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Wednesday, February 04, 2004
  Canso: A chantar (To sing)
Beatriz de Dia (d. ca. 1212)

And here we have a woman unlucky in love. She is supported by some light instrumental music. The song is introduced by a string instrument that mostly provides a drone. The melodic statements from this instrument are small but memorable. At the very end, the string instrument trades places with some wind instruments. The recording here is, I think, intended to be an excerpt of the original and the song would continue with the winds. But I like it as it is here, strangely fading out.

As stated, the form of this song is ABABCDB. As I hear it, the C is basically the same as A. But it is different enough to provide a transition into the climax of the piece. The A theme droops down from the pitch 'A' to 'F.' The B theme complements this motion by a stepwise motion from a low 'C' up to 'F.' This is the pacing back and forth of a neglected woman speaking to herself. She breaks out of it for the climatic statement, "For I have been cheated and betrayed," which is expressed with a surprising F major triad. And this line, unlike all the others, has a clear and strong melodic arch.

What I like about this piece is that so many of the phrases come to rest on a major seventh. This dissonant cadence is so much like the pained clutching of an unhappy person. I am also impressed with the singer. The way she embellish the pitches has the sudden dips that I usually associate with Asian singing. 

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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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