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Questions Based on Haydn’s ‘The Joke’ Music

In harmony, what is a pedal? In which bars does a pedal occur (a) in the viola part, and (b) in the violin part? How do these differ?

A pedal is a long held note or note that is sustained while the chords change and music continues. There is a pedal in the viola part at bars 22-28 beat 1 being on the note B flat. There is also a pedal in the violin 1 part at bars 112-115 which features a repeating B flat quaver. The pedals differ in these two examples with one being an inverted pedal (violin 1) which also is a repeating quaver and not just a sustained dotted minim like it is in the viola part.

What is double-stopping? Where is it used on page 206 of NAM?

Double stopping is a technique used by string players to play two notes at once by bowing two strings. Double stopping is used at bars 148-150 in violin 1 and 2 parts.

What is meant by harmonic rhythm? In what way is the harmonic rhythm in bars 9-28 different from that in the first eight bars?

Harmonic rhythm is the rate at which the chords change. At bar 1, the chords change every half a bar. At bars 9-28, this increases to two bars per change (bars 9-12), one bar per change (bars 16-28) and half a bar per change (bars 13-16).

Which note in the first-violin part of bar 5 is chromatic?

At bar 5 in the violin 1 part, the B natural is a chromatic note. This is because it is part of an appoggiatura. The rising semitone is a feature of Haydn’s piece.

In a rondo, what is the difference between the refrain and an episode?

An episode in a rondo is a completely new section of music whereas a refrain is a repetition of a previous section, in the case of Haydn’s ‘The Joke’, section A. However, the refrain will slightly alter to the original section A.

Explain the precise meaning of the letters G.P. and the figure 3 in bars 167-169.

‘G.P.’ stands for ‘general pause and is used at bars 155, 159, 163 and 169 as a tool to create a joke in the piece. The long phrases make it comical when the joke motif returns. The figure ‘3’ at bars 167-169 mean that instead of a one bar general pause, the pause will now be three bars long. This emphasises the last joke at bars 170-173.

What term describes the way in which Haydn’s use of harmony is similar to that of Corelli?

Just like Corelli, Haydn use chordal homo-rhythmic movements.

In NAM 15, Corelli depended on a continuo instrument to fill out the harmony. Why did Haydn not need to use a continuo instrument in this work?

Haydn did not need a continuo instrument to fill out the harmony because he had other instruments already doing that for him such as the viola and cello. What makes the harmony easy to distinguish though is the fact that it is a classical quartet. Therefore, it could be compared to a bach choral with a four part harmony.


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