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GCSE Music Analysis of "And the Glory of the Lord" by Handel

Updated on April 20, 2016

And The Glory Of The Lord General Points

- Composed by George Frederic Handel.
- Handel died in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
- It is the first chorus for voices and orchestral accompaniment from the oratorio 'Messiah'.
- Handel wrote Messiah in only 24 days.
The liberetto is taken from the bible and tells the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.
- ATGOTL was first performed in Dublin.
- Composed in 1741, the Baroque Period (1600 -1750)

Features Of The Baroque Period

- Ornamented melodic parts.
- Major/Minor key structures.
- Continuo played by the harpsichord and cello to 'fill in harmonies'.
- Homophonic/polyphonic textures.
- Baroque Orchestra includes: Violin family, harpsichord, trumpets, horns and timpani.
- One affection is set and maintained throughout the whole piece.
- Terraced Dynamics.

George Frederic Handel.
George Frederic Handel.

Structure

The work is made up of the following 4 motifs:
Motif A: 'And The Glory Of The Lord...'
- First heard by the alto part in bars 11-14 of the work.
- It's syllabic.
- The first 3 chords outline the A major chord (which is the main key of the work).
- Ends in the last 3 notes of the A major scale which defines the key.
- A low A played at the start and a high A played at the end sets a mood of confidence.
Motif B: 'Shall be revealed...'
- Introduced by the tenor part in bars 17-20.
- The word 'revealed' is mellismatic.
Motif C: 'And the flesh shall see it together...'
- First heard by the alto part in bars 43-46.
- Same melody repeated 3 times to make up this motif.
Motif D: 'For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it...'
- Introduced by the tenor/bass part in bar 51-57.
- It is the only motif that is introduced by 2 parts.
- Most of this motif is on the same note, which is an example of pedal.
- Long notes make it sound serious and important.

Instrumentation

- Written for strings SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass)
- The string parts often double the voices.
- Double basses play same as cellos but sound an octave lower.
- The introduction is just the strings alone.
- Some vocal parts accompanied only by continuo for example the first vocal entry.
- Harpsichord improvises harmonies from the bassline.
- Handel later added in parts for the bassoon and oboe.

Rhythm

- Time signature of 3/4 throughout.
- Use of hemiola (for example bars 9-10).
- Longer note values used to highlight motif D.
- Driving crotchet and quaver movement in keeping with affection.
- The ending is a total silence followed by a sustained cadence, this is very characteristic of Handel.

Texture

- Alternates between homophonic and contrapuntal textures, but there are a few short monophonic sections.
- Handel often combines different motifs to create polyphonic textures.
- Contrasts are created by the use of the single voice in contrast with the whole choir.
- Instruments often double vocal line although usually at different octaves.

Tonality

- Major keys all the way through.
- Begins and ends in the key of A major.
- One section of the piece is played in the dominant key (E major), then another section modulates to the dominant of the dominant (B major).

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    • riderspider profile image

      riderspider 3 years ago

      please may you tell me what hemiola means, it is not on your keywords hub, it may be very obvious ofc- thanks

    • Anthropophobia profile image
      Author

      Anthropophobia 3 years ago

      A hemiola is where the meter of the piece changes briefly, it's usually found where 2 bars of 3 beats will feel like 3 bars of 2 beats (or the other way around).

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      HPMUSIC 3 years ago

      THANK YOU!!!! My teacher gave me loads of essays to do on the set works and know I actually know what to put!! You're a better teacher than they are!

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      s-zero 2 years ago

      thank you for saving my life

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      SCP 2 years ago

      thanks

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      CC 2 years ago

      Thanks to you I actually have hope to pass my GCSE's

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      Liza 23 months ago

      Please could you add more on dynamics and melody? :)

    • Anthropophobia profile image
      Author

      Anthropophobia 23 months ago

      Sorry to disappoint but I did my music gcse 3 years ago and therefore can't remember any information about dynamics/melody. I do recall though that you only need two points from each subheading for the essay so the information in this article should be enough (I managed to get an A with it). Good luck!

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      Josh W 18 months ago

      Thank you so much for making this

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      Olly f 16 months ago

      What about melody

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      holly 15 months ago

      no idea 4 is introduced by the sopranos bar 58

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      Holly 14 months ago

      What? No it wasn't, (Im a different Holly) idea 4 was introduced by bass and tenor parts bar 51 - 57

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      5 months ago

      wow...Thanks a lot!you really helped me

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      Nicola 2 months ago

      Will there be a chance we will have to write about melody in the exam?

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      Matt 2 months ago

      Yeah there will be, its unlikely going to be in section B but will probs be in A

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      Matt J 6 weeks ago

      I'd thought melody would be in section B for handel. There are a lot of things to talk about

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