Classification and Analysis of "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin

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Wow! What atonal music. Although he played the piano very fast, the music remains to be the best tonal music played using the major and minor scales. Rachmaninov's ‘Prelude in G minor perfectly used all the keys in different ways making the song very emotional, tonal, and breathtaking because of the perfect use of the scales. Rachmaninov's ‘Prelude in G minor used both the major and minor scales in a chromatic ascending order covering all the keys (Ramachandran 530). Rachmaninov's ‘Prelude in G minor creates a climatic tension through its use of well-calculated chromatic patterns in the in the inner voices of chord progressions.

Beethoven's ‘Symphony No 3 in Eb Major

Beethoven's ‘Symphony No 3 in Eb Major, 4th Movement' on the hand has proved to be one of the most tonal music due to the use of both the major and minor keys in a perfect way. I love this music as it marks the turning point in the history of music. The first movement of the keys is in the form of sonata. Two large E-flat major chords opens the keys which are played by the orchestra (Beethoven and Kinderman 1772). It is without a doubt that it is the two large Eb major chords that firmly establishes the tonality of the movement. When the first tone of the first note is introduced by the cellos and the fifth bar of the melody further makes it very tonal as a chromatic note is introduced, thereby, developing the harmonic tension of the music.

Debussy's ‘Pagodas' and ‘Ondine'

Impressionism is a term used in music to convey scenes, emotions, and moods. Debussy's ‘Pagodas' was primarily concerned with depictions of outdoor scenes as well as establishing the correspondence between the visual and the aural. Consequently, Debussy's ‘Pagodas' remains to be impressionistic music as the music seems painterly because of its calibrated timbers and blurry harmony (Iwaasa). I love the way Debussy's ‘Pagodas' managed to evoke a feeling, atmosphere, and mood among his listeners by creating musical images through the whole-tone and pentatonic scales, the unresolved chords, and the use of ambiguous tonality.

Again, Debussy's ‘Pagodas' is impressionistic music as Debussy also made use of extreme chromaticism, parallel motions, and unresolved timbre to develop the new colors and textures ranging from gamelan textures, new scales, thus making the music more impressionistic since it successfully evoked moods, feelings, and scenes. As impressionistic music, Debussy combined chords in a very unusual manner. As a result, the chords were not anchored in a particular key as the keys remained floating throughout the music (Bottge). However, since Debussy was closely affiliated with the literary movement symbolism, his work continues to be a complicated work of art to classify.

Even though Debussy work of art is considered impressionistic, I firmly believe that Ondine was more symbolic and impressionistic than Debussy's work. Ondine's focus on rocks, water, farmyards, and on young girls herding cows has contributed a lot to this work of art making it look more impressionistic because, through the use of these objects, Ondine has managed to evoke feelings and scenes among his viewers (Hutton). His treatment of the chords as sonorous objects cannot be overemphasized. For instance, Gauguin while developing Ondine was so much attracted to what he saw as a secure way of life, thereby making his work more symbolic as compared to Debussy's ‘Pagodas' which is rather confusing and challenging to classify. This work of art makes me so happy as it is so enjoyable to watch.

Souza's Liberty Bell March

Oh my God! Souza's Liberty Bell March is a march of its own. Its strong beat and succession of catchy tonal melodies cannot be overrated. I concur with the view that Souza's Liberty Bell is one of the finest works with a catchy tonal and easy to understand melodies in the American history. Souza's Liberty Bell is an easy work or art to understand since his introductions slightly resemble each other in both its downward chromatic spiral and full stop. The march is interesting as Souza's skittish opening themes are both linked by a common triplet figure. More interesting is the soaring trio which is more relaxed and based on the ascending scale. I love this march because of its catchy melodies as the grandiloquent breaks train has made very effective use of the rests. Besides, the chimes used in the last two sections have provided an evocation of the great liberty bell itself.

Joplin's ‘The Entertainer'

On logical grounds, Joplin's ‘The Entertainer' is a wonderful and excellent example of the ragtime which in spite adding elements of the West African music managed to preserve the qualities of the tonal march. Besides, ‘The Entertainer is flawless with nice upbeats and syncopated rhythms, thereby making it one of the best ragtime music to listen to. Although the piano used to be the primary instrument of ragtime music, Joplin added some elements of the West African music to ‘The Entertainer' without interfering with its tonal march qualities. For instance, Joplin added, "The blues" which was referred to a feeling of sadness expressed by lowering the 3rd, 5th, or 7th scales degrees of a major key. Initially, the blues was used by West African artists, but Joplin beat the odds without changing the qualities of the tonal march. It also amazing how Joplin added other elements such as "swing" and "triplet" to ‘The Entertainer' without affecting the qualities of the tonal march.

Stravinsky's ‘Rite of Spring'

Primitivism is described as a reaction to the over-refinement of works of arts such as Dubbusy's music. Primitivism called for primitive motifs, exotic juxtapositions of human as well as nature. Primitivism also involved the use of bold colors and simple lines. It represented the abandonment of the contemporary sophistication. It is evident and true that Stravinsky's ‘Rite of Spring' is an excellent example of primitivism as this piece of art is uncultured, inelegant, and unpolished (Preston 5). Besides, harmony is oversimplified in this piece of work, thereby making it easy to understand and listen to. The girl who dances herself to death to calm the God of spring makes this piece of work so exciting.

In summary

In summary, music remains enjoyable as long as the art and instrumentality in it is alive. Rachmaninov's ‘Prelude in G minor features the most intriguing manipulation of scale and tone in music. Souza’s Liberty Bell is another masterpiece because it is easy to construe and follow the arrangement of rhythm. Joplin's ‘The Entertainer' also presents upbeats and syncopated rhythms that have been replicated in modern music. The other pieces of music follow similar patterns and rejuvenate the passion of traditional music lovers several decades after their debut.

Work Cited

Beethoven, Ludwig van, and Willam Kinderman. Artaria 195: Beethoven's sketchbook for the Missa solemnis and the Piano sonata in E major, opus 109 (Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827. Works. Selections (Sketches: Beethoven sketchbook series)). Urbana, Ill.; Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2003

Bottge, Karen M. "Reading Adorno's Reading of the Rachmaninov Prelude in C-sharp Minor: Metaphors of Destruction, Gestures of Power." Music Theory Online 17.4 (2011).

Mathews, Steven D. "Review of Analysis of 18th-and 19th-Century Musical Works in the Classical Tradition by David Beach and Ryan McClelland. New York: Routledge, 2012." Indiana Theory Review 34.1 (2017): 105-133.

Preston, Carrie J. "Introduction: Modernism and Dance." Modernist Cultures 9.1 (2014): 1-6.

Ramachandran, Manoj, and Jeffrey K. Aronson. "The diagnosis of art: Rachmaninov's hand span." Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 99.10 (2006): 529-530.

Hutton, Mary E. "Divine Debussy Indeed: Music in Cincinnati - Classical Music Journalism by Mary Ellyn Hutton (reviews_2013)." Music in Cincinnati: Classical Music Articles by Journalist Mary Ellyn Hutton,

Iwaasa, Rachel. Fragmentation and eros in Debussy's Chanson de Bilitis and Six Épigraphes antiques. Diss. University of British Columbia, 2006.

October 05, 2023


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