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 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2005-07-15 14:00

I think that phrases are ending-oriented, too, in speech and in music. The end of one phrase sets up the beginning of the next, unless it really is the end of the ending. That "finishing" sound is instantly recognizable not only to people but to animals. My Shadow Cat recognizes musical endings, including end-credits film music, when she hears it. She knows the difference between the end of a phrase that leads to another phrase and the end of the piece. She stands up on my lap and yawns as the ending approaches, and then at the real end, she jumps down, clearly expecting me to stand up. She's done this many times with music she's never heard before.

There's a lovely example in the score for the film version of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," when the kids need to go down a trapdoor guarded by Fluffy, the monstrous three-headed dog. Music makes him fall asleep. Someone has left a magical harp playing by itself. The kids take advantage of the chance to move Fluffy's enormous paw off the trapdoor, but then the audience hears ending music coming from that harp.

When I saw the movie in the theater, even little bitty kids who couldn't know an arpeggio from a bicycle reacted to hearing the arpeggiated resolution to the dominant of what had been a quiet, background-y, drifty and aimlessly-phrased piece of music. The music sounded barely noticible, but as that significant arpeggio began--and it was the *only* clue--the kids in the audience went on full alert, sitting forward eagerly, chattering and buzzing, expecting calamity, just *knowing* that the music was ending--and sure enough, the harp does stop playing at the end of that arpeggio phrase, and all three of the dog's heads wake up, slobbering and snapping wth rage. I think that often the phrase-ending is what jumps out in the "cocktail party conversation" example of speech, too. The beginning *or* the ending attracts attention. The ending makes us expect what's coming next--and sometimes we're fooled (by Bruckner's false endings, for instance), and that's interesting, too.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Topics Author  Date
 The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-07 22:26 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
diz 2005-07-07 22:40 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-08 21:14 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-07 22:51 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
ned 2005-07-07 22:57 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Liquorice 2005-07-07 23:03 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-07 23:17 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
diz 2005-07-14 01:27 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
hans 2005-07-14 02:59 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
3dogmom 2005-07-09 03:29 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
diz 2005-07-14 05:20 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
larryb 2005-07-14 11:53 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
EEBaum 2005-07-14 17:49 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-14 21:25 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-14 22:43 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
larryb 2005-07-15 00:05 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-15 01:02 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Lelia Loban 2005-07-15 14:00 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-15 17:08 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
clarispark 2005-07-15 19:48 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Lelia Loban 2005-07-16 12:19 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-16 12:31 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Lelia Loban 2005-07-16 23:52 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-17 06:25 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Bob Phillips 2005-07-17 01:54 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
Tony Pay 2005-07-18 13:01 
 Re: The Cocktail Party Theory of Classical Music  new
sdr 2005-07-19 13:41 


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