Saturday, October 16, 2004

2004 Awana Conference, CD ripoffs / Quizzes

The Awana Conference was pretty good.. they actually offered workshops that I was interested in going to for their own merits! (in past years, the "interest factor" left a little something to be desired) There was a slide presentation on Iran and Iraq, and a two-part workshop on the causes and cures of children's misbehaviors. (attention-seeking, power-seeking, revenge-getting, and declarations of inadequacy)

Spent lots of time talking to Samuel, Melia, Vanessa, Emily, and some of the others. At lunch, we were being Chinese and picking up the leftover Miss Vickie's chip bags; a group of us picked up a bunch of free magazines. (Brio / Brio and Beyond / Breakaway / Plugged In) I actually bought a CD this year, which I shouldn't have done. I just got home, and expected Third Day to come out of the speakers. (the CD was only $12 plus tax, unlike the normally expensive Christian CD $18+ prices of Switchfoot / Relient K / Hillsongs / etc.) I got the Jeni Fleming acoustic trio instead. (???) (yes, I know this happens with CDs sometimes.. there's no way to return it, I think.. maybe I'll see what my friends say tomorrow!)

I'm tired, so I think I'll go to bed now... I'll leave checking my mail till I wake up later this evening! (I haven't checked it since before I left last night to go out, and I think I'll have at least 100 messages waiting for me!)

Take the quiz:
Are you ACTUALLY good at sports

yeah, you rock
you're the best at sports... keep it going!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* yeah, you rock (You scored 2)
* no, you suck (You scored 2)
* you're okay, I guess (You scored 0)


Take the quiz:
Too Smart or Just Plain Dumb

you're cool

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* So smart, you're a geek (You scored 1)
* smart (You scored 2)
* not smart, but not dumb (You scored 0)
* dumb (You scored 0)
* just plain dumb (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
Will you ever smuggle drugs across the border?

just stay in your room

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* you bet (You scored 0)
* maybe (You scored 1)
* probably (You scored 1)
* ??? (You scored 1)
* nope (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
Do you actually have friends

yes, lots
great job on getting friends

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* yes, lots (You scored 2)
* a little (You scored 2)
* none (You scored 0)
* some (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
How Will You Spend The Rest Of Your Life (money & conscience-wise)

you won't be rich, but you won't be poor
you'll be an okay guy / gal

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* you will be rich and famous (You scored 0)
* you will die of old age (You scored 1)
* you won't be rich, but you won't be poor (You scored 2)
* living on the streets (You scored 1)
* shot by yourself at old age (You scored 0)
* you'll be rich, and have any occupation you want (You scored 0)

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Guitars, worship, salad recommendations, and other things / WW quiz

Had a good time tonight.. the guest speaker really reminded us all about joy and finding time to spread happiness to other people, plus being careful what you allow your mind to absorb.. especially these days! *nods*

Talked to a bunch of my friends about things: Eric asked if "Mystery Boy" had called yet (nope!); Nathan, Eric M., and Christon held a worship practice afterwards (leaving me and Eric H. to take it in.. we discussed the order of service and music with them, too); Stella was also sick with that massive cold everyone had last week; Eric asked if I could tell my parents that he needed to borrow my brother's guitar (sure!); and Kevin mixed Cindy and Dianne up during prayer. (very amusing when I heard about it!)

Andy thought we could do more social fun things together to build unity (instead of just physical unity by bringing everyone to church again for Bible Study); Karen said she'd gotten my email about the Girls Night Out; Elaine and I discussed my trip; and Randal said that he was trying to get through the book I lent him. (no worries, I don't mind how long he might have it for.. I'm not the library, after all! :D )

Andy recommended the Wendy's mandarin chicken salad to us (my sister's always going on about those things, and I might try it too now); Edwin and I talked about Jon a little (no, he doesn't call me!); Eric didn't want to spend money when we were hungry afterwards (even though I would have paid for him); and I said that playing videogames till 2 AM at Nathan's wasn't a good idea tonight because of tomorrow's all-day conference.

Cindy asked if I was ready for said conference; Danielle told me to have fun there; Tracy said she has to fly to Ohio at 6:30 AM tomorrow since she has a dental school interview; Eric H. and I discussed things he'd seen in my blog / my loving concerned rebukes about going to church if I had seen him on MSN this past week (not like: "Eric, you are horrible if you didn't go to church when you told me you would!") / bubble tea / fruity flavors / durian; and Eric M. and I had fun with the Parisienne fart lever / discussing certain too-perky commercials / music / traffic. (it's SO good to have friends like these!)

That's your update before I go to the land of sleepy bo bo... zzzzz....

