IB Extended EssaySubject: MusicTo what extent does Expression, Rhythm, and Harmony create emotional tension in Gershwin’s compositions?Word Count: 3202Candidate Code: gjm575Emotional tension. Emotion and Tension. What are they and how are they combined together? Emotional tension is the divergence of a desired goal state and the desired actual state of a given situation. In the normal day to day situation, this could be the moments leading up to the time you find out the results of an IB exam. The desired goal: scoring a 7. The actual state: the chance of one scoring a 7 combined with the suspenseful time it takes to get the results. In music, this varies between different genres of music. To compare these feelings between multiple genres of music, it would require someone with a lot of time on their hands and an adequate understanding of music. The results of the tension and what specifically made that tension would then have to be compared to form a conclusion on what creates emotional tension in each genre of music. But what’s more effective is a song in which the style and genre changes within the composition. The works of George Gershwin is a perfect example to identify the different factors of emotional tension in music. George Gershwin is one of the most famous and recognized composers in Modern music. The Modern music era started in the early 1900s by multiple composers, including Gershwin. Modern music became more popular and developed the same time as the Jazz era. Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris are the best examples of how Gershwin combined the two genres, if not others, into well-known orchestral compositions. The intermittent transitions between two or more genres in one piece creates a sense of uncertainty – emotional tension – in both Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris. Although the usage of multiple genres exists in these pieces, the purpose is different. As explained by Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue was created because:”There had been so much talk about the limitations of jazz . . . Jazz, they said, had to be in strict time. It had to cling to dance rhythms. I resolved, if possible, to kill the misconception with one sturdy blow….I had no set plan, no structure to which my music must conform. The Rhapsody, you see, began as a purpose, not a plan . . . It was on the train, with it’s steely rhythms, it rattley-bag that is often so stimulating to a composer, that I suddenly heard—even saw on paper—the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end…I heard it as sort of a musical kaleidoscope of America—of our vast melting pot, of our incomparable national pep, our blues, our metropolitan madness.” The elements in music is what makes music special. Each genre, each composer, and each composition has them. But what’s different is the way that these elements are implemented into a song. Three really significant elements are Expression, Rhythm, and Harmony. One of the central reasons that music engages the listener so deeply is that it expresses emotion. Not only do music composers and performers of music capitalize on the potent emotional effects of music but also the gaming and film industries, as do the marketing and music therapy industries. The way music arouses listeners’ emotions has been studied from many different perspectives. One such method involves the use of self-report measures, where listeners note the emotions that they either recognize or actually experience while listening to the music. Another method involves the use of physiological and neurological indicators of the emotions aroused when listening to music. Although many extra-musical factors are involved in the induction of emotions (e.g., the context, associations, and individual factors), the focus of this paper is on those properties inherent in the music itself which cause emotions to be perceived by the listener that are generally related to mechanism of emotional contagion. Rhythm, an essential element in music in one way or another, is the arrangement of notes according to their relative duration and relative accentuation.The role of rhythm in the perception of music is extremely important in that it is the basis upon which all music is created. Without rhythm, humans would have no sense of patterns, and music would simply sound like nonsense. Various rhythms have been created over the evolution of musical genres. Depending on the type of rhythm, an analyst could recognize similar patterns within that genre and culture to be able to identify which genre that piece and/or rhythm piece belongs to. For example, the clave rhythm, often played by the claves in an Afro-Cuban composition, follows a pattern that occurs throughout the whole song. Although this rhythm can occur in any musical piece, it is more commonly used in Afro-Cuban songs. During classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages melodies were written that had an inner logic in terms of their scale, or mode, its important notes, and the melodic patterns associated with it. This is also true of many non-Western melodies. After the gradual evolution in