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Concerto
Ritornello Form
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 5
Vivaldi, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (“Spring”)
SELF-GUIDED STUDY
 Concerto combines 2 highly contrasting groups:
Orchestra (aka tutti)
15-25 strings
+ harpsichord
louder dynamics
simpler music
Soloist(s)
1 to 5 players
may feature
woodwinds, brass
softer dynamics
technical, virtuosic
 Most concertos have 3 or 4 movements.
Movement 1
Ritornello form
fast, energetic
(always)
 Ritornello sections
 Solo sections
 played by tutti
 played by soloist(s)
 returning theme or
 New melody (ies) in each
part of it
Unity
Solo section
Contrast
Contrast
Time
0:00
R1
U
U
C
S1
C
R2
C
C
S2
U
U
C
R3
C
C
S3
Time
?:??
C
R4
C
C
S4
etc
RX
1. Ritornello theme (R) has two identification components:
melodic contour
double tone motive
2. Some R sections use both the
melodic contour and motive;
others employ only the motive.
3. Listen to each R section using Connect Kamien and
indicate on the lines below what identifies it. NOTE:
Kamien uses “Tutti” to refer to “Ritornello”.
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
R9
_____
_____
_____
_____
_____
_____
_____
______
_____
Connect Kamien
Some Solo sections
include bits of the
Ritornello theme in the
background or as a brief
part of the solo melody.
Which of these excerpts
do this?
1
2
3
4
When you have
mastered this and the
previous slide, you are
ready to listen to the
entire movement.
5
6
 Bach
 Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Maj, Mvt. 1
 Concerto Grosso
 I=
 ritornello form
 soloists=
flute, violin, harpsichord
 long harpsichord cadenza
 a technical “tour de force”
 much drive toward final ritornello
Connect Kamien
VLC—hasten audio -0.500s
R1
R2
R3
=
Unity
R
S
R
=
Contrast
S1
S2
S3
=
Contrast
 Vivaldi
 Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, Op. 8, No. 1,
(Spring from the Four Seasons ), Mvt. 1
 Concerto
 I=
 Ritornello form
 Program music
Connect Kamien
Listen to movement 1 of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto. using
Connect Kamien, my formal analysis (next slide)
and the Kamien text.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Can you identify each recurrence of R?
Who is supposed to play in a ritornello form’s S sections?
Who plays in Vivaldi’s S1 S2 S4 sections? (Check the book!!)
Do you agree that Vivaldi is “breaking” ritornello formal rules?
Explain how S1 and S4 can produce both contrast and unity.
Compare and contrast the Vivaldi and Bach movements:
How many formal sections in each movement?
Which movement’s structure is more consistent with ritornello form?
Which is longer?
Which has the greater energy? (This is somewhat subjective.
What is “program music”? Use Kamien or VA Tech Music Dictionary
Why is the “Spring” Concerto said to be programmatic?
Vivaldi’s Concerto, Mvt 1
Ritornello form
R1
S1
Song
birds
R2 S2
R3 S3
Murmuring
streams
Thunder,
lightning
R4 S4
Song
birds
Connect Kamien
R5 S5
R6
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Vivaldi wrote >450 concertos for strings, woodwinds, and brasses. Why did he
and his contemporaries write so much music?
Google “Stradivari” and/or “Stradivari violin” and scan several items to get an
idea of Stradivari’s life span, work, and place in the history of violin making.
Describe the quality of string instruments made in Italy during Vivaldi’s life.
Vivaldi wrote more than 300 concertos for strings (>230 for violin). Vivaldi and
the string instrument makers, Stradivari, Amati, Guarnerius were nearly
contemporaries. See a connection?
Remember program music?
In what musical era or century is program music particularly popular?
Can you cite elements of Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto that make it programmatic?
Does Vivaldi compose at the beginning, middle, or end of the Baroque era?
When did Vivaldi compose his “Spring” concerto?
As musical eras draw to a close it is common for composers to experiment and
innovate. Might this phenomenon have influenced Vivaldi?
What, then, is Vivaldi’s role in the development of music?

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