Oh, and a quiz:

fish tacos
You are Fish 'Tacos.' You might think you're
exotic and worldly-wise, but in reality you're
just a bunch of crap on toast. Repeat after
me: 'just because you put something in
quotation marks doesn't make it so.' And
'taco' isn't Spanish for 'toast.'

What Weight Watchers recipe card from 1974 are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Five: Dreams

Here's the Friday Five:

1. What was the last dream that you had about?

The last one I remember involved my friend Natalie (as Anne of Green Gables) dying young, and a bunch of people showing up at her funeral in the church. :( (including Stephen, for some reason.. dunno why?)

2. Does it hold any significant meaning to you?

Well, Natalie *IS* healthy in Winnipeg as far as I know, and I have not been to any funerals lately... so no. Although I do wonder WHY Stephen showed up.. of all the people there, he'd be the only one that wouldn't know her!

3. Do you dream in color or black and white?


4. What is the most frightening dream you ever had?

Probably the ones that involved blood / murders.

5. Is there one dream that stays clear in your mind despite the fact it was more than a few years ago?

Yes.. there was the one I had in childhood which involved me and my friends playing in a hilly field, hugging each other, and then having to run away from outer space aliens who were bent on kidnapping us!

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

My brain has a color? Oh my... / More Quizzes

Since I have absolutely nothing of interest to post right now, I'll go with quizzes. :P

(things are slightly getting better on a certain front, but no one's interested in that :P)

What Color is Your Brain?

brought to you by Quizilla


At work or in school: I like to be with people, sharing with them, inspiring them, and helping them. I work and learn best when I can take into consideration people and the human element. I flourish in an atmosphere of cooperation.
With friends: I always look for perfect love. I am very romantic, and I enjoy doing thoughtful things for others. I am affectionate, supportive, and a good listener.
With family: I like to be happy and loving. I am very sensitive to rejection from my family, and to family conflicts. I really like to be well thought of, and need frequent reassurance. I love intimate talks and warm feelings.

I guess most things in those results are accurate... although lately, I'm not so sure about the "intimate talks with family" part!

Take the quiz:
Are you a nerd?

pretty geeky
you loser... I hate you

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* total nerd (You scored 0)
* pretty geeky (You scored 2)
* not a geek, but not cool (You scored 1)
* pretty cool (You scored 0)
* you are the most popular kid in the world!!! (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What group of people do you fit into?


Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Prep (You scored 0)
* Goth (You scored 4)
* Punk (You scored 1)
* Jock (You scored 0)
* Different. You don't really have a group. (You scored 0)

What does your T-shirt say? by rejektedrockstar
Fav. Color
Quiz created with MemeGen!

What does your T-shirt say? by rejektedrockstar
Fav. Color
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Got the same results for "black" as I did for "purple".. wish it had come up with something different!

green aura
Your aura shines Green!

What Color Is Your Aura?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hmm.. I dunno about this one....

Take the quiz:
Insane asylum test


Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* QUITE INSANE, INDEED (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
do you like your life?

sometimes you like it, and sometimes not
you're kinda in the middle

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* you hate your life so much (You scored 1)
* you don't like your life (You scored 0)
* sometimes you like it, and sometimes not (You scored 2)
* you kinda like your life (You scored 0)
* you love life (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What type of soda are you?

Mountain Dew
you are the most hyper person ever

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Sierra Mist (You scored 0)
* Mountain Dew (You scored 3)
* Coca-Cola (You scored 1)
* Root Beer (You scored 0)
* Sprite Remix (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
Will you go to heaven or hell?

you are like a little angel

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Heaven (You scored 2)
* you are too close to call (You scored 1)
* Hell (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
Are you mistreated or spoiled

I would hate to be you

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* mistreated (You scored 3)
* spoiled (You scored 0)
* you got it good (You scored 1)

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Good conversations with Dave! / Quizzes

Had a good conversation with my Darwin friend Dave this morning.. all about old-fashioned Chinese parents and their ideas of when we should get married / give them grandchildren. "I had kids when I was your age / your grandpa was a father at 16! Hurry up and give us some grandkids.. you should have a boyfriend now before you're too old! If that girl has the same last name as you, that's no good! If he has the same last name as you, it doesn't matter if you like him and want to ask him out!"

Dave and I agree we're not going to give in to old-fashioned traditional Chinese parental perspective! You try explaining that you really don't want to be a parent at 16 or 30 to those people.... argh! (an exercise in futility, it is!)

At least that conversation kept me occupied / entertained while I was talking to someone else about certain things.. and I'll keep that "expectations" line firmly in mind, John. ;)

Take the quiz:
How Emo Are You?

