Robert Schumann, ?Grillen? from Fantasiestucke, Opus 12
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Music in the nineteenth century saw the creation and evolution of new music genres such as the piano miniature, short expressive piano pieces. During this time raw emotion and expressionism prevailed as the focus of music during this described “Romantic” movement. Robert Schumann’s “Grillen”, from Fantasiestucke, Opus 12 was written in July 1837 contains several virtues of music during his time period. Schumann’s uses various qualities in his music such as form, pitch, rhythm and meter, and texture so express different attitudes within his music. These qualities convey music that characterizes romanticism as very emotional, expressional, and dramatic. Schumann’s piano miniature remains a supreme example of the Romantic style in its uses of form, pitch, rhythm, and texture.
Although the romantic period lays higher interest in the melody and style of a piece rather than form, Schumann uses form to heighten to display the contrasting emotions within each section. Schumann’s work encompasses a form that is very easily recognizable and unambiguous. His form of
is very repetitious with very similar sections throughout the song. His sections also contain familiar sub-sections in each section and can be mapped out as the first two A’s being aa’ and the B as aba. C is the only section that cannot be clearly mapped out into sub-sections, and is better not partitioned. The third A returns to the strong expressive aa’ and is followed in B as aba. The final A begins with the first exactly the same as the corresponding preceding sections but the ending adds a variation to the a’ usually noted as the end of section A. Schumann’s parity in the sections in the piece makes the sections very noticeable but also emphasizes the contrast in expression in between the sections.
The rhythm in Schumann’s Grillen is a leading factor that gives the piece a high amount of expression and emotion. Section A starts out quickly and forcefully, the opening pulse begins, and does not relent until the end of the section. The pace of the duple meter gives the piece a sense of urgency throughout the first section as the meter speed is maintained, somewhat hastily holding the longer chords for their duration. B ensues, and the meter of the song is dramatically decreased, as the feeling of the piece becomes lighter as the first stereotypical melody begins. ...
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...osers of the Romantic Era to more easily convey their expressions and impressions within a piece and the piano miniature became a simpler method for composers to show their individualistic styles.
The ending can leave the listener asking, does the music end or does the piece just stop? With the obvious similarities between the ending and earlier parts of the piece the music can appear to just stop, having not added any obvious variations to the ending. The ending indeed serves as an appropriate end for the piece as the composer ends the piece by marginally slowing down the meter and adding accents, reinforcing the final chords and heightening the strong, forceful expression to the piece. This expressive reinforcement can be typified in the Romantic Era as composers strove to release their expressions, emotions, and individualistic qualities in their music. As philosophers during the Romantic Era urged society to deviate from conformity, composers strove to express individual styles. Schumann’s piano miniature uses the parameters of pitch, texture, rhythm, and form to express an emotionally charged piece and is a utmost example of the Romantic Style.