Program Music: Richard Strauss's "Don Quixote"

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  • Topic: Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, Sancho Panza
  • Pages : 4 (1404 words )
  • Download(s) : 337
  • Published : April 28, 2005
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Before the Romantic musical age, composers wrote music for the purpose of arranging sounds into the most beautiful way possible. Because of these goals, they followed some very specific ideas and wouldn't stray from them. Once the Romantic era hit, composers wanted to express a variety of things in their music. This is when the idea of program music appeared. Program music is usually instrumental music without spoken or sung words to explain the story or event that the composer has chosen to describe with his or her music. However, program music relies on a few non-musical things to make sure that the listener is interpreting the correct story. These things are often the title of the piece, a written forward and many times notes written to the performer/director directly in the score. After all, it is easy for a composer to say "I am sad" in his or her music by just using minor sonorities and dissonances, but it isn't possible for the composer to say "I am sad because my mother is about to die of prostate cancer" without the aid of explanatory notes. Program music has become a staple of our modern musical listening diet in almost every genre from full orchestra to wind band to small jazz combo. One of the most prominent examples of program music is Richard Strauss's tone poem Don Quixote. This tone poem tells the story of Miguel de Cevantes Saavedra's novel The Adventures of Don Quixote. The story of the hero Don Quixote is one of insanity and delusion that Strauss was able to depict very well. Don Quixote was a middle aged man that read too many books about knights and their heroic deeds. This is shown by three different themes given to show Don's dreams of being a knight. Over time, he read so many books and dreamt of rescuing his ideal woman named Dulcinea from a dragon so many times that his mind was unable to separate his real life from his fantasy world. Strauss chose to depict Dulcinea with a beautiful lyrical melody while the dragon is...
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