There are many works attributed to J.S. Bach that – present day – music historians unearth may not actually be written by Johann Sebastian; such is the case for BWV 1031 (or the Sonata in EbM) which is now more commonly linked to C.P.E. Bach, one of J.S. Bach’s sons. This is significant because of the differences in complex melodic, harmonic, and bass line material; as well as notation in the UrText edition. All of which become apparent the more one plays Baroque repertoire; however, at a first glance this work may seem to fit right in with the rest of the BWV catalogue.
In this analysis, I will primarily be focusing on the conversational element between the flute and harpsichord (piano). Additionally, referencing the structure of the flute line and recurring material.
I. Allegro moderato
Following a melismatic 8 bar introduction, the flute enters relatively independent. The steady eighths of the left hand provide stability as the right hand plays a contrary moving reduction of the flute line for the first several bars… with some similar motion (ie. stepwise vs. leaps). Generally, anytime the rhythm lines up the melodic material moves in the opposite direction.
By beat 3 in m. 11 there is a switch – marked by the sixteenths in the RH of the piano – to a conversation between the flute line and the RH. Of particular interest, m. 16-18 have contrasting material however the downbeats are moving in the same downward motion. With the flute playing C-Bb-A and the RH of the piano playing A-G-F (2 minor thirds, and the last an unexpected Major third). The use of 3s (a recurring motive) is common in Baroque and Classical music; generally, in performance practice, the structure of less, more, most is applied to vary each iteration.
Furthermore, the first time the LH of the piano breaks from it’s steady eighth notes is directly after this set of 3s in m. 18-20 where the eighth to quarter pickup is similar to the dance motive seen in movement 3.
The RH of the piano and flute are rhythmically similar again in m. 21-26 for a HC cadence on the downbeat of m. 26.
The flute entrance in m. 32 is transposed up a fifth from the original (now in the Dominant – BbM); and the role of the RH and flute are very similar to the introduction. This changes in the pickup to m. 40 where the RH is playing the inversion of the flute line (rather than a M6 of Bb down to Db, the piano is playing a m3 Db down to Bb).
The remainder of the movement is much more conversational; in the image below notice the annotations for how frequently the flute and RH are either playing in rhythmic unison or alternating to form a composite of steady sixteenth notes.
A siciliano is a dance performers of the Baroque era were familiar with; the dance is marked by a slow lilting rhythm (commonly the dotted sixteenth, eighth, sixteenth), and while in minor is not ‘sad’ rather evoking a pastorale setting. This movement is in g minor – however, the tonic is mainly reinforced in the LH of the piano and not in the lilting flute line.
In this movement notice how the RH of the piano is ‘mechanical’ with the steady sixteenths rolling for the majority of the movement.
And perpetuating the conversational idea, every time the flute plays sixteenth notes the piano takes over the lilting rhythmic line.
Back to EbM, this movement combines dance motives from the 2nd movement with the conversational elements from the 1st movement. Aside from cadential points, the flute and piano create a composite of consistent sixteenth notes.
In m. 14-17 the piano prefaces the dance motive – which features a strong-weak relationship between the first and following notes; which the flute takes on in m. 24-27.
As far as the conversational elements: the sustained pitch in the flute on F5 in m. 33-35 is passed off the the piano 4 bars later m. 39-41 on Bb4. This sections the play with thirds/sixths inversions throughout; when the movement started the piano was above the flute (C6 above A6) while in this section the flute is now playing a 3rd above the piano.
What are your thoughts on this Sonata? Let me know in the comments below.
The eager high school musician, accepted into music school, may want to come into university with a new instrument that is up to the standard they feel is necessary for this transition in their life/career. Here are some considerations for these students and their family to ponder before diving in blind.
