Gabrieli - In Ecclesiis

Flash cards for the setwork for A2 music unit 6: further musical understanding. 

  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 08-05-12 17:46

Context/Background Information

  • Gabrieli was organist at St. Mark's, Venice
  • Building of St. Mark's means that music had to be composed specially, encouraged development of polychoral textures and antiphony.
  • Used more styles common to the final years of 16th C which were more characteristic of baroque
    • basso continuo
    • chromaticism
    • elaborate writing for solo voice
    • idiomatic writing for instruments
    • writing more homophonically than contrapuntally
  • Date of composition uncertain but published posthumously in 1615
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Performing Forces + Handling

Scored for 2 four part choral groups - one soloists, instumental ensemble (6 players) and basso continuo realised on organ (maybe plucked instrument lute/theorbo)

  • 1st choral group soloistic qualities because of florid writing
  • 2nd choral group = 2 altos, tenor + bass, texture is mainly chordal
  • Instrumental group = 3 cornetts, violino (viola because of range) and 2 trombones.
  • 2 organs in St Mark's at this time large one had 9 stops which is small compared to other European church organs. 
  • Bass line is for organ part so organist would provide suitable harmonisation - realisation in NAM is only editoral suggestion. 
  • First 30 bars continuo instruments are accompaniment
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Texture is varied, includes monody (melody + continuo accompaniment), polyphony, imitative counterpoint, homophony and antiphony.

  • b1-5 monody
  • b6-12 antiphony with initially homophonic chorus and imitation
  • b13-24 monody
  • b25-31 antiphony with homophonic chorus and imitation b29
  • b31-39 6 part instumental ensemble begins homophonically becomes more contrapuntal with imitation
  •  b39-61 alto + tenor duet, contrapuntal instrumental + continuo accompaniment
  • b62-68 alto + tenor solo with instrumental + continuo
  • b68-94 countertenor + baritone solo + organ continuo
  • b95-101 countertenor + baritone solo + chorus + organ continuo
  • b102-129 Chrous, tutti, increasingly polyphonic, 2 canons combines at b114 between chrous alto and tenor and between soloists. 
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General tonality is A minor but most cadences end in major (tierce de picarde) and there is strong aeolian elements in melodic lines. 

  • fleeting shifts between C and D majors
  • Shift to C b14
  • Shift to G b17
  • Shift to E min with imperfect cadences b19-21
  • passing references to G minor
  • distant key of B minor
  • ambiguity by unrelated chords b102
  • dominant pedal in A minor
  • plagal cadence at end
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I, IV and V in root or first inversion occasional use of VIIb, suspensions, consonant 4ths, passing notes and sometimes secondary 7ths and dissonances. 

  • use of 6/4s with no preparation of resolution b6 beat 3
  • switch from major to minor after a perfect cadence b34
  • augmented chord with secondary 7th b31
  • juxtaposition of unrelated root position triads b102-3
  • unprepared dominant 7ths b104,105,110,111, 113
  • variable harmonic rhythm with fast chord changes in homophonic passages. 
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  • Characteristic of 16thC polyphony - hint of plainsong
  • 'new' elements are use of short motifs and florid ornamentation
  • Conjunct lines at opening 
  • Aeolian mode
  • Repetition of short motif b3-5
  • sequential repetitions 
  • unusual passing angularity in alto b43-44
  • florid ornamentation b68-69 
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Rhythm + Metre

  • Rhythmic variety
  • Dotted notes, tied notes and syncopation

Text and word setting

  • Text is anonymous suitable for festival in St Mark's
  • Chorus restricted to singing alleluia 
  • Main part of text is sung by soloists
  • Accented syllables of Latin fall on stronger beats
  • Syllabic and mellismatic writing
  • Word painting for 'Deus' 
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