Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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Understanding musical scores

3.2.3 Layering and balancing sounds

In this video, Filipe, Christopher, Kimi, Siobhan and Jeremy talk about how their parts fit together in layers in Variation 3.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_musical_score_vid_1044.mp4
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In variation three, we have some layering up of sounds, and it starts with the lowest strings. Can you explain to us what you do there?
So this is a time when we've got the tune to play, so the cello and bass, we play the melody.
So it's really important then?
Yeah, and--
I guess even though we've got the tune, we still have to be really aware of what everybody else is doing. Because the piano's got that amazing fireworks, and the violin have got the accompaniment. So we have to be really aware of what they're doing as well.
Would you like to demonstrate your tune for us?
The middle layer is played by the upper strings. And this is really a filler, but it's also rhythm-- got a lot of rhythm to it. Can you describe a little bit more about how you work with this?
Yeah, I think it has a really crispy character. And then we have to keep energy and then good rhythm. And then at the same time, we have to listen to each other-- and of course, melody and then piano part as well.
The final layer, of course, is in the piano. Now, Jeremy, you've got lots of fireworks there. How does that relate to the rest of the piece?
Yeah, within the context of the whole piece, this is the real virtuoso movement where the pianist gets to show off their technique-- hopefully. And whilst it's embellishing the melody, it also has its own real importance as well. Would you like to hear a little bit?
I'd love to hear a little bit.
So in this variation, although five of you are playing, there's only really three layers of music-- the lower strings, the upper strings, and the piano. Which just goes to show that a large number of lines on the score doesn't necessarily have to be hard to follow, because there are only three lines of music.
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In the next section, you will see the score and how these layers are represented on the page.


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