Song Analysis: Sleep By Eric Whitacre

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Song Analysis Essay: Sleep by Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre 's famous composition “Sleep” exemplifies a wonderful spin on
Robert Frost 's poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” Eric whitacre had originally wrote Robert Frost 's poem to music but couldn 't publish due to copyright claims so in a panic he changed the words in his iconic piece to create “Sleep”. Before
"Sleep” was even a concept a Texas woman came to Eric asking him to write a piece in remembrance of her parents married for 50 years who passed away in a fatal car accident. Through its slow tempo which is so powerful and it 's beautiful softer dynamic range to its magnificent chords sung by the choir in much louder dynamic ranges later in the piece shows the power,
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Eric Whitacre uses the same form in his piece as Frost did in his using in the first two stanzas AABA, then in the third stanza uses AAB. Then, he proceeds to finish the piece without form as it moves freely as it leads to his repeating lyrical texts, “As I surrender unto sleep” three times, then at the end, “Sleep”. To add color and texture
Whitacre on his last refrain of the line “As I surrender unto Sleep” on the word “Unto” as he allows the choir to sing a beautifully slow polyphonic line on the syllable “Un” for two bars before he writes in a gradual add in of the voices of the next syllable and the word
“to sleep” in the third and fourth bar starting with the baritone and Tenor voice on counts two and three then the Alto and Soprano voices on count 4 of the third bar and then finally on count one of the fourth bar he allows the choir to sing the word “Sleep” all together for two full bars with a homophonic figure going down to finish the phrase on a
Bb Major Chord with an added Eb to make a suspension on count three of the fifth

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