Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/36482
Benjamin Britten was a British composer who composed a large number of operas in Post- war England. Peter Grimes was his big breakthrough, achieving potency through its intensive focus on the relation between text and music. This essay seeks to clarify some of the methods used by Britten in composing Peter Grimes. I have examined literature analysing Britten’s compositional practice, and thereafter analysed sections from every act of Peter Grimes myself, both by listening and looking at scores. I analysed the scenes from a music theoretical perspective, focusing on rhythm, harmony, melodic motifs, expressive markings, structures and how they relate to the text. I divided my findings into four categories; Tone Painting, Contrast, Psychological Counterpoint and Structural Correspondence. Tone Painting is a sympathetic relation between the music and the text. Contrast is a antithetical relation between the music and the text. Psychological Counterpoint is the portrayal of several distinct psychological perspectives in the music simultaneously. Structural Correspondence is when a musical element with symbolic significance is repurposed without altering its significance.
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