You portray your emotions well.
You know the right times to cry and be angry, and the times when things should just be left alone. You've got the right idea when it comes to your feelings.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* You're overemotional. (You scored 2)
* You portray your emotions well. (You scored 8)
* You are dead when it comes to feelings. (You scored 2)

Take the quiz:
If you are a football player, what position would you play?

Running back
You have the agility like a cat, and can run like a tiger. You have a very good chance of being great at being a running back... keep it going!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Wide Receiver (You scored 0)
* Quarterback (You scored 0)
* a lineman (offensive or defensive) (You scored 1)
* Running back (You scored 2)

Take the quiz:
How Good Are Your Orgasms?

TICKLE. You think you felt something.
You're super horny, but you are so fucking ugly that no one will touch you. It's okay. It happens.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* NUMB. You don't even have genitals. (You scored 1)
* TICKLE. You think you felt something. (You scored 3)
* MMM. That was nice. I'll do it again next week. (You scored 0)
* DAYYYYM. You screamed so loud, my ears hurt. (You scored 1)
* OH, YES! (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What type of movie are you?

you like explosions and guns and fighting

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Action (You scored 1)
* Horror (You scored 1)
* Inspirational (You scored 0)
* Suspense (You scored 1)
* Comedy (You scored 0)
* Chick Flick (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
Which Yu-Gi-Oh Character are you!?

You are Bakura! You are shy, but only to protect others from yourself. You are a great duelist, but no one ever really cares.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Mai (You scored 1)
* Yugi (You scored 1)
* Bakura (You scored 3)
* Joey (You scored 0)
* Tristian (You scored 0)
* Kaiba (You scored 0)
* Mokuba (You scored 0)
* Tea (You scored 0)
* Marik (You scored 0)
* Yami Marik (You scored 1)
* Yami Bokura (You scored 0)
* Yami Yugi (You scored 0)
* Pegasus (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What character from Spongebob are you?

Spongebob Squarepants
you laugh, jellyfish, and love life

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Spongebob Squarepants (You scored 2)
* Patrick Star (You scored 0)
* Sandy Cheeks (You scored 0)
* Squidward Tentacles (You scored 1)
* Mr. Krabs (You scored 1)
* Mrs. Puff (You scored 0)
* Mermaidman (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What do you want

picked a random quiz

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* You were bored (You scored 0)
* you wanted to know what I meant (You scored 0)
* you're going through every quiz (You scored 0)
* you wanted to (You scored 0)
* you don't know (You scored 0)
* clicked it by accident (You scored 0)
* picked a random quiz (You scored 1)
* who cares (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What non-modern civilization are you?

you are a superpower

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Egypt (You scored 0)
* Greece (You scored 1)
* Rome (You scored 2)
* Vikings (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
Do you drink?

.... I applaud your drunkenness.. GO AND CELEBRATE! AND DRINK!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* YOU DRUNK FUCK! (You scored 2)
* YOU ALCOHOLIC SON OF A ......BITCH! (You scored 2)
* shut up.. you're drunk (You scored 0)
* ... okay, you're wasted.. (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
What is your label?

You skate, you do drugs, and you're totally a punk

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Punk (You scored 1)
* Prep (You scored 0)
* Slut (You scored 0)
* Thug (You scored 1)
* Loner (You scored 1)
* Geek (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
How good are you at basketball?

I have no skill at all
find a new sport!!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* I am the absolute best (You scored 1)
* I can play better than most (You scored 0)
* I'm pretty good (You scored 1)
* I could be better (You scored 0)
* I have no skill at all (You scored 2)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Crime Library and discussions with Corey / Quizzes

Haven't done much today.. I've been rooting around The Crime Library now that I can without illegal operations. I love that place, even though someone who I don't like now introduced me to it. :P Lots of weird stuff there.. I highly recommend you check it out! :D

(never mind what my mom thinks: "You're reading about killers again? Are you going to kill your family?")

Also talked to Corey about stuff, as usual: "If you meet someone in person in the next town over or whatever, they're not going to want to bother if you live an hour away... if you meet someone online or whatever, it's a little different since you've probably talked a lot and gotten to know each other pretty well." Very true, even though I don't know about certain things going on in my own life. (people need to figure things out :P)

Take the quiz:
what type of video game are you

you like the action of sports games as you tackle, hit, kick, and shoot your way to victory

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* adventure (You scored 1)
* fantasy (You scored 1)
* fighting (You scored 0)
* sports (You scored 2)

Take the quiz:
What kind of person were you in your past life?