Most students will not have the same primary instrument teacher from high school to college. There are A LOT of changes that takes place within the first year of being a music major: embouchure changes, posture changes, sound production, reviewing basics and establishing a strong foundation for the next 4+ years…
All that being said BEWARE buying a flute before consulting this new teacher. Equipment is important, but it is not everything, if you have an instrument that is reliable and consistent then hold off on the expense until university. If you need to upgrade, consult with this new teacher and maintain good communication. Trial instruments, get feedback, and ask questions (it’s okay to not know everything there is to know about flute manufacturing and your teacher will have had an array experience in this area).
Changes and control
Similar to the last point, change is inevitable – especially if you plan to improve. Most student flutes require less work to manipulate factors like tone, focus, and color; many flutes with higher specs require work to really master control of these elements (albeit the sound is often better balanced and blended) which is another factor to consider. As a music major the technical demand will increase, and the decision to get a new instrument at the same time there is more of a demand to be musical may be a road block.
The Importance Of Trials
If you have the opportunity to trial flutes rather than just do a quick test in a store take it. You can get more opinions on instruments and better weigh your options when you have more time to spend with the instruments and learn how they work over a several days.
Just Another Flutist, Joanna, is a partner with the Flute Center of NY and has a concise video on setting up trials and how to structure them to get the most out of the experience:
There are a lot of options and things to consider when making a flute upgrade:
New or Preowned
Inline or offset G
Open or close holed
Silver… what kind: coin, sterling?
Mixed – interior walls, plated, riser, etc.
C or B foot
Foot joint roller keys
Thickness of wall
Having a repair tech in house or having a trusted one to go to after purchase
Do you have any advice for soon to be music majors? When did you upgrade and what do you think is important to know about the process?
Last year and this year are very different from previous ones, however, the world is still spinning and many people who want to Major in Music are receiving their acceptance letters into universities. What does being a music major look like? What is that first year going to entail?
As per usual this will be US-centric and a huge part of American universities is fulfilling general education requirements for your university. AP classes help – somewhat – in getting you out of these classes. You can roughly expect a few literature/writing courses, math, psychology (especially if you are doing an education degree), and general science.
You want to get these out of the way if you want to immerse yourself in the school music fully and not have to travel to unfamiliar parts of campus during the semester.
You can make use of summer and winter courses to knock a few of these out if you find your schedule too full.
Too Many Classes, Barely Any Credits
Welcome to the school of music where the majority of your classes will be worth 1 credit or less. That 3 hour ensemble rehearsal you are expected to attend each week? Yup, that is only worth 0.5 credits.
While your friends in other disciplines will be complaining about how busy they are with 4-5 classes per semester you will be juggling anywhere from 10-12 (maybe more) for only 18-20 odd credits.
Your schedule will be PACKED with block classes.
Plan out times during the day to make sure you are hitting 3 meals a day. NO SNACKS DO NOT COUNT. You want to make sure you aren’t going a full 10 hours of class without a single full meal. Eat breakfast, it’s good for you! Especially before a dictation exam.
Aural Skills – Ear Training
This is where rubber meets the road. If you don’t have perfect pitch don’t sweat it, and don’t let other people get in your head about it. Last month I did a post on my tips to improve in ear training.
The several semester you take aural skills may be stressful, but you will come out the other side a much better musician. Transferring the active listening to your own instrument helps tremendously.
Often times your university will have sympathetic professors that can help you if you are struggling to maintain a passing grade – don’t be to hard on yourself if this is the subject area where you are averaging a C.
If you are not one of the ‘lucky’ ones to have grown up taking piano lessons or just have a knack for the keyboard you are not alone.
Even if you feel like you should be practicing your own instrument, why do you have to learn piano anyway??? Just remember that, again, this is a transferable skill. When you’re practicing you can play your own part or a reduction of the piano’s part to make this skill useful to your own musicianship.
You’re a music major why do you have to write?
You will find that mainly in your first year – and somewhat beyond that – you will be writing A LOT. Learning how to navigate the library, do different citation formats (MLA, Chicago, APA), persuade/argue a point, support your ideas, and peer review. These skills – although not directly related to music – come with the job. Whether you are an educator or performer – writing grants, program notes, etc. you want to be able to write intelligently.
