Analysis Question two with sample response III: Brett Dean, Between the Spaces in the Sky
Question: Discuss how expressive devices create tension in the following work.* Please only analyse the first two minutes
- The clashing notes and use of chromaticism in the high string part results in harmonic dissonance, which creates tension throughout the work.
Jenn Gillan: You don’t need to include ‘creates tension throughout the work, just = tension is enough and takes fewer words.
- The combination of this harmonic dissonance with textural sparsity at the start create a mysterious, brooding character.
Jenn Gillan: The question has given you the aspect it wishes to describe, ie tension, so you don’t need to change words ‘mysterious, brooding’ etc. Stick with tension.
- The tone colour of the high strings is sharp and grating, which creates tension and adds to the mysterious character of the excerpt.
Jenn Gillan: Again, reference to mysterious not needed.
- The long, rubato rhythm of the double bass pedal-point creates the sense of a lack of movement which creates anticipation and mystery.
Jenn Gillan: Maybe saying ‘draws out dissonance or prolongs dissonance resulting in increased tension’ may have addressed the question better.
- The rhythmic subdivisions of the upper string part increases throughout the excerpt, increasing the sense of tension and anticipation when juxtaposed against the mostly static double bass.
Jenn Gillan: Great. You’ve compared what’s happening in different parts effectively.
- The legato articulation of the strings, which intrinsically creates a sense of calm, has the opposite effect when combined with the tension created by the other elements, heightening the sense of mystery and anticipation throughout the excerpt.
Jenn Gillan: Again, a great comment. This shows that you understand what is expected in music and how these expectations are met or not met. These are insightful comments.
Overall: Some great insight and comparison at a high level. Make sure you address the question, not add character when it is not required. Articulation and tone colour could have been addressed in a little more depth but overall a great response. Well done.