Fat kid
Well, I think that the title "fat kid" is pretty self-explanatory. You were huge.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Fat kid (You scored 2)
* Knight (You scored 1)
* Psycho Killer (You scored 0)
* Cheerleader (You scored 0)
* Peter Pan (You scored 0)
* Suicidal Rocker (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
Are You Paranoid?

fuck, no!
No way, no how. You aren't one bit paranoid.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* hell, yeah! (You scored 1)
* maybe... (You scored 1)
* fuck, no! (You scored 3)

Take the quiz:
Which element are you?

You're fire, aggressive and passionate! You love playing with fire, and probably have a lot of candles around. Try to keep that temper down!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Fire (You scored 3)
* Water (You scored 2)
* Air (You scored 1)
* Earth (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
Simpsons Trivia

You are the Simpsons!
You must watch The Simpsons every day! You know a lot of stuff that other people don't notice.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* You are the Simpsons! (You scored 5)
* You're average. (You scored 1)
* Do you know who the Simpsons are? (You scored 0)
* You're pretty good.... (You scored 1)

Take the quiz:
Random Quiz

You're cool.
You're cool, you're not wild.. but you're not boring.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* You like to Party! (You scored 1)
* You're boring... (You scored 1)
* You're cool. (You scored 2)
* Whatever... (You scored 1)
* You like to have fun! (You scored 0)

Take the quiz:
Which Legend of Zelda character are you?

You are the Hero of Time, the grandest warrior the world has ever known! You are chock-full of energy and bravery, and you have the tendency to pick up the coolest stuff! You smite and smite well, and everybody knows it. Your career will be successful and fun until you get reincarnated into the Hero of Wind, and then you're just kind of disappointing.

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

All of the possible quiz results for this quiz:

* Link (You scored 3)
* Zelda (You scored 0)
* Ganon (You scored 1)
* The Fairy (You scored 2)
* The Faithful Shopkeeper (You scored 0)
* Random Villager (You scored 1)
* one of the chickens (You scored 0)

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Classical music essay

I was looking through my old journal and its entries, and remembered the time I typed up Jon's essay for him in December. Despite interruptions (some from Darren), it only took about three hours or so for a 12-page paper. Viper said I'm the "typing queen," and I'd better not take it anywhere else. I don't think I will.. hahaha. :) Here it is, in case you music geeks want to take a look at it. ;)

Note: "Eb" means E flat! Similarly, "Bb" means B flat!

During the first half of the 19th century, the string quartet as a genre gradually declined in popularity, although for the first 25 to 30 years of the century people were still composing string quartets. The two major composers who fit in this category were Beethoven and Schubert, who both composed a substantial amount of music in this medium. However, as the Classical era gradually phased into the Romantic, the eminent composers in that era devoted less time to the string quartet. The composers who were really pushing the envelope harmonically and formally like Berlioz and Liszt did not write any. However, some major early Romantic composers did compose for the string quartet, albeit in lesser quantities than earlier composers such as Mozart. Composers such as Robert Schumann and Mendelssohn composed for string quartets, which happens to be one of my favorite genres to listen to and study. In this paper, I will attempt to make an overview of the string quartet as a genre during the first half of the 19th century. I will commence by touching on the late quartets of Beethoven, and then move on to Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Mendelssohn's contributions to the genre. I will focus my paper primarily on Schubert's final string quartet in G major, op. 161, D. 887, and Robert Schumann's final string quartet in A major, op. 41, no. 3. I will see how the two pieces differ in their approach to the string quartet, and how they stand in the repertoire of the genre.

Beethoven wrote sixteen string quartets, six of them in his "early" style, five in his middle period, and five string quartets in his "late style," and although the middle quartets were written in the early 1800's, I will focus my concentration on the later quartets. (It is misleading to categorize works into three periods, as one can find many examples of the new developments in the late style in the late middle period works. It is better to think of Beethoven's compositions as a gradual development [Rosen 389]; however, it is helpful to divide the works into three groups for the purpose of analysis.) The general characteristics one finds in the late quartets are a general sparseness in texture and highly personal writing that audiences in Beethoven's time found inaccessible. Much like the majority of his compositions in the late style, the late string quartets were misunderstood by the public and were seen as eccentric and weird. To give an example of the lack of popularity of those quartets with the public, there were only seven public performances of these works in Vienna in the fifty years immediately after composition up to 1875 (Kerman 192). Some of the early Romantic composers such as Schumann and Mendelssohn reacted differently and were highly intrigued by them.

