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

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George Frederic Handel

George Frederic Handel

"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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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).


Matt J on February 07, 2017:

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

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Matt on January 04, 2017:

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

Nicola on December 31, 2016:

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

F on October 15, 2016:

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

Holly on January 03, 2016:

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

holly on December 27, 2015:

no idea 4 is introduced by the sopranos bar 58

Olly f on November 08, 2015:

What about melody

Josh W on October 04, 2015:

Thank you so much for making this

Emily (author) on April 22, 2015:

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!

Liza on April 22, 2015:

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

CC on December 09, 2014:

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

SCP on October 14, 2014:


s-zero on October 12, 2014:

thank you for saving my life

HPMUSIC on November 05, 2013:

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!

Emily (author) on April 05, 2013:

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).

riderspider on April 05, 2013:

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

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