Robert Schumann, Grillen from Fantasiestucke
, Opus 12Music in the nineteenth century saw the creation and evolution of new music genres such as the piano miniature, short expressive piano pieces. During this time raw emotion and expressionism prevailed as the focus of music during this described Romantic movement. Robert Schumanns Grillen, from Fantasiestucke, Opus 12 was written in July 1837 contains several virtues of music during his time period. Schumanns uses various qualities in his music such as form, pitch, rhythm and meter, and texture so express different attitudes within his music. These qualities convey music that characterizes romanticism as very emotional, expressional, and dramatic. Schumanns piano miniature remains a supreme example of the Romantic style in its uses of form, pitch, rhythm, and texture.
Although the romantic period lays higher interest in the melody and style of a piece rather than form, Schumann uses form to heighten to display the contrasting emotions within each section. Schumanns work encompasses a form that is very easily recognizable and unambiguous. His form of
is very repetitious with very similar sections throughout the song. His sections also contain familiar sub-sections in each section and can be mapped out as the first two As being aa and the B as aba. C is the only section that cannot be clearly mapped out into sub-sections, and is better not partitioned. The third A returns to the strong expressive aa and is followed in B as aba. The final A begins with the first exactly the same as the corresponding preceding sections but the ending adds a variation to the a usually noted as the end of section A. Schumanns parity in the sections in the piece makes the sections very noticeable but also emphasizes the contrast in expression in between the sections.
The rhythm in Schumanns Grillen is a leading factor that gives the piece a high amount of expression and emotion. Section A starts out quickly and forcefully, the opening pulse begins, and does not relent until the end of the section. The pace of the duple meter gives the piece a sense of urgency throughout the first section as the meter speed is maintained, somewhat hastily holding the longer chords for their duration. B ensues, and the meter of the song is dramatically decreased, as the feeling of the piece becomes lighter as the first stereotypical melody begins. The most notable transition between meters occurs between the A-B sections, and is repeated throughout piece. This transition creates a large contrast in not only meter and rhythm, but also emotion. Section C is different in that its meter is the least definite. Its meter starts out very slow, clearly slower than all other sections. Slowing the meter here feeds to a more solemn expression, which is a stark contrast from the faster, fuller, and more excited state of section A.A conveys a forceful, strong expression with its fast meter and strong harmonic chords whereas B has a softer tone and slower, patient rhythm. Contrasting rhythm and meter changes help lead to an emotionally charged piece, typifying music during the Romantic Era.
Composers use varied pitch ranges to clearly show changes in emotion, whether it be higher pitches to depict an excited state or low pitches to possible depict a somber, sullen state. In the first section of Grillen, the first sub-section has a very low and small pitch range and in the second sub-section the higher line moves to a higher octave. Most notable, in the phrases of section A the pitch continually moves up, whether starting at a lower or higher octave. This rise in pitch is also accompanied by a sleek rise in volume as the phrase moves to the final chord. These dynamics greatly reinforce the expression in section A as the forceful accents on the ending chords of these phrases add to the excited state of the section. As the piece moves to section B and C the mood and emotion is lightened by the more gentle volume and pitch. The light melody in section B stays in somewhat high range for the duration of the section.Schumann conveys a somewhat happy and content aura by his high and gentle pitch