The interrelationship between music and program in Vivaldi’s Violin

  1. TOPIC
    Discuss the interrelationship between music and program in Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in F
    minor, Op. 8, no. 4 “Winter.” Does Vivaldi adapt/alter any of the conventions of either the
    concerto or Baroque style in response to the poem that inspires this particular work? Must
    the listener be familiar with the poem in order to understand Vivaldi’s music?
    a. The complete poem
    Frozen and shivering in the icy snow,
    In the strong blasts of a terrible wind
    To run stamping one’s feet at every step
    With one’s teeth chattering through the cold.
    To spend the quiet and happy days by the fire
    Whilst outside the rain soaks everyone.
    To walk on the ice with slow step
    And go carefully for fear of falling.
    To go in haste, slide and fall down:
    To go again on the ice and run,
    Until the ice cracks and opens.
    To hear leaving their iron-gated house Sirocco,*
    Boreas* and the winds in battle:
    This is winter, but it brings joy.
    *NOTE: Sirocco and Boreas are personifications of winds.
    b. Indications (given by Vivaldi) for the first movement
    Frozen shivering in the icy snow
    Dreadful storm
    Running and foot stamping because of the cold
    Chattering of teeth
    c. Indications (given by Vivaldi) for the second movement
    d. Indications (given by Vivaldi) for the third movement
    Crossing the ice
    Moving carefully and anxiously
    Falling to the ground
    Striding boldly on
    The sirocco
    The north wind and all other winds
    a. The following presents a sample outline for the paper

    ▪ The first page (approximately) of the paper should be devoted
    to defining/describing the concerto, ritornello form, and
    Baroque style.
    ▪ The second page should be devoted to examination of the work
    (in terms of fundamentals) in light of the
    definitions/descriptions given on the previous page. In other
    words, this page needs to consider how well Vivaldi’s “Winter”
    concerto follows the conventions of the Baroque concerto (in
    terms of performing forces, sequence of movements, ritornello
    form, continuity, etc.
    ▪ The final page should consider the music in light of the poem
    (without restating the poem verbatim). Consider what aspects
    of “Winter” reflect ideas and imagery from the poem, justifying
    each by specifically describing the music in terms of
    fundamentals. Pay special attention to the places/aspects of
    the piece that do not conform to the norms of the Baroque
    concerto, as well as how the poem might have prompted
    Vivaldi to “break the rules” of Baroque style
    b. 3-5 typed pages, double-spaced
    c. This is a listening assignment, NOT a research paper. Between the textbook, notes taken
    during lecture, and your ears, you have all of the materials you need.

    ▪ Emphasis should be given to musical analysis and
    interpretation. The paper should be a discussion of the
    assigned composition in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm,
    texture, form, etc. This analysis should (mostly) be your own
    observations based on attentive listening. I would rather see
    incorrect/inaccurate analysis by you than a regurgitation of an
    analysis you read in a book.
    ▪ If you nevertheless insist on researching the topic, the
    following sources are
    m,,,, any
    personal blogs (regardless of the web address),,
    STUDENT papers appearing on university web sites, AND many
    other sites (too plentiful to list here).
    ▪ If you use unscholarly/inappropriate sources (like those
    enumerated above), your grade will be no higher than a
    C. As a general rule, sources either a) need to be books checked
    out from a university library, or b) can be accessed online only
    after logging into a university library’s database system. Please
    don’t try to get away with using these sources by neglecting to
    cite them—Dr. Basinger can google “Vivaldi Four Seasons” just
    as easily as you can. . . .
    d. You may access a recording of the work here

    ▪ first movement
    ▪ second movement
    ▪ third movement
    e. In order to receive full credit, you must submit papers by 9:40 am on 4/12. Any paper
    turned in after this (even five minutes past this time) is late. Late papers will receive a
    grade penalty amounting to a full letter grade for each week late. Students must turn in
    late papers on (or before) April 27; Canvas (and Dr. Basinger) will not accept any course
    work after this date
    a. A well-organized paper will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
    b. Your paper should have a point (i.e., an original thesis statement that is a product of your
    own thought)! This point should be clearly expressed in your introduction and supported
    in the remainder of your argument. On the most basic level, there are three possible thesis
    statements (which should be restated in your own words)

    ▪ Because the “Winter” concerto closely follows the conventions
    of a Baroque concerto, the music makes sense on its own,
    without the poem.
    ▪ Because the “Winter” concerto violates the conventions of the
    Baroque concerto, the music does not make sense without the
    ▪ Because the “Winter” concerto closely follows the conventions
    of a Baroque concerto, the music makes sense on its own;
    however, the poem adds an additional level of meaning.
    c. You don’t need to discuss all 3 movements if it’s going to make your paper longer than 5
    pages. However, you must acknowledge that there is a total of 3 movements (as well as
    whether they follow the standardized sequence associated with concerti).
    a. If you use any reference material (this includes the textbook), you must include a
    bibliography. Please refer to The Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook for the
    correct bibliographic format. Bibliographies do not count towards the 3-page minimum
    b. If you draw upon any outside information, you must include footnotes, endnotes, or
    parenthetical citations. The style manuals listed above will show you the correct format for
    these all of these.
    c. Obviously, all direct quotation must be cited. Indirect quotation, paraphrase, and
    reference to the work of others must also be cited. Because the instructor is well read, she
    can always tell when ideas are not the student’s (and she can often recognize the original
    source of the information).

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