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Takeaway Listening Test: The Sounds of Music Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jul 15th, 2019

The Many Variations of “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”

There are many ways to perform Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Britten, n. d.). Indeed, the composition allows for several variations, with a new element added to its atmosphere. Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra can be seen as a quiet moment of admiration, an inspiring and exciting experiment, etc. – the list goes on. However, there are two worth taking a closer look at.

In the first version, the violin plays the first part, whereas a trombone and drums appear in the background, setting a very specific atmosphere. The second version features violins once again; however, this time, the background is provided by clarinetists, which makes the composition smoother. It could be argued that the second version of the composition

Two Themes of Ravel’s “Bolero”: Between the Diatonic and the Sinuous

Ravel’s Bolero is one of the rare cases when each of the two alternatives that a composer comes up with sounds equally amazing. Each setting a unique tone for the composition, both themes are used in each version; however, one of them is always downplayed, whereas the other one comes out in full blue, which leaves a unique impression.

In the first part, which is played with the help of a clarinet, the diatonic approach is used, with every single note belonging to the same octave (Ravel , n. d.). The second part, in its turn, features a flute and introduces the audience to the B Theme, with obvious sinuous elements and the introduction of flattened notes.

“Pictures at an Exhibition”: Two Ways to Enjoy a Promenade

The excerpts provided, “Pictures at the Exhibition” by Mussorgsky and Ravel offer a unique aesthetic experience by allowing comparing two different versions of the famous Promenade excerpt (Mussorgsky & Ravel, 2012, 17 March).

It seems that the second variant reflects the idea of the composition in a more accurate way. Judging by the name of the composition, the music should reflect the impressions of a person who is attempting to analyze his or her impressions and, perhaps, make a very personal revelation. Therefore, the latter version, where the triumphant notes are downplayed and smooth clarinet sounds come to the forth, seems more appropriate.

The Structure and Meaning of “She’s Leaving Home”: The Time to Part

“She’s Leaving Home” (The Beatles, n. d.) has a traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus (A – B – A – B – C – B) structure. The instruments used in the song are violin, viola, cello, double bass and harp, the harp solo being a rather unusual element of the song. Telling a story of a young runaway girl, it creates a very moving atmosphere, with the back vocals getting the feelings of the parents across.

A Journey into the Place Called Imagination: Song Analysis

“Imagination” is one of those songs that stand out on their own despite containing the elements that seem to have worn out their welcome a long time ago. It is the combination of these elements that works so well and makes the song unique and appealing to an average music lover.

For example, the complex (A – B – C – B – D – E) structure of the verse: “Heaven – try – us – sky – people – today” (Lennon, n. d., p. 1) works especially well when combined with a relatively simpler (A – B – C – B) chorus structure : “dreamer – one – us – one” (Lennon, n. d., p. 1).

The macro-structure of the song is quite unusual as well, the key components being arranged in the following way: verse – verse – chorus – verse – chorus.

A very optimistic song about the supposed paradise, “Imagine” can also be viewed through critical goggles. On the one hand, Lennon’s idea of a place where one can see “all the people sharing all the world” (Lennon, n. d., p. 1) is rather good. However, living in paradise means that there will be nothing more to strive for in terms of morality, which is quite a questionable goal.

Whenever there is development, there will always be new dilemmas to solve, which mean that it is necessary to be able to solve these problems, which is quite a problem for a man living in a perfect world and, therefore, completely unprepared for complex issues.

Reference List

Britten, B. (n. d.) Young person’s guide to the orchestra (an extract). MP3 file.

Lennon, J. (n. d.). Imagine. A PDF file. pp. 1–3.

Mussorgsky, M. P. & Ravel, M. (2012, 17 March). Pictures at an Exhibition. YouTube.

Ravel, M. (n. d.) Bolero (an extract). MP3 file.

The Beatles (n. d.). She’s Leaving Home. MP3 file.

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1. IvyPanda. "Takeaway Listening Test: The Sounds of Music." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/takeaway-listening-test-the-sounds-of-music/.


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IvyPanda. 2019. "Takeaway Listening Test: The Sounds of Music." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/takeaway-listening-test-the-sounds-of-music/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Takeaway Listening Test: The Sounds of Music'. 15 July.

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