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Responsive Listening - a Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg (1947)

Essay by   •  November 13, 2012  •  Book/Movie Report  •  668 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,227 Views

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Responsive Listening

"A Survivor from Warsaw" by Arnold Schoenberg (1947)

This piece starts out with instrument playing and the instruments make it sound like a dark time. The man that is talking sounds like he's telling a story of everything that is going on around him. As I listen to this piece I can tell that the man is in a war and he's not a soldier. The man is in hiding underground where he later has to get out. I am puzzled by this piece although it tells a story that for the most part I can understand. The man is not singing but talking. This piece might be used in a suspense movie. The singer in this piece sounds like he's in suspense the whole time. There are parts in which he lifts his voice suddenly and this shows some of his emotions. This piece of music doesn't seem to have a clear beat. It would also be extremely hard to dance this because of the lack of beat. I feel that the tempo changes a lot in this piece, at one moment its slow then it gets fast and it goes slow again. A lot of instruments are used like trumpets, violins, trombones, gongs, snare drums, cellos, French horns, oboes, xylophone, and voices. The strings group of the piece would play well at one moment and the next they were screeching. This piece of music has a large density of instruments; however the density changes throughout the piece. The change of density sometimes had an impact on the dynamic of the piece. There are dynamic gradations in this piece and you can hear these gradations very easily. There is no existent melody in this piece of music, as I listen to the piece it sounds very atonal. Although this piece of music is atonal it sounds very organized. This piece emphasizes minor mode in standard western tonality and that makes the mood of this piece kind of dark and suspenseful. The main reason this piece aroused the subjective responses it did from me was the use of the instruments. Schoenberg used the instruments and a voice in a way that I could picture what was going on. "The Night in Silence Under Many a Star" by George Crumb (1979)

This piece sounds like a sad story and it stays like this for the most part. When I started listening to this piece I found it boring and weird. There were some parts however that kind of lifted me up. This only occurred when the singer increased the volume of her voice suddenly. This piece might be



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