Time to actually play music?!
If your first year you will be expected to transform your playing to set the foundation for the rest of your degree. However, you may find that you just don’t have as much time as you thought you would to practice.
Practice plans. Scheduling. Journaling.
Those are several things that are essential for first year music students if they want to manage gen eds, music classes, secondary instruments, hw, and everything else on top of their primary instrument.
Know what you need to practice that week and prioritize – what are you doing for your lesson week by week, is there a masterclass or performance you need to be prepared for.
Block out your practice time, don’t just wing it and hope that there will be time. Sometimes you have free time, but no practice rooms are open. Sometimes your schedule is so packed you’d be lucky to get in half an hour of practice time. Don’t feel pressured to practice every day, but do try to practice more days than you don’t in a week.
Journaling is something that takes time to develop. What are you practicing? Why? What are you working to improve? What do you like? What strategies are you using to fix the things you don’t like?
This year is presenting new challenges for first year students such as struggling to fit into the music school community and form those relationships they would otherwise have. What insight do you have for new music majors?
For information on the composer, Sergei Prokofiev, and the general overview of the entire flute sonata (Op. 94) you should check out my analysis of the first movement before reading through the analysis of this movement. Understanding the background – including the conditions – Prokofiev was writing under will help inform the analysis of this movement:
II. Allegretto scherzando (Dotted Half = 69)
The suggested tempo is included in the G. Schirmer 1965 edition. The text “allegretto scherzando” roughly translates to fairly brisk and playful (or joking). The form of the second movement is ternary (ABA or ABA’) form which has some connection to a scherzo (a major scherzo of note for flutists is Mendelssohn’s Scherzo in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) which is in rounded binary form (AABA) with a ‘trio’ section that follows the recap of the A form.
A – mm. 1-161
The key feature in this movement is Prokofiev’s use of hemiolas. As far as the Grove Music dictionary is concerned a hemiola, “in the modern metrical system denotes the articulation of two units of triple metre as if they were notated as three units of duple metre.” More info on this term can be accessed here.
The motive that the flute first plays in the A section is an example of a hemiola:
Note the duple notation (duple = 2), but slurred as if they were triplets (3). As mentioned, this opening motive in the flute is prominent throughout the second movement: we see it transposed up a Perfect 5th in measure 15, down a Perfect 5th in measure 34; and we see echoes of it throughout later parts of the movement as the initial A section closes, as well as when the A’ section recaps.
In the primary A section we expect to see multiple phrases, an established tonic key, and an end with a PAC (typically in the tonic):
There is no shortage of phrase variance in this section.
The first section that we see (amid several transpositions) is the hemiola phrase, which is characterized by the constant eighth notes. Each time this phrase appears the dynamic is marked piano and peaks at a mezzo forte. This section lasts from mm. 1-58.
The next phrase section is the sixteenth notes. The repeated figure “C-D-Eb-F Gb-Ab-Bb-C D-Eb-E-F” is accompanied by the piano playing Gb-Eb-Bb (which would be some borrowed chord, not quiet a Neapolitan because it is minor rather than Major) – perhaps it is simply put to be the tritone juxtaposing a minor (a to eb as a diminished 5th)?
Either way, this section is fleeting and promptly resolves to F Major – mm. 59-76.
The third section is interesting because unlike the first two which had very clear features, this one has a several elements. The first being the leaps/skips (the 1st and 2nd phrases were both stepwise) and particularly the use of the Perfect 4th followed by a Perfect 5th. Then following this with a dotted quarter to driving eighths. This section lasts mm. 77-102.
The fourth section could be lumped in with the third, however, I see the key change and addition of a new rhythmic figure (the triplet) as one of two possibilities: (1) a brief extension that is stretching the phrase to the return of the first phrase OR (2) a variation of phrase 3. Either way there are recognizable similarities between the 3rd and 4th phrases – take for example, mm. 107-112 and compare it to mm. 87-92.
