Music GCSE: Harmony, dissonance and an introduction to opera

Howard Goodall looks into the development of harmony using dissonance and the early days of opera.

Monteverdi’s madrigals and the opera 'L’Orfeo' are used to demonstrate unrelated chords and dissonance.

L'Orfeo was one of the first major operas. Monteverdi is scene as one of the key composers who founded the Baroque period in music.

This clip is from the series Howard Goodall's Story of Music.

Teacher Notes

Encourage students to try transposing simple tunes into difference keys. What difference does it make?

Look at different instruments and the different keys they play in (violin in C, trumpet in Bb).

Set students the task of transposing a small piece of music from C to Bb.

Reflect on different playing techniques and capabilities of each instrument.

Curriculum Notes

This topic is relevant to, GCSE, AS Level and Higher Music in the areas of notation, history of music, composition, and understanding styles.

More from Howard Goodall's Story of Music:

Notation and melodic movement
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Harmony, intervals, triads and cadences
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Key signatures, equal temperament and the 12-tone tuning system
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Handel, the pianoforte and oratorio
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Mozart, melodic writing and the symphony
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Haydn, symphonies and melodic writing
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A profile of Beethoven
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Franz Liszt, symphonic poems and orchestral music
Saint-Saëns and developments in French composition
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Debussy, world music and impressionism
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Shostakovich and the effects of Nazi rule on composers
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Minimalism and the advance of music technology
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Stravinsky, Russian music and modernism
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Blues and ragtime
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