Dido's Lament

347 Words2 Pages
Dido’s Lament The Baroque period was a significant turning point for music; it began to be a separate form of art and not purely based in religion. The use of Recitative and Aria became a critical key factor to the development of opera, and is clearly used in “Dido and Aeneas” by Purcell. To enhance the characteristics of the Baroque opera, many techniques for manipulating Pitch, Duration and Dynamics were used. With these techniques it created more emphasis of the text with the use of word painting and string instruments. Throughout this piece the Recitative of the song is mainly sung in speech form, creating emphasis on specific parts of the text. The use of pitch created a great contrast between the Recitative and the Aria throughout the piece. “Dido’s Lament” starts with a descending chromatic line, with a repeating ground bass. Creating a ciaccona structure as it is repeated throughout the Aria. Ciaccona was very common for the Baroque period. The slow and quiet tempo, with a simple 3/2 time signature in the key of G minor, gave off a very solemn and sad atmosphere. Its simple rhythm was able to help express Dido’s true emotions towards the audience. The opening recitative secco, is accompanied by continuo in the line “Thy hand, Belinda”. Word painting was then applied through Chromaticism, symbolic death. Chromaticism is an alternation/substitution for diatonic scale members. Which can be seen near the beginning in the second bar. Purcell had also used word painting on the words “laid”, portraying death and agony with the use of descending chromatic lines. As the syllabic text is repeated, “Remember me”, the presentation of the notes start to leap in register and take a sudden change with a crescendo. This is where her desperate cry with urgency is displayed as her fate is drawing near: death. Dido’s Lament was a highly typical styled piece of
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