Another feature common to all of his music in his later style is the use of older compositional techniques such as variation and fugal forms. Amazingly, Beethoven, in compositions such as the Hammerklavier sonata for piano (op. 106), managed to turn these last survivals of an earlier style into fully classical forms, with a dramatic shape and articulation of the larger proportions that are based on sonata style (Rosen 435). The best-known fugue that he wrote in the last style was undoubtedly the Grosse Fuge for string quartet, op. 133, which stands out because of the high degree of drama and tension found within. Another series of innovations he did within the genre of the string quartet was adding to the number of movements in a string quartet, as he went away from the standard four-movement scheme in the traditional string quartet format (sometimes he had five, as in the op. 132; or seven movements, in the op. 131). Beethoven also elided all of the movements in the op. 131 quartet in c# minor, in essence unifying the piece together, something that placed greater demands on the performer and listener (there is no chance to take a breather or to tune). Beethoven also used other musical genres in his quartets, such as the lyrical Cavatina in the op. 130, and the use of Gregorian chant in the Op. 132, which may have been the most original piece of music he ever wrote.

Schubert wrote a fair amount of chamber music in general; among them are more than 20 works for string quartet, an octet, a string quintet, and a piano quartet. Among Schubert's strengths in his chamber music is his idiomatic writing for strings that enabled the melodies on the instrument to sing (Webster 58). Schubert's prodigious overall output can be explained by the fact that he did not like to revise and slave continually over his compositions (which may explain his many unfinished works), something Beethoven was well known for doing. Schubert was surrounded by people who loved making music; therefore, he was, as Webster puts it, "obsessed with the necessity of creating." (Webster 58) This means that there is a fair amount of trivial material mixed in with the sublime; thankfully, his late string quartets fall into the latter category. The op. 161, D. 887 quartet in G was Schubert's last string quartet, and it was written in 1826, making it contemporary with Beethoven's string quartet in c# minor, op. 131. However, Schubert, although he lived in the shadow of Beethoven all his life, and was sympathetic to his music, was too individual a composer to be completely consumed by Beethoven (Radcliffe 179). It has been said that it was more Mozart and Haydn's instrumental music that had an effect on Schubert than Beethoven's chamber music (Radcliffe 179). In fact, the quartet "occupies a lone pinnacle, facing the ridge of Beethoven's late quartets on the opposite side of a valley (Newbould 357)." This quartet stands out from the late Beethoven ones because of its use of the traditional string quartet movement structures (sonata form first movement, slow second movement, etc.), whereas Beethoven experimented with the structure of the quartet (like the placing of a fugue in the first movement of the c# minor op. 131 [Newbould 357]). Newbould has also said that with this quartet, Schubert is also different from Beethoven by being less concerned with the "late" Beethoven characteristics of variation and fugal techniques (Newbould 358). However, one finds variations in the slow movement of the preceding quartet in d minor (Death and the Maiden), as well as in the quartet in a minor (no. 13). The exposition can even be looked at as using variation forms within a sonata form structure, which differs from Beethoven's idea of developing a theme within sonata form. In this movement, Schubert's sonata form has a relaxed mood devoid of pathos, which is different from Beethoven's sonata form process that has insistent energy and tension throughout (Dahlhaus 1986:7).

The quartet opens with a very important introduction (from measures 1-14) that is completely different from his other string quartet introductions (see ex. 1). It has a feeling of spaciousness that is similar to the great string quintet in C (D. 956), because of its slow moving harmonic progression (Chusid 183). (I would have to say that the string quintet's introduction does feel harmonically more static and slow-moving.) What is important about this introduction is that it belongs fundamentally to the exposition, as the major-minor shift, the rhythmic pattern of the opening measures, and the half step gesture are all thematic (Dahlhaus 1986:4-5). For example, the rhythm of the first two measures can be found in the first variation of the principal subject in measures 33-42 (there are many other examples of this in the movement. The descent of a half-step, which is isolated in movement five, is expanded to a full step descent in the first theme in measure sixteen. The dotted rhythm found in measures three and four are very prominently featured in both themes. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the introduction is the modal mixture found with the alteration of G major and minor in the first statement, and of D major and minor in the second. The modal mixture has larger harmonic implications in the remainder of the movement, which I will discuss later. However, you can see it more locally with the Eb and E natural voice exchange between the cello and first violin in measures 19-20 (highlighted in ex. 1), for example. The introduction has a dramatic, nervous quality, which is completely changed in the recapitulation. The order of the chords is reversed (minor leading to major) in the recapitulation, bringing along with it a completely different feeling. Instead of physical energy and violent dynamics, everything is smoothed out, from the rhythm to attack (pizzicato instead of ff) (Newbould 358). The alternation between major and minor is also found in the opening of the finale, alternating from g minor to major. In a way, this alternation challenges the intimacy of the string quartet a step further than Beethoven had, and the fluctuation between major and minor reached its peak with Mahler's Sixth Symphony (Newbould 358-359).