Key/Establishing a Tonal Center
Considering how Prokofiev plays with intervals in this movement, the tonal center is relatively ambiguous – especially if one was to just regard the opening 6 bars of just the piano alone.
However, given the opening motive the tentative tonic is a minor, however as soon as Prokofiev has moved out of the hemiolas he begins to explore F Major and its relative minor (d minor). What’s interesting here (for all you advanced theory nerds) is that these are the notes of a d minor arpeggio: a (5), F (3), and d (1) which would be the parallel minor of the first movement set in D Major. How neat!
For simplicity’s sake I will refer to the section by key rather than scale degree, but the d minor arpeggio relation is an interesting avenue, perhaps to explore the next time you work through this movement.
We see the movement towards F Major punctuated by the octaves F’s in measures 75-76. The references to d minor are more apparent in the piano score, for example before the flute has the sixteenth note runs, the piano (mm. 58-61) plays an inverted d minor arpeggio d(1) a(5) f(3).
Ending with a cadence (PAC?)
There is the brief key change to c minor, however, as discussed in the section on phrases, it is more or less an extension or variation used to cycle back to the first phrase. By m. 123 the d minor version of the first phrase is back. The punctuation of the A’s in mm. 153-155 is a versatile choice on Prokofiev’s part as this can either be regarded as the 5th of d minor or the 3rd of F Major. The ambiguity is all part of the game – given the context of writing during Socialist Realism in Soviet Russia – Prokofiev could easily claim either to be the case, whichever put him a favorable light. As far as a PAC is concerned, I see the As as an IAC in d minor, however, I have seen other scholars regard it as the same but in F Major. To support my argument for d minor I point towards the use of C# and F#s which allude to the parallel Major – perhaps forecasting the key change that will begin the B section. Futhermore, I see the transition from F Major to D Major – not impossible, but the chord functions during the transition “o, m, o, m2, m3” given the context of the piano score which allude much more to minor tonalities than Major.
B – mm. 162-227
Contrast is a fairly simple concept to understand in music theory. Opposites are a general concept that can be transferred from daily life (ie. Day and Night) which in music theory can translate to A and B sections. The B section is noticeably different than the A section, here’s what to look for: key the new key is usually related either the parallel Major/minor; this section ends with a PAC or HC; and there may be a short bridge that leads into the recap of A.
The most noticeable contrast between the B and A sections in this movement is the way Prokofiev alters the meter! Notice how the B section is in 2/2 while the A section is always in 3/4.
Tracing back to the end of the A section, my argument for the cadence being an IAC in d minor fits neatly since the B section is starting in the parallel Major – D Major. The key signature makes this key transition abundantly clear, as well as the opening statement start with an inverted D Major arpeggio.
Okay, hold on for this wild journey of keys/interval-play that I am about to suggest – with the knowledge that most of these transitions would be intervallically motivated (whether that is pushing the boundaries with something as ‘offensive’ as a tritone or maintain a Major quality to mask the deviation from traditional chord progressions).
There is a notated key change in measure 174 (removing the C# and F#s). Looking at the notated figure of a quarter triplet and two quarters – one could guess we have returned to a minor… there is after all an A being sustained in the piano mm. 174-176. However, isolating the arpeggio in m. 174 it appears to be two arpeggios combined a d minor with an inverted G Major (A-F-D-B-G-D). Prokofiev continues to play with that Perfect 4th (D to G) with the running sixteenths m. 177 and m. 181. However, keep in mind we are still technically in ‘a minor’ therefore at m. 182 we see an immediate shift to E Major (G#-B-E) because it is a the Dominant (V) in a minor. This is followed by a bm – g#m. Which is similar to the A section and how it brings out the d – f – a of d minor, this brief tonicization of the Dominant is bringing out E – B – G#.
By m. 190 the key of D Major returns… only for a short while. With a nod to the E Major, mm. 194-195, as well a a minor, the C# and F#s are quickly removed from the key yet again in m. 202. And this is where we begin to see the bridge back to A/A’.
