My Heart Will Go On Piano Sheet Music With Letters Five Quick and Easy Steps to Learning Recitative

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Five Quick and Easy Steps to Learning Recitative

Recitative is a form of music written as dialogue. It is found in the church music of Purcell, Mozart, Stravinsky, Bach and Handel.

Many young singers I’ve worked with tend to think of opera literature as filler between important passages and gloss over it to get into meaty arias or duets. But it’s usually there to advance the plot and can be a very emotional experience.

Recitative can be intimidating to young (and even experienced) singers because its rhythmic and melodic structure often contrasts with the surrounding music. Singers are musicians at heart, and the temptation is to start with the melody and somehow throw in the words. But in reality, it takes a long time to do this, and you’re more likely to make mistakes that are difficult to undo.

Here are five easy steps I use in my studio to help singers read, understand, and memorize recitations. The Italian reading comes from Come Scoglio, Fiordiligi’s aria from Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. You can access the complete sheet music score online for free at the Indiana University Music Library.

1. Start with any written word in any language. Read them aloud, listening for the correct vowel sounds and looking for odd pronunciations or unusual letter strings. In Italian, several words are linked together, resulting in three or four vowels in a row – make sure you know and pronounce them all. “Temerari, sortite fuori di questo loco” [If you have a word-for-word translation, use it now only to get the flavour of the emotions you are portraying: “You reckless man, leave here immediately”]

2. Now read the words aloud again, but this time emphasize each syllable that sets the tone. Although this may seem a little unmusical, it is the most important part of the whole process. This will allow you to find out which words have repeated movements. Even if you haven’t yet sung, your brain will already know the structure of each phrase. “Te-MERa-RI, SORti-TE FUOri di quesTO LO-CO

3. Now go to your melody and make a vowel sound or “ng”. Observe/listen/feel the sentence structure, shape and tone. If you can’t play the piano or put the chords under what you’re singing, don’t worry—it’s enough to understand the shapes. [If you do play the piano or can think harmonically, notice where the tonality or chord changes and emphasise that too].

4. Now take the time to put the words and the melody together and emphasize the words that move the melody. Again, it helps to include exactly where things change (as opposed to being on a single note).

5. Finally, find the long notes for each phrase. Most classical recitatives are written in quavers (eighth notes), so be sure to include crotchets (quarter notes) or minims (half notes). A long note will give you the rhythmic structure of a sentence. wants In this example, the first syllable of Temerari is the longest note in the phrase. [You don’t need to pay too much attention to long notes at the ends of phrases – they are often put there by editors trying to fill the bar].

Recitative learning involves consciously identifying the patterns and forms of words and music. Once you’ve figured out exactly where the different patterns start, you can use them as hooks to speed through the static parts.

I recommend that you do steps 1 through 5 with rhythm (pace of thought). After following these steps, you will find that you can quickly sing the recitative confidently and effectively.

If you don’t believe me, just try it!

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