The contrast with major and minor can also be felt in a long-range harmonic plan. Firstly, the descending, Baroque-like "lament" bass progression (G-F#-F-E-Eb-D, found in Dido's Lament in Dido and Aeneas, for example) can be found in the introduction and the first subject group (which can be looked at as either a theme and three variations or a pair of antecedent and consequent phrases), in the manner of a passacaglia. In the introduction, the first violin has the progression, which is split up by the modal contrasts. Measures 15-20 show a very clear statement of the progression in the cello (refer to ex. 1 again), Schubert harmonizing the progression with G-D-F-C-Eb-D chords, which is a modal kind of chord progression. This "lament bass" progression can be reduced to G-F-Eb-D (the other chords being first inversion chords), which is a descending tetrachord from the tonic to the dominant in the minor mode (Beach 11). The remaining three variations of the main idea again reinforce the tetrachord, leading to a strong tonic (G) chord in measure 54, which eventually progresses to a strong F# chord in measure 63, which is puzzling in its immediate harmonic context.

The secondary subject (see ex. 2 for mm. 64-75) springs from that F# chord, which immediately sets up a V chord (we are now in the dominant) whose resolution is elided until measure 75, when it firmly goes to I. Therefore, the skeleton of the cello's line from measures 54-77 can be reasonably reduced to G-F#-E-D, which is a descending tetrachord that is very similar to the tetrachord in the opening measures, except it is in the major mode. We can now see that the alternation of the major and minor tetrachords is set up initially with the major-minor chords in the introduction (see ex. 3 for a harmonic reduction of the opening 77 measures into the two different tetrachords), which I find to be rather ingenious. [source for example?] The F# chord that was so unusual can be seen as having the function of strongly establishing the major mode (G-F#-E-D) that underlies the progression (Beach 12-13). The secondary subject is melodically somewhat hesitant and wandering around, which is due to the V chord that does not resolve until later in the statement (Beach 9, Westrup 43). Save for a moment in Bb (bVI of D), Schubert presents this secondary statement melodically unchanged four times in total during this section of the exposition, which is an astonishing length of wandering, and that some have labeled a compositional weakness because of its obsession with this subject (Westrup 44). What I find extraordinary about this exposition is that both its themes can be looked at as having their own little theme and variation section, which is unlike anything ever done before (that I know of). The second subject area's variations are a lot easier to hear, and although I could have used some melodic variation (only the accompanimental figurations are varied), I found this movement a very charming listen, and my appreciation for it increased as I became more aware of the structure that was used.

Around 1838, Schumann, having already composed such seminal pieces for piano such as the Phantasie, op. 17 and the piano cycle Carnaval, decided to write some string quartets. His motivation for writing them was because he felt he had to return to composing for the "higher forms" of the sonata, the concerto, or larger creations (Marston 248). He attempted a few times in 1838-39 to compose a few quartets, but his other compositions sidetracked him. He composed some more for the piano, churned out a great amount of lieder in 1840, and finally completed his three string quartets in 1842. Schumann, not being a string player, came at the genre without the intimate knowledge of the workings of the string instruments that he had with the piano. Because of this lack of knowledge, Schumann disciplined his general compositional tendency to digress to a great degree, especially in his outer movements; therefore, his string quartets show the most harmonic restraint among his compositions (Young 136). There are still passages where you can find remarkable harmonic progressions, such as in the slow movement of the second string quartet (see ex. 4), but these passages are few and far between.

A common criticism leveled at Schumann's string quartets is that the writing is not idiomatic for the string instruments. Most of his quartet writing is very pianistic in nature, in that passages such as alternating rising and descending thirds would fit well under the fingers when played on the piano, but that is not easy to play on a violin (Schauffler 440). An example of this occurs in the finale of his first quartet in a minor, in which the cello has to play a "hideously awkward" solo better suited for a pianist (Schauffler 457). Schumann's lack of knowledge of the string instruments has already been cited as the reason for these faults, which takes away from the easiness of the music. Schumann also greatly subordinated the role of the second violin and viola, often giving them a great deal of filling-in material (Young 137). However, Schumann's string quartets have a tensely exciting quality that makes it difficult to forget upon hearing. They are also profound and full of deep spiritual expression, given deeper meaning due to his personal difficulties during his middle years (Schauffler 463). After hearing the entire op. 41, no. 3, I must say that I found it a worthwhile experience. I found many contrasting moods and ideas (especially in the fourth movement), beautiful melodies (in the first and third movements), emotion (in all four), and original compositional ideas (as in the second movement, which is a theme and variations). What Schumann does in that movement that is so original is that he presents three variations of the theme before presenting the actual theme itself, each variation being very distinct from each other. (This is different from Beethoven's Eroica variations, which feature a constant ground bass in the beginning variations.)