The bridge out of the B section and back to the return of A is punctuated by the time signature change to 3/4, a return to the triple feel, while still closing out the motifs and tonal exploration featured in this contrasting section. This bridge spans mm. 208-227.
The piano part while the flute is playing the espressivo phrase and resting (mm. 212-227) is particularly of note tonally speaking. The inverted arpeggio running under the espressivo section is a bo (b diminished) arpeggio. Once the piano is alone this shifts into an alternating AM – C7. Again, an interesting (and safe) choice because these are common chords (although the quality varies) from D Major/minor and F Major.
Cadence (PAC or HC?)
This section is more or less ending with a Half Cadence. Although not a formal HC, the same function is present here…
A traditional HC is something ending with a V (Dominant). However, V is not the only Dominant function, VII can (on occasion) take the place of a V in a cadence. Nothing about this cadence is screaming authentic cadence (IAC or PAC), there is no tonic function in sight (this could be a i/I and occasionally a VI/vi).
If the piano bridge is considered to be in dm/DM there are two dominants AM (V) and C7 (VII7)… also if we really (and I mean reallllly) wanted to push for FM we could call the C7 the V7/III. Either way you spin it not tonic functions to be seen, especially with the seventh chord, therefore, definitely HC!
A/A’ – m. 228-370
Finally, a return to familiar material! This final section has a few key features: it can be varied (hence A’), it will start and end in the tonic, and ends with a PAC.
Variations: A versus A’
For the most part, this return is an exact copy of the initial A section. The flute line follows the A section to a T mm. 228-333 (the counterpart being mm. 7-112).
The first time this section deviates starts m. 335 with the descending eighth note figure. There is a new rhythmic figure (the sixteenth triplets) which allude to the ones featured in the first movement of the Op. 94 Sonata. Then, Prokofiev quotes the 3rd phrase from the A section before starting the 1st phrase… offset by one beat; and he interjects this with a hemiola-ified (adding ties to) another quote from the 3rd phrase before finishing with the 1st phrase, and a frenzied eighth pattern that ascends to the climatic C7.
Final Cadence – PAC?
If only… again it’s more of an IAC. But a very interesting feature in the Schirmer 1965 edition is that it includes the alternate violin part which ends differently!
Of course both endings are considered IAC if we are to consider the tonal center to be a minor: the flute’s C is the 3rd scale degree and the violin’s E is the 5th scale degree.
I had a lot of fun with this movement – the ambiguity lends itself to a lot of theorizing (within set Music Theory ha!) so I got a chance to explore questions I had about the score. Anything you noticed in this movement that I missed?
As mentioned in previous analysis posts, part of analysis is understanding the context of the composer and their piece. I’ll be starting with a brief overview on Prokofiev and then reviewing the entirety of the Op. 94 before finally isolating the Andantino movement.
Sergei Prokofiev: Restrictions in Russia
Sergei Prokofiev was a Russian composer who was alive (1891-1953) during the time of the Soviet Union. This is significant because of the control the government had over artists, especially during Stalin’s life. Prokofiev and Shostakovich, his contemporary, had targets on their backs because they were giants – having international success (Prokofiev spent a lot of time touring outside of Russia). Shostakovich was made to be an example: in 1934 his opera, Lady Macbeth, premiered and the general reaction had been positive… that is until Stalin had gone to the opera in 1936, in which he openly ridiculed Lady Macbeth. Shortly after this an anonymous article “Muddle Instead of Music” was published giving the opera a scathing review (it’s also worth noting Lady Macbeth was banned in the Soviet Union until just several years after Stalin’s death). After this the limitations placed on composers were unclear, to say the least; there were many shades of gray, all subject to the opinion of Stalin, and the price to pay for pushing the envelope was step (if not death, exile, or a whole other range of fear tactics and harassment). Generally speaking music that underwent “Russification” followed the principles of this new term for enforcement ‘Socialist Realism’: presented Russia as an prosperous and idealistic nation, including folk songs that reinforced this Russian nationalism, and finally music following classical traditions (the atonality and serialism in other parts of the world at the time was definitely NOT in line with “Russification”).
