"Greensleeve" Analysis

Topics: Baroque music, Music, Musical notation Pages: 2 (781 words) Published: November 2, 2014

Arianna Dela Rosa Laurie San MartinDavid VerbucMUS 10
Concert Report: “Greensleeve”
While watching Anna Maria Mendieta play the harp on 5/8/14 at the Mondavi Center, the main composition that caught my attention and triggered my memory was Henry the VIII's "Greensleeve". The first few notes of the piece were already familiar and harmonious to my ears and also to the ears of other people worldwide. "Greensleeve" is a folk composition that was written in 1580, well known during the late Romantic period and early Baroque period, and continues to be of musical prominence today for "its heartfelt melancholic lyrics", "interpretations in the fields of folk and classical music", and for having a melody "so evocative of English countryside". The fact that it is comprised of a simple sequence of chords with a repeating bass shows that it uses a form more familiar with the slow/focused tempo of the Renaissance period, but is also influential to the later, significant ritornello and basso continuo form developed in the Baroque period. The form of the piece also allows for the musician to add their own improvisation, and for the performance I saw, Anna would constantly strum through all the strings scale in a descending and ascending manner in order to portray the dynamics and pure elegance of the harp. Therefore, “Greensleeve” is a prominent and classic composition for its historic eminence, it’s simple, yet influential form, and most importantly, it's soothing, captivating, and iconic rhythm. Many musical pieces we listen to today follow a repetitive verse and chorus form, which is actually the main form that is used in the piece "Greensleeve". Coming from the Renaissance period, where singing was prominent and instrumentation was barely focused on, using this simple and memorable progression is actually common for many pieces during this time. More specifically, the piece is played in "romanesca form", which is a form most popular during the Early Baroque Period and...
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