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MUSC 1000 Florida Atlantic University Listening Perspectives Paper

listen to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from the Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 (2:51) on YT

Your task in this assignment is to:

  • Listen attentively and identify each occurrence of the theme.
  • Chose the point of view of a different type of listener—casual, referential, critical, or perceptive—to comment on each of those entries. For example, pretend to be a casual listener in one case, and a perceptive listener in another.

Play the audio below and use the Comment Box to enter a description (comment) that corresponds to each occurrence of the theme. That means you will use the comment box several times. Be sure to read these submission instructions (also found below) on how to use the comment box.

Address the following questions in your descriptions :

  1. How does Grieg use dynamics, timbre, pitch, and tempo to achieve unity and variety in the piece?
    • Dynamics: Are dynamic (volume) changes gradual or abrupt in this piece? Are there any specific places where abrupt changes happen? What effect do you think Grieg is trying to achieve?
    • Timbre: Identify the points where one instrument or instruments takes over from another. At what points do these changes happen?
    • Pitch: At what points is the theme played at a different register, i.e., higher or lower than the previous time it happened? At what points does it stay at the same pitch level?
    • Tempo: At what point does the tempo start getting faster (accelerando)? Does the piece get slower again?
  2. List the specific connotation(s) that this piece might have for a perceptive listener.

Below are two sample answers (comments) to serve as a general guideline for the completion of this assignment:

  • A referential listener could describe the first entry of the theme in the following way: “The low pitch and slower tempo of this reminds me of the “Inspector Gadget” cartoon I used to watch. It has a mysterious aspect to it.”
  • A critical listener may describe another entry of the theme in the following way: “The lack of variety in this piece makes it boring and predictable. The composer is trying to add variety through the tempo changes, pitch, and timbre of the instruments but the lack of the musical ideas in this piece make it impossible to keep me interested.”

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