Prokofiev a composer, pianist and conductor did his best to adhere to these murky principles. A notable work he was asked to compose – in an act of redemption – was Zdravitsa for Stalin’s 60th birthday – here the principles of Socialist Realism are clearly followed: the text was already chosen for him, he chose to set it starting and ending in a Major key, and having a nostalgic quality that gave this sense of Russian pride. Other notable works include Lieutenant Kije (op. 60) a suite for orchestra; Romeo and Juliet Overture (op. 64), and (very familiar for orchestral flutists) Peter and the Wolf (op. 67) a children’s tale for narrator and orchestra.
Sonata in D Major (op. 94)
In 1943 Prokofiev finished his Sonata for flute (op. 94); this piece was written in the Classical style which is already setting it to be inline with “Russification”. This piece was written while Prokofiev was also working with Ivan the Terrible; and it was first performed by flutist, Nikolai Khaikorsky in 1943.
In 1944 Prokofiev revisited the work for violin – this would later be published as Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano (op. 94bis).
There are 4 movements:
Andantino (QN=80) starts and ends in D Major.
Scherzo (dotted QN=69) opens with ambiguous tonality (am-CM-dm-FM); ends on an am chord.
Andante (QN=50) starts briefly in FM before exploring other keys; ends with FM.
Allegro con brion (QN=112) starts and ends in DM.
Given the understanding over the overall work, and the restrictions Prokofiev had we can begin to look through the first movement:
I. Andantino (QN=80)
For those familiar with musical forms, true to the piece’s name, this first movement is in sonata form. Here’s the breakdown:
The black represents the pillars – sometimes Sonata form has an Introduction (not the case here); there will ALWAYS be an exposition, development and recapitulation (pay very close attention to the repeats they are important to the form); and sometimes there is a coda (which there is in op. 94).
The green represents cadences. HC = half cadence; PAC = perfect authentic cadence; IAC = inauthentic cadence. The exact cadences in this diagram are not as important as the cadence’s function… basically is it stable or unstable?
Finally, the purple represents tonality or tonal areas. The exposition begins in the tonic or home key, by the secondary theme there is a new key (usually related to the home key) that will be explored. The development continues off the end of the exposition somewhat stable, but then can do an array of things to ‘develop’ melody and harmony such as use sequences, variations, toncizing other tonal areas, or fragment previous material. Finally, the recapitulation works very similarly to the exposition (since it is recapping that material) however everything is now in the tonic/home key. The coda ends up a tag at the end, extending the material, in this case it still ends in D Major to get that nostalgic and classical tradition feel that would be expected of Prokofiev by Social Realists/the government.
The exposition in this first movement ends before rehearsal 4 (in the Schirmer 1965 revised edition) or measure 40. One easy visual cue to tell that the exposition ends and the development has started is the repeat – knowing this saves so much time.
The primary theme starts in D Major ending with a PAC in measure 8. The transition is still tonicizing the home key, but with added chromaticism; there isn’t a formal HC as seen in the template above, but the instability of the D in the flute against an F-natural (the lowered 3rd) and in an inversion – with the F being underneath the D – has the same effect that a HC would in measure 20.
The secondary theme starts in measure 21 introduces a new rhythmic motive (dotted eighth sixteenth); the new key is not clear, but Prokofiev brings out the E – G# – B repeatedly throughout this new theme despite never fully tonicizing it. Then, in measure 30 (or rehearsal 3) the unstable tonality remains the same, but Prokofiev expands on the secondary theme with rhythmic variance with the groups of 6 as well as the contrasting longer durations (quarter and half notes).
The development spans from rehearsal 4 to 8 (or measure 41-87 and features the infamous climax of the piece that utilizes the extreme high register of the flute (D7).
