the piece is a type of classical music. Notably, the song’s diverse keys and melodies portray a changing theme. The tune appears shorter in the song with apparent cut phrases. The song’s constantly changing mood is a typical characteristic of orchestra music (listening Guide 284). Notably, the song introduces an angry mood due to the antagonism at the end of Act ii.
Additionally, as characteristic of classical orchestra music, Otello serves as the music conductor who directs the musical performance and sets the tempo (Listening Guide 284). Iago serves as the accompanist who acts as the respondent to the claims Otello issues. Therefore, Iago acts as an accompaniment, which is characteristic of classical music. Further, as shared in classical music, a listener can distinguish the string instruments at the beginning of the song (Listening Guide 284). Repetition is also apparent as Otello repeats the words “Never shall my anger cease” within the music.
Otello’s musical style matches those of other artists within the period, such as Mahler. Notably, both pieces mark the emergence of solo music accompanied by several orchestral musical instruments. Mahler solo portrays an alto voice that begins as C minor and later transitions into a D major (Mahler 209). Both Mahler and Otello songs draw a deep meaning, which is characteristic of orchestral music. Notably, in Otello, an angry mood appears as he anticipates revenge due to Cassio’s cruelty towards him (Listening Guide 284). Similarly, Mahler’s song also shows visible lamenting and aspiration of change.
Additionally, the instrumentation in the songs also firmly indicates the orchestral style of the two pieces. The songs portray a unique organization of their instrumentation section. Each instrument used appears to fall into two groups. For example, the contrasting registers from the instrumentation are due to two classes of violins. One violin acts as the string section leader, while the other violin acts as the conductor.
Orchestral music primarily draws from influences of other prior artists or poems. Notably, Otello’s orchestral music at the end of Act ii draws from Iago’s success in deceiving him into believing Cassio betrayed him. Therefore, Otello’s rage and anger portray help in shaping the song and assist the audience in anticipating the subsequent act.
Mahler’s vocals are solitary, and he appears as a lonely individual primarily due to his anticipation of good days and struggle. The lyrics are remorseful and portray a sad individual longing to experience better days ahead (Yudkin 209). Further, the Mahler vocals are high in the symphony and still precedes his vocal range.
However, Otello’s vocals portray an emotional explosion of anger, which translates into a high tenor. The use of high tenor illustrates Otello’s rage extent, as he perceives to seek revenge over Cassio’s betrayal. The vocals are not as high as Mahler exhibits in his song (Yudkin 209). Notably, Otello’s voice stands between the countertenor and the baritone. The difference between the two vocals bases on their perspectives and underlying emotions.
Yudkin, Jeremy. Understanding Music. 7th ed., Pearson, March 23, 2012.
Learning Guide. YUDKMC10_272-317hr2, 2007.
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