Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries Analysis

1237 Words 5 Pages
When one examines the field of fine arts, he is unlikely to find a category as mysterious, captivating, and expressive as music. Given the greatly varied psychological and physiological effects music has on individuals, it is apparent that composers must utilize a variety of complex techniques to stimulate our myriad of senses. Most simply, perhaps, is the usage of musical patterns that match the lyrics of a piece. For an early example, in Weelkes’ madrigal As Vesta Was from Latmos Hill Descending, when the text says “chase after” or “move quickly”, “…the music becomes fast… voices chase [each other].” (Wright 77). Additionally, when words like “pain” and “anguish” are used, “…biting dissonance and twisting [chromaticism]” are utilized, just …show more content…
Throughout the work, Wagner implements multiple musical techniques to make his composition “click”. From the start, the listener is called to action with shrill trills and glissandos in the high strings and woodwinds, creating a sense of heightening anxiety. Conversely, when the main motive sounds, Wagner utilizes French horns, trombones, and trumpets to convey the entrance of the heroes. In doing this, Wagner shows the sweeping effects orchestration can have: “…instruments [can] create a mood and sway the emotions.” (Wright 106). Even though there is a battle of dissonance in the background, listeners can find solace in the consonant melody in the brass. In addition, Wagner capitalizes on the psychological power of volume in Ride of the Valkyries. As the piece progresses, the Valkyrie leitmotif crescendos, eventually reaching a fortissimo volume. Even as the dissonant harmonies grow louder and denser, the heroic leitmotif overpowers the “evil” …show more content…
One example of this is pop music – specifically, The Eagles’ Hotel California. Throughout the song, many of the same techniques from classical music are employed, including word painting, dissonance, and modulations, to instill emotion in the listeners. Specifically, from the beginning, electric guitar plays a haunting guitar solo in a minor key to set the scene: an ominous hotel in the desert. As the lyrics begin, word painting is emphasized, with voice ascension and descension on the lyrics, “This could be Heaven, this could be Hell.” Additionally, on the words “far away,” the note durations are augmented to reflect the distance of the hotel. Even though the verses are written in an anxious minor key, the key modulates to major on the choruses, giving a “welcoming” feeling to the Hotel California. Finally, at the apex of the song, a legendary guitar solo sounds that utilizes drum fills and rising melodic sequences to drive the piece into the mysteries of the California

Related Documents