Schumann's final string quartet, in A major, is known for a few features, the most notable being the motive of a descending fifth, which has its own rhythm, that of a half note followed by a quarter (this resembles the motive in the first movement of Haydn's Fifths) quartet in d minor op. 76, no. 2). The motive of a fifth, heard immediately in the introduction and at the beginning of the first theme (see ex. 5) is prominent throughout the first movement, which I find warm and charming. People have attached the syllables "Cla-ra" to the descending fifth, which is also found in several of Schumann's other compositions, which may explain the warmth of the motive. Given his penchant for attaching more subtle extramusical meaning to his compositions, the theory of the motive being for Clara is quite valid. The descending fifth is also found in the second theme, which is a lovely and lyrical line first given to the cello and then to the first violin (see ex. 6). In the development, the first theme is the only theme developed, with the "Clara" motive dominating the procedures. The rhythmic motive remains unchanged, but the melodic form undergoes some variation, not always being a fifth (although the overall contour remains the same). In the final measure of the movement, while the other instruments are sustaining a chord, the cello plays the "Clara" motive again, as if to further emphasize its importance (it being the first and last thing we hear in the movement).

Schumann has been credited with experimenting with structure of sonata form, as he considered it a form that had run its course, his concern that "we ought not to repeat the same thing for centuries, but should also think about creating something new" (Marston 248). Although he felt that he had to return to composing for "higher forms" such as the sonata, the urge to reinterpret the past creatively was an important thing for him. That being said, the first movement of the A major string quartet shows many sonata form characteristics, such as two clear and contrasting themes, with the second being initially presented in the dominant in the exposition, and in the tonic key at the recapitulation, and a clear development that fragments the themes and runs through different tonal areas, among others.

These "classical" forms are evidence of Schumann studying and applying the principles of the string quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, which he had made careful studies of a few years prior (Lester 191). (Schumann, in 1839, wrote to a friend that he was living through some of Beethoven's last quartets, and identified with them so personally that he felt the love and hate in the works [Marston 249]). Perhaps Schumann's harmonic restrictions in his string quartets also managed to apply to his use of form, restricting himself in his tendency to wander around formally as well as harmonically. However, Schumann still throws in a few surprises that deviate from sonata form, such as beginning the recapitulation of the first movement with the second theme, ignoring the first theme altogether. (There is a precedent for this, as Mozart's piano sonata in D.K. 311 also showed the same procedure. [Lester 191, Rosen 52]) I believe the reason he chooses to forgo the first theme in the recapitulation is due to the first theme being the only thing heard in the development. Beginning the recapitulation with the motive that had already been used largely in the section preceding would be very tedious and repetitive.

Overall, I found that the quartet was nicely put together, and showed some different features than the Schubert, as it was much more compacted and tighter in form than Schubert's first movement. Schumann also used clearly identifiable themes that were put through thematic development, something more typical of the classical genre, which contrasts with Schubert's "themes," which are not really conventional themes, and do not go through much development. The themes are simply being restated while the background changes; even in the development section, the "themes" do not go through much thematic development. Where both pieces stand in the repertoire are also different. The Schubert quartet is acknowledged as one of Schubert's most original quartets, and it is fairly well known in the repertoire, although it is not as popular as the Death and the Maiden" quartet in d minor. The Schumann quartets are not as well known, owing perhaps to the stigma given to Schumann because of the awkwardness of the writing. One must realize that this was only Schumann's third attempt at writing a string quartet, while Schubert had written at least twenty works for that field, so comparisons may be a bit unfair. One can hypothesize that, as Schumann got more experience composing for string quartets, he would have felt more comfortable in making harmonic and formal experiments one hears in his vocal and piano music.

Mendelssohn was another composer who wrote string quartets in the first half of the nineteenth century, writing six. He was very devoted to Beethoven's music and was quite interested in the late quartets during the time when they were considered eccentric by the public (Radcliffe 182). Beethoven's Serioso quartet in f minor (op. 95) had an influence on his first and last string quartets. However, it was Beethoven's later string quartets such as the op. 132 that had a much greater impact on his first two string quartets (op. 13 in a minor and op. 12 in Eb), which were his efforts to come to grips with Beethoven's late works (Dahlhaus 1989:78). Mendelssohn often attempted to emulate Beethoven's grandeur in his slow movements; a good example of this can be found in the slow movement of the op. 12 in a minor, where the middle of the movement is a long and gradual buildup to a fortissimo and dramatic climax. Despite Beethoven's influence in those two quartets, Mendelssohn did not attempt to emulate the sparseness often found in the late quartets, instead preferring to depict the varied colours of an orchestra in his writing (the slow movement of the op. 12 being a good example of that) (Radcliffe 181-182). His other quartets show less influence from Beethoven, and are works where Mendelssohn put his own personal style into the composition.

