word painting



[Eng.]


Musical depiction of words in text. Using the device of word painting, the music tries to imitate the emotion, action, or natural sounds as described in the text. For example, if the text describes a sad event, the music might be in a minor key. Conversely, if the text is joyful, the music may be set in a major key. This device was used often in madrigals and other works of the Renaissance and Baroque.

Also text painting.

See also eye music.


SUGGESTED LISTENING EXAMPLES:

Word painting, Baroque:
Handel: Samson, "Let the Bright Seraphim"
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 2, Track 54

Word painting, Classical:
Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K. 626, Dies Irae, "Quantus tremor"
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 3, Track 8
Haydn: The Creation, "Achieved is the glorious work"
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 3, Track 7

Word painting, Renaissance:
Marenzio: La bella ninfa mia
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 2, Track 4
Weelkes: Welcome sweet pleasure
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 2, Track 45

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