Document Type Master's Dissertation Author Zuvela, Perica URN etd-07172006-105102 Document Title The use of the clarinets and bass clarinets in combination with other instruments to potray the libretto of Puccini's opera Tosca Degree M Mus (Performing Art) Department Music Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof H H Van der Mescht Keywords
- operas analysis appreciation
- Puccini Giacomo 1858-1924 Tosca
Date 2000-04-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe main aim of the study was to examine and discover the use of the clarinets and bass clarinet, in combination with other instruments, to portray the libretto in Puccini's opera Tosca.
scrutiny of the literature about Puccini's life and works,
an analysis of the score with emphasis on the clarinets', bass clarinet's and singers' parts and specific attention to the demands of the libretto, and
listening to a number of recordings of the opera
A variety of different aspects are organized in the following chapters: Chapter 1 consists of general information about the study. Chapter 2 offers a short biography, while Chapter 3 provides a discussion about the libretto. In Chapter 4 the author deals with tonguing and articulation. Chapter 5 examines melodic aspects and Chapter 6 consists of views on dynamic aspects. In Chapter 7 a discussion about rhythmic aspects takes place, and in Chapter 8 the author explores the combination of the clarinets and bass clarinet with other instruments. Finally, Chapter 9 is a summary of the conclusions drawn in this study.
Puccini's predilection for continuous mixing of instrumental colours sometimes makes it difficult to separate the clarinet for analytical purposes. Nevertheless, the importance of the use of the clarinets or bass clarinet can clearly be detected.
Puccini employs all creative and technical capabilities of the clarinet and bass clarinet in creating and changing the atmosphere, depicting human emotions and emphasizing dramatic moments.
Carefully chosen and applied articulation, trills, tremolos and repeated notes in the clarinet and bass clarinet parts are Puccini's gestures in the expression of love, anger and fear. However, articulation in the clarinet and bass clarinet parts mainly matches the other instrumental lines in the orchestra.
Because the clarinet and bass clarinet blend well with any instrument and with the human voice, Puccini uses them in solo parts, in unison with the singer, or as an accompaniment to the singer's line.
As a consequence of Puccini's need to consciously pay minute attention to the details of the libretto, the structure, shape and length of the clarinet phrases constantly change.
Exploring the dynamic's capabilities of the clarinets and bass clarinet presents the wide palette of colours and nuances which these instruments can produce. Puccini uses a large number of dynamic markings in the clarinet and bass clarinet parts. They range between ppp and fff. The piano dynamic level is mainly used to suggest fear and suspicion or to portray lyrical moments in the libretto, while the forte level is a tool to create drama and express human anger, pain, or the struggle between good and bad.
Puccini puts very strong emphasis on rhythm as a device for illuminating the details of the libretto, stage actions, human feelings, and different atmospheres in the opera Tosca. The different rhythmical patterns and changes of metre affect all instruments. Sometimes the clarinet line has the same rhythmical figures as the rest of the woodwind, but very often the clarinet plays a different rhythm from the rest of the orchestra or the singer's melody.
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Please cite as follows:
Zuvela, P 2000, The use of the clarinets and bass clarinet in combination with other instruments to portray the libretto of Puccinis opera Tosca, MMus dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07172006-105102/ >
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