Guided Listening #3: Baroque Forms in a Classical Structure with 20th-Century Methods

For this Guided Listening, you will need the following:

A copy of these teaching steps
Audio assets: Excerpts I – III from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
Flash asset: Score pages of the Fugue from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
Text asset: Symphony Sounds

I. Listen and Identify: Toccata

  • Write Symphonie No. 2 and Clermont Pépin on the board.
  • Share with students:
    • Pépin uses different baroque era concepts for the movements of his second symphony. The first movement is a toccata, which characteristically has running, virtuosic figuration. Let's listen and see if we can figure out what that means.
  • Listen to audio asset Excerpt I from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin.
  • Ask: What instruments sounded like they were running? Is there more than one type of running you can hear? (the lower instruments sound like galloping)
  • Ask: What does virtuosic mean? Find out.
  • Listen to the excerpt again.
  • Ask: What parts do you think sound virtuosic?

II. Listen and Identify: Hymn

  • Tell students that the second movement of Pépin's symphony is a hymn.
  • Ask: What is a hymn? Can you describe how a hymn often sounds? (sung, slower, smooth parallel rhythms, contrasting smooth movement between four voices, four measure phrases)
  • Listen to audio asset Excerpt II from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin. As students listen, ask them to think about the hymn-like characteristics listed above and whether or not they are present in what they hear.
  • After listening, ask: How is this different than a hymn? (instruments instead of voices, it is not in a central key)

III. Listen and Identify: Fugue

  • Share:
    • The third movement is a fugue, which is like a round. There is first just melody, or what is called the "subject." While the initial subject continues there is another entrance of the subject that overlaps. Pépin's third movement has three entries of the subject, including the opening one.
  • Distribute copies of (or show on an overhead) the flash asset score pages of the Fugue.
  • Study the score.
    • Begin by finding the subject (the very first thing you see at the beginning).
    • Can you spot the second and third entries of the subject next? (Hint: the subject beings with three eighth notes following an eighth rest)
  • Confirm with students after they have had adequate time to find the entries.
  • Listen to audio excerpt III, the beginning of the third movement.
  • Ask students to put up their hands when they hear the second (0:14) and third entries (0:25).
  • Ask: Does this sound like a round? Why not? (atonal)
  • Share:
    Pépin uses the historical structure of a fugue but uses a 20th development; atonalism (no tonal center or key). This combination acknowledges familiar forms from history while still being sincere and contemporary.

Excerpt I from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin (0:01:26)

Excerpt I from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin - Play now

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The opening movement of Pépin’s second symphony makes use of the Taccata, a Baroque era musical form He places musical language from the twentieth century within this structure, as can be heard here in the rhythmically energetic atonal introduction.

Excerpt II from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin (0:01:34)

Excerpt II from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin - Play now

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In a quieter second movement of his second symphony Pépin composes a hymn for strings.

Excerpt III from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin (0:01:07)

Excerpt III from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin - Play now

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The third and final movement of Pépin’s second symphony is a fugue. The violas introduce the theme, then the violins enter, followed by the cello.

Score pages of the Fugue from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin

Symphony Sounds
By around the 1740s in Europe, composers began to use the term 'symphony' apart from its usage for instrumental music in an opera or other large scale work involving voices such as an oratorio. These works were normally in three movements, fast-slow-fast in tempos, like the Italian sinfonia.

Some composers began to add more movements to these basic three. The one most commonly added was one known as a Minuet-and-Trio. The Minuet had been a very popular dance during the Baroque period and had a metre of three beats, Da da da. The structure for this particular movement that composers used within the symphony was the binary structure. They normally wrote an accompanying trio, also having the minuet-dance characteristics, but usually featuring the wind instruments of the orchestra. There was a long-standing European custom of using ensembles of wind instruments to provide outdoor dance music. After the Trio, the Minuet would be played again. The Minuet and Trio would normally be in the same key as the two outer movements. The placement of the Minuet and Trio could vary as either the 2nd or 3rd movement overall.

Credits and Copyright

  • Audio asset: Excerpt I from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
    1957, Clermont Pépin
  • Audio asset: Excerpt II from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
    1957, Clermont Pépin
  • Audio asset: Excerpt III from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
    1957, Clermont Pépin
  • Flash asset: Score pages of the Fugue from Symphonie No. 2 by Clermont Pépin
    1957, Clermont Pépin
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