In our previous chapter page, we examined the trend of 19th-Century Nationalism through the music of Chopin. Now, it is time to apply and update that concept. In this assignment, you will build a theoretical composition idea based on Romantic-era Nationalism using your own heritage, or a heritage you are familiar with.
If writing about your own heritage is impossible or uncomfortable, feel free to adapt this assignment to be more theoretical and less personal.
You will write a 0.5 to 1.5 page paper with the following:
Identify your heritage(s) and tell me a little bit about the role they played in your life so far, if you feel comfortable. Alternate prompt: What heritage have you observed and will you write about for this assignment?
Explain what object or idea from this heritage you would highlight in a piece of music. Be specific–an answer that is too vague would be “sports.” “American football” is more specific and illustrative. Anything from this culture that is meaningful or interesting to you is acceptable. Some ideas? Explain a sport, a personality trait, a holiday, a fashion style, or a fairytale.
Create an idea for a theoretical piece of music to express your concept for #2. You should reference specific fundamentals of music learned at the beginning of the term, such as tempo, meter, dissonance, scale, genre, and form. Make sure to include a minimum of 4 references to music fundamentals. Look below for a sample of how you might write about music.
In your explanation, make each fundamental of music you use bold.
From Dr. B:
I have lots of different heritages– my grandfather immigrated from Norway. I’m also part Welsh and part German, but those sides of the family have been in the US for a while, so some of our knowledge of those roots has been lost. My grandfather experienced scorn and ridicule for his accent from his American neighbors upon settling in the US. Because of this, he rarely talked about Norway. The time of year where I felt our heritage was most present was at Christmas. We would make delicious cookie recipes passed down through the years from all sides of the family.
If I were to make a Nationalist piece expressing my heritage, I would make a symphonic suite expressing my family’s plate of Christmas cookies, where all these traditions mix. Each movement of the music would express a different cookie from a different heritage:
Movement 1: My paternal grandfather’s Norwegian cookie is a Krumkake, a thin, waffle-like cookie. Lots of splashy cymbal timbres from the percussion for crunch, major scale for the gentle vanilla flavor, and a fast tempo because these thin cookies disappear into our bellies rather quickly!
Movement 2: My paternal grandmother’s cookie was a Welsh Tea Cake, a crumbly, (dry!) bread-like cookie. Slow tempo (like your tongue getting stuck to the roof your mouth), interspersed with bits of fast, active rhythms in a high pitch of the flute timbre to express the punch of the sweet raisins.
Movement 3: My maternal grandfather is German and made Pfefferneusse. Triple meter dance movement to express the smooth, sweetness of the frosting with a disjunct melody to express the unexpected spiciness of the cookie.
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