Analysis of Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" Essay

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Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet

The slow introduction, which is the theme of Friar Lawrence, begins with a slow minor melody played by the clarinets, which imitates a Russian hymn. The strings then take over the melody and use suspensions. There is a modulation to the major and the strings and woodwind play together. The music modulates back to minor and the flute plays an ascending minor arpeggio whilst the harp plays glissandos. This is repeated. Pizzicato strings then play a descending sequence whilst the flute melody crescendos and accelerates. A string legato melody then alternates between the cello and the violin, before all the strings play together and crescendo as the harp accompanies and the violins play a pedal note.
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Harp scales and a string passage then follows. There is a brief modulation back to minor, and then the flute repeats the love theme in major, accompanied by pizzicato strings. As the melody crescendos and accelerates, the horn plays a countermelody. Harmonics are heard in the accompanying strings as a legato string melody is played, before the cor anglais returns and plays a gradual diminuendo, ending in a perfect cadence.

The development and recapitulation section opens with the strings and flute playing antiphonally in a minor key. The melody is very rhythmic and uses accelerando. The strings then play ascending and descending scales, before playing a melody that is accompanied by brass. The French horns and woodwind section then play in imitation. There is a crescendo, with ascending scales played by the woodwind. The strings play an inverted pedal as the French horn and woodwind imitate each other again. The cello then plays the melody, imitated by strings and flute. An ascending and descending string passages follow, with cymbal crashes. The brass and strings play a syncopated rhythm, which is repeated by the orchestra and uses cymbal crashes. The orchestra then repeats the fight melody, using cymbal crashes, suspensions, triplets and descending scales, whilst the trumpets play the Friar Lawrence theme. Following the crescendo, there is a descending string scale, then the woodwind then plays an arpeggio melody whilst the

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