Listening Log

Danse De La Chavre

It is my belief that Honegger’s “Danse de la Chavre” is from an interesting era of music known as the neo-classical era. Some of the leading names of this era called themselves “Les Six” Who’s aim was to bring some more lighthearted music following the sombre  chamber music post World War One.

As I analyse the piece of music its obvious to me that in the music the key signature has been kept open as there is no real tonic or route note. The key is deliberately ambiguous as with the incorporation of an F# and regular use of E you could be forgiven for thinking that the key is E-Minor for the first 7 bars. The first 7 bars us the first phrase from which all the ideas are developed.

One of the key parts of the piece of music appears to me in bar 11 where there is a huge Bb, Now this could be either a flattened 7th of the C major or it could be a flattened 3rd in the dominant key of G major. Either way both possibilities point towards a “blue” note a degree of the scale that has been altered to sound more jazzy as was a common technique in the Neo-Classical era.

Within the bars 8-13 There is a chance for the flute to be as virtuosic as they fancy. The main dance theme comes in at the 9/8 bar. The ambiguity of the key signature still stands with frequent use of the previously mentioned Blues note of Bb. 6 bars in from the 9/8 bar the dance theme is played louder and developed by using more notes (using the semi-quavers) on the 12th bar of the 9/8 the theme has returned for a couple of bars with altered articulation (an accent on the C) still using that Bb blues note. WIihin bar 21 a new technique is used “rhythmic augmentation” where an extra bar has been added that punctuates between the phrases. In bar 27 of the 9/8 we see the same phrase but transposed down a tone. The new phrase carries the same augmented rhythm with the extra bar that incorporates a ritard to build to the final sound of the initial dance theme that starts 18 bars before the end. We are in a new key as the theme has now been transposed up a minor third, first starting on D on the 27th bar of the 9/8 transposed up to start on the F 18 bars before the end.

The last 4 bars revert back to the initial tune we heard at the very begging and ends on the only bar in which you can say that the key signature is definitely C major. That’s the last bar.


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