In conclusion, the string quartets produced in the first half of the nineteenth century - although less in quantity - are still substantial and valid works, each bearing the composer's personal stamp. I found that the innovations put in place by Beethoven -- such as a different number of movements -- were not developed by the succeeding composers of the Romantic generation. The individual works that I studied are certainly richer and warmer in sound -- especially the first movement of the Schumann (maybe it was the way the Saint Lawrence String Quartet played it), which is quite different from the sparseness of texture often found in late Beethoven. Early Mendelssohn aside, the Romantic composers preferred to write chamber music for piano and avoid the legacy of Beethoven altogether (Dahlhaus 1989:79). It was not until the twentieth century and the modern age when we see composers like Bartok and Schoenberg use the late Beethoven quartets as a starting point for their own compositions in that medium (Dahlhaus 1989:78). However, the quartets that were composed in the first half of the nineteenth century are very fine works indeed, and well worth studying and listening to.

So yes, I did indeed rock! The comments on the essay: "Excellent paper. Nice personal tone in some of the observations. You say only the most relevant things, which is nice. A+ 93."

Woohoo for me, and my beloved brother! :)



Crazy. Can't keep still even for a few seconds.

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Quizzes on provinces and torts

Yes, here are some quizzes.. for the two of you reading this. :P

British Columbia
Dude, you are totally from British Columbia!
Everything is beautiful and nothing is bad.

Which Canadian Province Are You From?
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Hey, the results are right for once! :D


and go to because law school made laura do this.

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Went to the church Thanksgiving dinner last night. There were indeed a bunch of kids, so I spent dinner eating with the ones I knew. They talked to me about all sorts of stuff.. it's very interesting to hear what they think! I told one of them that she had the same last name as I did, and Louisa said: "Really?!" Natalie thought Louisa and I were related, hahaha. William and Stanley wanted to get away from David since he was spitting into a napkin and leaving it on the table. Good times, good times.. I gave Hien, Mary, and everyone else a bunch of pens / felts / highlighters from my mom. (meant for Hien and David, but they didn't care if the others wanted some!)

After that, I just went to play with the younger kids and babies. (Janis, Jennifer, Jessica, and Samantha were sitting in a baby swing / in the baby bed all evening.. they're 4 to 7 years old!) All Irene wanted to do was sit in the high chair, or play with the buckles on the baby swing.. that's fine, since she's under two years old. Ian (three years old) played with cars and the toy guitar, and his brother Sean (just over a year old) played with the toy piano and baby pop-up toys.

Yeah, I love kids... but still think I'm a long ways away from having them myself! (besides, I don't think I'd make a good mother :P)

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Sunday, October 10, 2004


My day was boring, kinda... got woken up early by my parents calling: "Go call Eric and see if he's up yet!" Not at 8:10 AM.. I prefer to wait till a more reasonable hour, like 8:45 AM. Then again, neither of the Erics or Maisie (who I called also) were at church today... seemed like a bunch of people weren't here, possibly because of Thanksgiving weekend.

Talked to Danielle and Citrus.. this Saturday's not good for hanging out because of the Awana Leadership Conference. (Chrystal and I agree: we'll be SO tired all day!) Next Saturday might not be that good, either.. oh well, there's plenty of time to hang out later. Sohan got my email about the Girls Night Out on Oct. 27 at my place, and she'll be going. I'll hammer out more details and info later.. yay for my good friends! :D

Didn't really do much, either.. Stella offered to give me a ride home on Fridays if Eric couldn't make it to Fellowship. I'll think about that one, as sometimes I don't necessarily want to take the bus out at night. We'll see.. I should be good for the next few weeks, barring unforeseen complications. :D

Might go to the church Thanksgiving dinner tonight... I feel like crashing, though. For some reason, I couldn't sleep when I got home this afternoon after a Pho lunch... but now I do, go figure. If I go, I have to decide in ten minutes. There could be little kids at church, too.. that's all very well and good, but we'll see if I do go. (end up going, most probably)

So why am I writing when I should be figuring out if I'm leaving? I don't know, but I think I'll drink a LOT of Coke beforehand! ;)

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