Review of Fan Fare for the Common Man By Aaron Copland

Published: 2021-08-11
646 words
3 pages
6 min to read
University of Richmond
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Research paper
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It was composed by Aaron Copland in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony in honor of the war effort. Copland composed this piece for brass and percussion. It begins with a softer pattern in the bass drum and a tam-tam followed with a trumpet which plays the primary melodic theme, the fanfare (Tse, Mark, et al, 2). In the next phase, the percussion comes back with the theme. He firmly maintains the key of B (B flat) primary and sounds open movement happens by jumps between notes instead of going up and down. The melodic materials come back too, doubled as a duet between in French horns and trumpet which is varied to reach higher in the range. The percussion returns and then the trombones and tuba get their fanfare. At this point, the high and low brass (D- F- B) trade around the melody, overlapping and repeating it until they come together with it at the end. It increases the grandeur as a result of every repetition until the fanfare closes with a crescendo in the percussion matched by a swelling chord in the brass. That sounds like a new chord at 2:34 (E major) and 3:14 (F major) (Dunoff & Jeffrey, 341).

Copland introduces some musical elements including rhythm; the sounds in fanfare for common man were spaced out making it staccato. It has a steady, soft beats. However, in the middle, it speeds up and changes into legato. Secondly is the form; the composition involves playing the trumpet along with other brass instruments throughout the song. The bass drum is also played at different points. Besides the string instruments including cellos and violin can be heard at specific parts of the song while brass instruments are listened to throughout the song. Next, Copland applies expression in the song starting at the beginning of the song where the sound is relatively loud with only drums and brass instruments playing. When the rest of the instruments are introduced, it gradually gets louder and overall happier sounding. The next musical element is timbre; the song is played as polyphony. Besides, there are a lot of other instruments that make the composition complex. Some of the instruments in this piece are tam-tam, trumpet, bass drum, trombones, French horn, tuba, and timpani. The song has a thick texture due to layers of sounds created by different instruments. The melody starts at a low pitch withal the brass instruments mixed, in the middle of the piece, more instruments are introduced and blended to make it louder, and it gets much higher (Richardson & Brett, 2).

Copland makes fanfare more effective and powerful. He achieves this by altering rhythm and harmonies. The open fourth and fifth harmonies make Coplands fanfare sound open. Further factors that make fanfare to sound open are the unions in each instrument group, and the slower rhythms; for Coplands Fanfare for an ordinary man, it is uncommonly slow and is marked pretty calculatingly. Copland alters rhythms and harmonies to significant effect in this piece. He could have easily similarly repeated the same theme every time; nevertheless, the song is much more undeniable. This piece is also compelling because it does not have frills or flourishes. It is powerful in its simplicity. Copland was very considerate e to the common man who lives relatively simple lives. The piece is not only majestic but straightforward at the same time thus making everyone to feel great just like heroes.

Work Cited

An, Hyun Hyung. Walking the Artistic Tightrope: Musical Expression and Clarity of Conducting Gestures. Diss. 2017.

Dunoff, Jeffrey L. "Fanfare for the Common Man: An Appreciation of Professor Henry Richardson's Scholarship." Temp. Int'l & Comp. LJ 31 (2017): 341.

Gustafson, Mariah S. Analysis of Duo for Flute and Piano by Aaron Copland. Diss. 2017.

Richardson, Brett. Aaron Copland's" Music for the Theatre": A Transcription for Wind Band. Diss. 2014.

Tse, Mark, et al. "28th Annual University of Washington Pacific Northwest Music Festival." (2016).

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