Analysis Question two with sample response II: Brett Dean, Between the Spaces in the Sky
Question: Discuss how expressive devices create tension in the following work.* Please only analyse the first two minutes
- Part A: Tension is created in the piece by very slow cresendos, that are accompanied with long, consistent bowing from the strings.
Jenn Gillan: A good point but slow crescendo and long consistent bowing doesn’t immediately call out ‘tension’. You need to enhance this sentence to make sure the proof matches the character.
- The legato notes contribute to the overall expression of the piece due to the violins playing at a much higher pitch than the cellos and double bass’.
Jenn Gillan: Great point. This may have been enhanced even more by mentioning the effect this distance between registers has on tone colour and the contrasting colours created.
- The large pitch gap and dissonant intervals between the strings creates a very harsh and uncomfortable atmosphere.
Jenn Gillan: The question is about how tension is created so using the word tension helps to reinforce this. You’ve said harsh and uncomfortable which is close but make sure you relate back to the question.
- Fairly consistent phrase lengths played by the strings, accompanied with slow crescendos create a sense of foreboding and development in the music.
Jenn Gillan: Maybe saying that these phrases are long, drawn out, extended may be a better point here to link to tension.
- Part B:
The very slow crescendo in the piece adds greatly to the foreboding character.
Jenn Gillan: How? Maybe say ‘because as a result the dissonance is drawn out and uncomfortable’ or words to that effect.
- The conductors choice of a very slow tempo in the piece increases a sense of development in conjunction with the dynamics.
Jenn Gillan: Not exactly sure what you mean by ‘a sense of development’. Maybe expand on this more.
Overall: Some good points relating to length of notes. Your strongest point was the contrast in registers. When discussing general questions maybe have in mind the expressive elements of music (dynamics, tone colour, articulation, rhythm etc.) and make sure you discuss something from each or talk about how one enhances the other.