Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Big Music Words of the Week: Perpetual Motion

Hello, blossoming Impressionist experts! During the last several weeks in lessons we've been talking about "perpetual motion," an idea Impressionist composers used a lot in their pieces.

Perpetual motion just means movement that never stops. In music, perpetual motion gives the listener the idea that the music is always moving forward. Perpetual motion is created by using a lot of short notes, like eighth notes and sixteenth notes. Very often music with a lot of motion creates ideas of water, wind, snowfall, or other images found in nature.

This week's listening piece, "Une Barque sur L'Ocean" or "Boat on the Ocean," uses perpetual motion to create images of waves and moving water. This piece was composed by Maurice Ravel, one of the great Impressionist composers of the period.

As you listen, try to find places where Ravel uses both dissonance and perpetual motion together. Can you use his piece as inspiration for the piece about winter we're writing?