This section starts without any piano, and allows the flute to show off their full low register with a short, articulate sounds. The new variance in the rhythm are the driving sixteenth triplets placed on the second half of the beat – Prokofiev continues to use this motive throughout this section to drive forward. At rehearsal 5 (measure 51) there is a transposed return of the opening theme – down a half step, starting on G#. With quotes from the closing and secondary themes before, yet again, returning to the opening theme now an augmented fourth (or a tritone) above the original pitch. And then seemingly out of nowhere, Prokofiev abruptly changes the key signature, measures 64-69. He leans into the instability with a quick time signature change from 4/4 to 2/4 and back to 4/4. In measure 74, Prokofiev gives the flute 2 groups of 5 to launch into the climax combining the transition theme from the exposition with the driving triplets; emphasizing the virtuosic arpeggios up to the D7 by repeating them 5 times.
The recapitulation spans from rehearsal 8 to 4 after reh. 10 (or measure 88 to 107). The stability of D Major is alluded to one measure before with the piano lead in and the repeated A5s in the flute. There is a PAC in 85, which quickly jumps into the transition where he (like before) plays with chromaticism but stays in the home key of D Major; with a pedal D in measure 91 that acts as a PAC – even though it is technically not when looking at the piano score, the restfulness before the next entrance functions in a similar manner. The secondary theme – which maintains the rhythm of the dotted eighth sixteenth – is now set in the home key, starting on the 5th (A5); this theme ends with an IAC (because the flute is on the 5th and note the root, D) with is still relatively restful, but alluding to something more which is fitting because it is followed by a fermata where the flute has a moment to rest while the piano maintains a pedal A2. The closing theme in the recap looks very similar to the secondary theme of the exposition with the biggest difference being the ending – which is on D to create a relatively conclusive ending – PAC.
Sometimes, but not always, the development and recapitulation are repeated (they are ALWAYS repeated together, however sometimes for brevity or with the addition of a coda, this second repeat is nixed.
Finally, the coda spans measure 108 to the end. For the first time in the work, Prokofiev starts the flute on the 3rd (F#) this is significant because the 3rd determines the quality, and in this case he is playing around with the quality of a D7 against a b-flat minor arpeggio; as well as varying inversions (measures 110-111). At the end, measure 115, Prokofiev does a brief return to that seemingly out of place B-flat major from the development with the perfect fourth of the F to the B-flat, a transposed version of the opening motive; before ending securely in D Major as would be expected of him within the Classical tradition.
Given the context of when Prokofiev wrote this piece and life/restrictions in the Soviet Union, it is clear that some boundaries where being pushed. At pivotal points, Prokofiev follows Classical traditions; but tonally and rhythmically (end with register to a point – the contrasting low to high in the development) he is exploring new terrain that somehow fits into the shades of grey within Socialist Realism.
Academia aside, this is beautiful flute piece to play and study – I look forward to working on this for my final Masters recital. Let me know your thoughts about this first movement in the comments.
There’s not just one type of student or teacher. Everyone has there own learning styles, needs, and quirks that make up a diverse learning community.
In the instrumental ‘traditional’ symphonic band and orchestra tracks, the expectation is excellence, discipline, and high-achievement – this is a grandfathered system that keeps going, but why? Because it’s comfortable or at the very least familiar? Or because it is what is right for our diverse learners?
In this article, I will be providing an argument for why it is important to seek alternative paths and perspectives that can be married with that familiar “excellence, discipline, and high-achievement”; as well as how these alternatives will help keep our art form alive for there to be another 100+ years rather than gradually lose public funding and favor.
University – Who are you?
When in university you are exposed to a whole new pool of people that – most likely – differ from you and the people from your formative teenage years. You have an immediate choice: do you integrate yourself into as many of these diverse pools as you can? Do you dip your toes into a few pools that either rebel against your former experiences? And/or end up fitting into your former experiences? Or do you completely reject these new perspectives in favor of your own personal experiences?
This is something most people begin thinking about around the time they develop social awareness; however, one people are left on their own – without a familiar backdrop of places and people – they are forced to see who they really are.