Europe, through the polyphony of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of the common practice, or classical, system of Western harmony, the inner logic of melodies was strongly affected by harmony. Because the ear can perceive harmonic patterns in certain groups of notes, even when sounded successively rather than simultaneously, melodies began to carry a strong implication of underlying harmonies. During this period there arose the conception that melody was the surface of harmony. Thus, for example, the partitas for unaccompanied violin by J.S. Bach, despite their melodic basis and lack of outright harmonic underpinning, clearly set forth their basic tonality and harmonic direction. This is achieved by a melodic style that includes frequent scale passages and arpeggiated chords (chord notes played successively, in melodic fashion, rather than simultaneously, as in a chord) that make clear to the listener the scales, harmonies, and keys belonging to the tonality of the composition. Through the 18th century and well into the 19th, melodies tended to be the bearers of their own harmonic implications. The above noted opening of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony represents this practice at both its height and at the beginnings of its dissolution. The opening eight notes outline an unmistakable E? triad, and would do so even if they were sounded unharmonized; the ensuing plunge to the unexpected C? likewise indicates by its mere melodic shape the harmonic unrest arising at this juncture.In Rhapsody in Blue, there are different themes. Here is a full analysis of Rhapsody in Blue: 00:00 Clarinet plays an upward glissando to Theme 1 (“I’m not sure I want to or can do this…”) (The “slide” to the top was played first by Whiteman’s clarinetist Ross Gorman as a joke but Gershwin loved it and it remains.) 00:38 Brass plays Theme 2 (“you can do it…”) under Theme 1 00:52 Theme 1 played again with muted trumpet 0:59 Piano enters with Theme 3 (“Should I? Can I?”) 1:04 Full orchestra plays Theme 1 with cymbals 1:12 Piano extends Theme 3 then cadenzas with repeated notes and upward glissando 1:49 Piano plays Theme 1 with soft orchestra accompaniment fluctuating tempo 2:32 Tempo increases as solo piano moves through Theme 3 to another cadenza 3:06 Full orchestra plays Theme 1 faster and fortissimo with piano echoing 3:27 Trombones take over Theme 1 3:37 Trumpets fluttering lead to Theme 4 (“Oh yeah, I’ve done this before…”) fortissimo accompanied by percussion and piano on chords 4:03 Clarinet solos on Theme 2 4:17 Theme 2 is picked up by full orchestra fortissimo with drum rolls 4:30 Piano answers woodwinds on the B phrase 4:37 Full orchestra finishes. Musical tension refers to the continuous ebb and flow of tension and resolution that is usually experienced when listening to a piece of Western tonal music. In particular, tension is triggered by expectancies that are caused by implication relationships between musical events, which are implicitly acquired through exposure to a musical system. Theme 2 with the A phrase 4:42 Blues-y solos played by clarinet, muted trumpet and finally muted trombone.SECTION 2: 2’32″4:56 Full orchestra plays four syncopated notes leading to baritone sax plays Theme 5 while percussion softly plays the beat 5:23 Brass plays one phrase rubato 5:28 Orchestra crescendos resumes Theme 5 (“I’ll take what I know and move on from there…”) piano adds incidental high octave ideas 5:55 Piano cadenza upward 6:04 Piano plays Theme 1 forte with full chords then Theme 3 softly 6:16 Woodwinds gently take Theme 1 with piano adding interest while percussion keeps a quiet beat 6:46 Piano takes the lead extending Theme 1 dramatically slowing tempo and softening dynamics SECTION 3: 3’08” 7:28 Saxophones and cellos introduce Theme 6 (“I get it, I’ve got it, I LOVE it!) accompanied by brass and glockenspiel accents 8:17 slow violin solo with triangle accents 8:33 Theme 6 returns with full orchestra and snare drum rolls while piano & trumpet repeat answer played earlier by the brass 9:17 Glockenspiel leads to next section finishing Theme 6 with syncopated rhythm on piano 9:25 Slow & soft piano interlude transitions to repeated notes which change the mood 10:16 piano briefly visits Theme 3 10:23 piano continues alone with another repeated note transition ending with upward glissando SECTION 4: 1’41” 10:36 trombone quotes Theme 6 in cut time joined a second time with lower brass 10:43 Brass play Theme 6 twice as fast with crescendos on each long note while piano accompanies 11:04 Full Orchestra plays fortissimo dissonant chord then frantically builds with the piano 11:23 Full orchestra plays upward chromatic scale 11:31 Lower brass leads into piano loudly playing Theme 2 embellishing the B phrase with strings providing syncopated response throughout the theme 12:05 Full orchestra plays Theme 1 with cymbals reminiscent of the opening 12:17 Piano plays Theme 3 accompanied by sforzando orchestra with a reassuring final downbeat.George Gershwin grew up and flourished in the commercial popular music world of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, and with his