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 Chorus ‘Amen’
 Part of G.F. Handel’s ‘Messiah’, 1741
 Vocal

The ‘Amen’ closes Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and displays great contrapuntal skill until the final homophonic rendition of ‘Amen’ in the
final three bars. It gradually rises from the depths of the Bass & cello to the entry of the trumpets announcing the glory of God. It
combines a motet-style of polyphonic choral writing, with a glimpse of Lutheran chorale, as well an Italian operatic use of voices
& instruments and an English stately feel.

 The "Amen" begins in the bass and continuo. An intricate melody rises in four bars and one octave. Every other voice,
tenor, alto, soprano, also sings the theme once.
 This theme is treated as a subject of a fugue.
Melody &
for example
and melodic

The syllables A-men are treated melismatically with large leaps (6ths, 5ths, 4ths) and in slightly awkward divisions
(melismatic ‘-men’ on a quaver before another melismatic ‘A’ b.4). Angular subject.
 Countersubject (b.7-10) uses descending 2nd and upward leaps of 4th, followed by a 4-note scalic descending pattern.
 Large leaps in vocal part (b. 33 soprano leap of 8ve).
 Melody ascends from the depths at the beginning (with bass) to high tessitura (high notes for ranges of SATB) (b.34-35).
 Cascading descending scalic pattern at the end (b.80-81).
 Some use of sequence (b.42-44 Soprano)
 Syllabic ending of ‘Amen’
 Feeling of secondary chord in b.71
 Cadential 6/4 chord-V-I b. 75-76 leading to V pedal b. 76 bass & cello
 Tonic pedal b.80 cello
 Tonic dominant b.85 that ends on a ‘hanging’ V7d chord.

26 D major tutti b. but contrapunctal with more use of the counter-subject.84: V7d followed by dramatic pause. there are some sections to the piece:  b.63 & 75).31 A major instrumental section b. E major. b. 20.  b.6 is in A major on Tenor Return to D major b. mainly going through imperfect cadences. Highly polyphonic section with independent parts for voices & strings. Feeling of instability and tension until arriving at D major. 11 when Alto sings the subject A major b. .  b. A major.20 or b.68 The movement is as an endless flowing of ‘A-men’s.57-mid b.21: instrumental interlude with violin 1 only followed by violin 2. 65  D major mid-b. D major. Last three bars: I-V4-3 suspension-I perfect cadence. with theme at the bass & instruments using the counter-subject and some quaver movement  b.57-62 b. Also cadences use inverted V7th – I (b. followed by the answer in A major. which makes the music sound continuous until the very last cadence.36 (with anacrusis): violin 1 & 2 interlude in imitation  b.  G major mid-b.35). which makes it more subtle.31: chorale-style setting of ‘Amen’ in SATB. in motet style.62: B minor.1: bass & cello enter (cello tasto solo) with a theme that is treated as the subject of a fugue. The piece is in D major Subject-theme enters in D major b.LISTENING GRID     TONALIT Y Which keys are used and how a pieces goes from one key to another STRUCT URE Form/ organisati on of musical material How music is organised            Last three bars: I-V4-3 suspension-I Continually flowing melody over the cadences (example b.42 A major b. b. 16 with answer in Soprano D major at instrumental section b. However. as cadences are usually on inverted chords (see ‘harmony’). Fast modulating passage. Uses the ‘A-men’ subject-theme.36 D major end of b.54 Successive one-bar modulations from mid-b. B major.1 Answer in b.38: tutti section again. F# minor.

b. o indicate that a note or section should be played on its own. violins 1.32) Only homophonic passage: one bar before pause. or ‘hammered’ out) in the counter-subject crotchet notes (i.36-37 in violins Chorale-style setting b. V7d minims. (In a fugue.42: Sopranos start in stretto a variation of the subject-theme. using parts of the subject & countersubject (Soprano b. without harmony) Fugue with subject (1st theme) & countersubject (sung by bass after Tenors’ entry) Polyphonic texture mainly. then last 3 bars with syllabic ‘A-men’ . timpani (tuned to tonic & dominant) Martellato (a musical notation to indicate that the note is strongly accented. a part from Bass & cello) Starts in monophony: bass & cello (tasto solo. 75: tutti entry with gradually longer values: parts of the subject & countersubject at the same time. with at times all voices & instruments playing/singing different melodies (b. SATB choir.21) with 2 nd violin playing the answer Contrast of textures: violin duet followed by tutti b. 2.31 in SATB.e.63) Stretto passages (b. Homophonic cadence in Adagio tempo. Cascading descending semiquavers in quick imititation b. Pause. viola.80-81. with its successive interval leaps and change of rhythms within the melismas Prominent and exposed violin 1 & 2 sections (b.39. stretto is the imitation of the subject in close succession. so that the answer enters before the subject is completed) b. or instruments doubling vocal parts (b.LISTENING GRID   SONORIT Y organisati on of musical material = Timbre Combination s of vocal timbres and instrumental techniques      TEXTURE  combination s of musical lines (parts)         Mid-b. basso continuo.57-58). Instruments sometimes double the voices (b. based on the first 5 notes.21-30) without bass continuo: striking contrast to tutti passages.33 vln1 doubles Soprano & cello doubles Bass).31 Imitation: b. trumpets 1 & 2.7 Bass). Voices treated as an instrument: the melodic line is awkward for singers. although often each instrument/voice is treated separately (b.63) with subject coming in close succession Monophonic passage on violin 1 (b.

41 & used extensively from b. minims and crotchets. the rhythms become shorter with uses of semiquavers (introduced by Alto b. 43 onwards) Gradual lengthening of rhythmic values towards the end: b. dotted crotchet. more use of minims and semibreves b. The countersubject uses crotchet rests.84 homophonic minims until the end In 4/4 throughout Mainly mezzo-forte to forte Contrasts in dynamics achieved by contrasts in texture (i. sudden change from violin 1 & 2 to tutti section with trumpets & timpani) .86 followed by Adagio last 3 bars The subject uses a variety of rhythms: quavers. METRE & RHYTHM how music is organised in time Metrical and rhythmic devices DYNAMI CS Use of dynamics Expressive devices          Allegro moderato – quite solemn feel.75 no more semiquavers.e. Pause b. crotchets and minims As the movement progresses.LISTENING GRID TEMPO.