Hence, why it is paramount to take advantage of the time you have in university to explore these alternative perspectives. Now that doesn’t mean you have to do things that go against your morals or beliefs; but LISTENING to people about why they feel the way they feel does not do any harm to you. It doesn’t suddenly mean you are rebelling against your morals or are doing anything wrong.
One term that has gained popularity with the widespread use of internet forums is “echo chamber”. For those of you unfamiliar, you can read about it here; to summarize, it is usually characterized by people seeking out others who hold the same opinion as they do to further solidify their biases – most of the time this is not malicious and can often be done subconsciously.
With all this in mind, every once in a while take a step back to reflect on the media you are consuming to see if you are exposing yourself to a wide array of ideas or are just listening to what you know you will agree with.
Grandfather Music Education
Like many things in life, there isn’t one way to become a music educator.
Most people may think that you become a music educator through a 4/5 year Bachelors program (which includes clinical experiences, teaching portfolios, and state/nation required exams). The first glaring issue with this is that this is strictly an American perspective. Likewise there is also the bias of time – expecting someone to finish their degree in a set number of years – more or less. As well as assuming that someone HAS to do their Bachelors in Education. And the list can go on….
Here I will be reflecting on Music Education in America because that is where I studied and have the most insight on:
One of the biggest issues is the separation of music in school and out of school. We demand support for the arts (rightly so) yet when it comes to music making we rarely ever create new things, we simply recreate what is expected. On top of that most of the music we perform is not meaningful to the students. Popular instrument, music technology, film score, etc. classes are heavily undermined and not taken seriously by many educators. However, can it be at the fault of all these educators? Or is it really the lack of preparation and training in degree programs to get these educators to make music education more accessible.
Accessibility for special needs. At the end of my Bachelors they tacked on a few special education courses – which they graduate above my year never took and that is worrisome. I graduated with my Bachelors in 2019 and special education was not given a platform to all these educators who may not actively seek ways to support and reach students who really need it.
Poverty – this gets touched on yes, but no one actually knows what to do, most of us are just told to make it up as we go. Not having enough instruments for students, or not enough materials (stands, music, chairs, space) for students is devastating when the engagement is there. However when there is low enrollment or interest, how do we get these students in the door? How do we make an environment that supports them, their learning, and their financial need?
Racial distribution – this was never really discussed in my undergraduate classes (even with my University being on the East coast). Racial diversity doesn’t look one way it is highly dependent on the school you teach in/the district. You CAN NOT have a band of predominantly one racial group and them a sprinkle of other groups in there and call that diverse. There are many interconnected issues within this topic such as: lack of proper healthcare (which can effect proper diagnosis of special needs) and economic inequity.
Those are just a few of the topics that stick out the most (from my perspective). Others may want to call out gender, family/home stability, LBGTQ+ harassment, and more. Those are all valid perspectives that are not covered in this grandfathered music education pyramid.
Expanding Grandfather Music Education: Resources
Here are some resources that I could find address these topics – feel free to share ones you have found:
Roderick Cox – Conductor’s Perspective discusses “A live conversation among four American conductors across generational lines- sharing their unique stories navigating the elusive profession of orchestral conducting, and perspectives on classical music as a unifying art form for the future.”
No it’s an ongoing battle. Especially for the groups that can not just walk away from it. If you are able to turn it off and walk away you NEED to acknowledge your privilege. We (especially those with privilege) need to complicate our lives to make any sort of impact in the way music education is taught and experienced.
Especially with this pandemic that is rolling into its tenth month: people are either going into poverty or deeper in to poverty; the gaps in educational achievement are widening; people are stressed and emotionally unwell; and there is still so much instability in the world.
As a future educator my one message to you is: that people come first. Ease your students into lessons – how was your day/week? What did you have for breakfast/lunch? Who’s that on your shirt? What have you been listening to?
Make them feel seen and that they matter because they might not be getting that support elsewhere. The music can come later.