brother Ira formed arguably the greatest songwriting team of that (and probably any) time. Although his musical education was scant, his talent was prodigious and he harboured an ambition to succeed as a “serious” composer. Stravinsky (or was it Ravel?) related how the already famous Gershwin asked for lessons. “How much do you make in a year?” enquired Stravinsky. Gershwin, presumably thinking this was a credit check, replied casually, “Oh, about $100,000”, to which the considered response was, “Young man, maybe you should teach me”. Gershwin never did acquire an influential teacher, but perhaps it’s just as well. It is often said that Gershwin fused jazz and “serious” music, but what he really did was bring the style, vitality, and entertainment value of the Broadway musical, which itself borrowed from jazz, onto the concert platform. For this, he was slated from both sides: one camp saw him as an uncultured upstart, the other as a defector. His first foray into the classical field was Rhapsody in Blue (1924), which, in the best Broadway tradition, was orchestrated by an arranger. The Piano Concerto (1925) was all his own work, luckily not inhibited by casual adherence to classical forms. He dropped the piano, along with any overt formal straitjackets, for An American in Paris (1928), an apparently dizzying whirl of colourful, rhapsodic invention portraying the experiences of a visitor to that romantic city (then a mecca for young American composers). “Apparently”, because there is order in the chaos of Gershwin’s hyperactive imagination. To signpost the broad structure of such evocative music, I must indulge my own (but not necessarily your) fancies. There are two main parts, each contrasting two aspects of the city. Part 1: Paris by Day alternates episodes of bustling urban activity punctuated by the stereophonic squabbling of motor horns, with brief, hazy visions of peaceful, perfumed gardens. For some reason, the enthusing visitor, drinking in all the sights and sounds, seems to look remarkably like Gene Kelly. Part 2: Paris by Night. The setting of the sun is signalled by a solo violin cadenza, leading into the famous trumpet “blues” passage, at once evoking the romance of the Parisian night and its American visitor’s response to it (though some will immediately recall the “indisputable Top Cat”, lounging on a trash-can in a starlit alley!). Soon, though, we are drawn to the bright lights of a Jazz Club, smokey and sleazy with saxophones. Musical tension refers to the continuous ebb and flow of tension and resolution that is usually experienced when listening to a piece of Western tonal music. In particular, tension is triggered by expectancies that are caused by implication relationships between musical events, which are implicitly acquired through exposure to a musical system. Postlude: Memories. The “street” music of Part 1 stirs in the dawn light, but soon music from both parts bubbles up irrepressibly as the visitor reflects at length (and rather noisily) on his wonderful experiences: so much to see, so much to do, and so little time for it all! There is so much sheer fun that it is easy (perhaps too easy) to revel in it, then dismiss it as merely an exciting diversion. There’s nothing wrong in that, but it would overlook the endless fascination of Gershwin’s blending of materials diversely characteristic of Paris (representing impressions) and the USA (representing responses). There is a richness and subtlety in the interactions of these which is hard to pin down, and consequently seldom given full credit. Yet, when you really listen, you become convinced that rarely has any symphonic poem so richly deserved that classification. Pieces of music, or performances of them, are standardly said to be bliss, depressing, and so on. Music’s emotional expressiveness is a philosophical problem since the paradigm expressers of emotions are psychological agents, who have emotions to express. Neither pieces of music, nor performances of them, are psychological agents, thus it is puzzling that such things could be said to express emotions. One immediately helpful distinction is that between expression and expressiveness, or expressivity. Expression is something persons do, namely, the outward manifestation of their emotional states. Expressiveness is something artworks, and possibly other things, possess. It is presumably related in some way to expression, and yet cannot simply be expression for the reason just given. An obvious way to connect expressiveness with expression is to argue that pieces of music or performances of them are expressions of emotion—not the piece’s or performance’s emotions, but rather those of the composer or performer. There are two major problems with this “expression theory”. The first is that neither composers nor performers often experience the emotions their music is expressive of as it is produced. Nor does it seem unlikely that a composer could create, or a performer perform, a piece expressive of an emotion that she had never experienced. This is not to deny that a composer could write a piece expressive of her emotional state, but two things must be observed. The