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DIALECTS-7 ROMANTICISM IN AFRICAN PIANISM 2011

ROMANTICISM IN AFRICAN PIANISM

Program Notes Dialects-7 Romanticism in African Pianism Romanticism in music generally refers to a period, theory or compositional practice in Western music history from around 1830-1910. As a movement, it emanated from the preceding art-forms of the Classical period and expanded further into grander formats in expression and amalgamation of different art-forms with music. The term does not imply romantic love although many of the subjects of the period projected that theme – in painting, literature and music. Both audiences of the 19th century and today agree on the more expressive and passionate nature of music of the nineteenth century in comparison to that of the preceding periods. Each artist preserved his idiosyncrasies and expressivity that enabled his work or style to be easily identifiable. There was an increase in emotional expression and the power to express deeper truths or human emotions as well as extending the formal structures of the classical period or the creation of new forms that was better suited to the new subject matter. This could be purely abstract, from history, literature or from nature. Chromaticism grew more varied, as did dissonances and their resolution. The equidistance of the diminished 7th and related chords facilitated modulations to distant keys. Increasing focus on melodies and themes, as well as an explosion in the composition of songs, in particular, the lieder. Musical nationalism as a political and cultural force grew in the 19th century. Many composers expressed their nationalism by incorporating elements unique to their native cultures, such as folk song, dances, and legendary histories. In addition to these exterior elements, there was an increasing diversification of musical language, as composers used elements of rhythm, melody, and modality characteristic of their respective nations. It could be taken for granted that the modern African music scholar has also inherited the history and science of Western music. He now goes on to apply his science to the advancement of the “musics” of his particular culture. It is from this dimension that Dialects-7 – Romanticism in African Pianism factors in. It exploits some of the tonal inflections embedded in Ghanaian languages. Uses enriched added-note chords – such as sixths, sevenths and related chords and with a number of unprepared modulations. There is also greater depth of emotions, melodically, harmonically and rhythmically. For those who would delve into the analysis of Dialects-7, it would be good to bear the following factors in mind: Freedom in form and design; intense personal expression of emotion; Emphasis on lyricism; adventurous modulation; richer harmonies, often chromatic, with striking use of discords; greater sense of harmonic and metric ambiguity; weightier textures, wider range of pitch, dynamics and tone-colors as well as greater technical virtuosity, to mention just some of the characteristic elements.

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