first is that for the expression theory to be an account of musical expressiveness, at least all central cases of expressiveness must follow this model, which is not the case. The second is that if a composer is to express her sadness, say, by writing a sad piece, she must write the right kind of piece. In other words, if she is a bad composer she might fail to express her emotion. This brings us to the second major problem for the expression theory. If a composer can fail to express her emotions in a piece, then the music she writes is expressive independently of the emotion she is experiencing. This music’s expressiveness cannot be explained in terms of direct expression.At the other end of the spectrum from the expression and arousal theories is “associationism”—the theory that music’s expressiveness is a matter of conventional association of certain musical elements, such as slow tempi, with certain emotional states, such as sadness. Again, though associations must play some role in some cases of expression—for instance, cases of particular musical instruments (e.g., the snare drum) being associated with particular situations (e.g., war)—this role is likely to be a peripheral one. The main reason is the logical-priority problem, already encountered by the arousal theory. The expressiveness of music seems closely related to the resemblance between the dynamic character of both the music and the emotions it is expressive of. It is implausible that funeral dirges might just as easily have been in quick-paced compound time. Even in such cases as the snare drum, it seems possible that the instrument was chosen for the battlefield in part due to the expressive character of its sonic profile. The cliché that music is “the language of the emotions” is often considered as a possible starting point for a theory of musical expressiveness. The idea combines the attractive simplicity of conventionality that associationism makes the basis of music’s meaning with the formalist notion that music’s order is to be understood in terms of syntax. (See Lerdahl & Jackendoff 1983 for a theory along the latter lines.) However, although Deryck Cooke (1959) and Leonard Meyer (1956) are often cited as proponents, it is not clear that anyone holds a full-blown version of the theory. The central problem is the great disparities between language and music, in terms of the ways in which each is both syntactic and semantic (Jackendoff 2011). A serious subsidiary problem is that even if music were about the emotions in the way that language can be, that would not account for music’s expressiveness. The sentence “I am sad” is about the emotions, but it is not expressive of sadness in the way a sad face is, though I could use either to express my sadness. Most people agree that music’s relation to emotion is more like that of a sad face than that of a sentence. Emotional tension is the divergence of a desired goal state and the desired actual state of a given situation. The results of the tension and what specifically made that tension would then have to be compared to form a conclusion on what creates emotional tension in each genre of music. But what’s more effective is a song in which the style and genre changes within the composition. The works of George Gershwin is a perfect example to identify the different factors of emotional tension in music. One of the central reasons that music engages the listener so deeply is that it expresses emotion. The role of rhythm in the perception of music is extremely important in that it is the basis upon which all music is created. Without rhythm, humans would have no sense of patterns, and music would simply sound like nonsense. Musical tension refers to the continuous ebb and flow of tension and resolution that is usually experienced when listening to a piece of Western tonal music. In particular, tension is triggered by expectancies that are caused by implication relationships between musical events, which are implicitly acquired through exposure to a musical system.Appendix:SourcesEerola, Tuomas, et al. “Emotional Expression in Music: Contribution, Linearity, and Additivity of Primary Musical Cues.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 11 July 2013, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00487/full#h2. “Gershwin – An American in Paris Notes by Paul Serotsky.” One of the Most Grown-up Review Sites Around, www.musicweb-international.com/Programme_Notes/gershwin_ainp.htm. “Gershwin on Jazz and Rhapsody in Blue.” Curios, News, & Chronicles, 15 Nov. 2017, www.ripm.org/cnc/?p=320. Kania, Andrew. “The Philosophy of Music.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 11 July 2017, plato.stanford.edu/entries/music/#EmotMusi. Phil. Friere Universität Berlin, d-nb.info/1054637164/34.Discography”An American in Paris ~ Gershwin ~ Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 May 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGt000iascg.zeezCroqdot. “George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic (1976).” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Dec. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2PH0auTUU.