George Gershwin (American): Rhapsody in Blue (1924) - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-26
George Gershwin (American): Rhapsody in Blue (1924) - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Music Art
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 992 words
9 min read


Watching the video concert of Gershwin with John Whiteman as the conductor has remained stuck in my mind. Gershwin seems to enjoy the music as he smiles a lot. The piece is enjoyable and fantastic, especially when it comes to the love theme. The video concert is memorable as Gershwin shows his expertise while playing the instruments. The piece falls into three movements, including fast-slow-fast pattern, one of the standard pattern for classical piano concerts. It also consists of the popular feeling, of the cast of the melodies as well as the odds blue inflection.

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The Rhapsody in Blue (1924), composed by George Gershwin, triggers both subjective and objective reaction when I listen to it. The music concert is characterized by vital jazz elements though composed in the past. For instance, the song comprises of both banjo as well as saxophones in the scoring of the orchestra. Additionally, the song portrays a jazz flair through blue notes and the harmonic progression. George married classical music and jazz together in the harmonic union. The genre of this piece is concerto as it is composed of solo piano and orchestra. However, its structure belongs to rhapsody as one movement is extended in the stride of two or three separate movements. The rhapsody criteria are supported by frequent extreme musical contrast in tempos, dynamics, and texture. The rhapsodies are mostly incorporated by the passage of the improvisatory nature, however, written in an irregular form with extended or heightened emotional exuberance as well as moods. The rhapsodies have increased contrast in style, texture as well as color. Evidently, the video is broadly separated by rhythmic piano solos to the slow and high as well as the richly orchestrated patterns. The moods in this piece of work are influenced by the exciting jazz melodies for the rhapsody. The video concert involves great excitement, love for home, and swagger.

The video has a legato 17-note rising diatonic scale, which makes it captivating to the audience like me. Hearing this song makes you want more, and the performance is not just enough. The glissando effect stems from tongue and throat muscles that alter the oral cavity, as such controlling the rising pitch. The music shows melodic inspiration as well as a rhythmic incention, which indicates the pianist's ability to compose work with large scale harmonic as well as melodic structure.

The music has one of the strongest motivic interrelatedness. The motivic material is first seen in the 14 measures. One of the themes is glissando, and the train theme can be seen in rehearsal 9. The themes also depend on the blue scale, which comprises of the lowered sevenths and the blend of minor and major thirds. However, each particular theme is indicated as the piano solo and orchestrated. The themes are also portrayed and presented distinctly.

The video concert's harmony structure is hard to analyze; however, the piece stops at flat B but moves toward subdominant direction faster, returning to B flat and end more suddenly. It also lessens while moving downwards as it goes through the key B flat, E, A, D, G, B, E, and lastly to the A major. Gershwin mostly make one of the recursive harmonic progression of the minor thirds to deliver the illusion of motion of the passage. However, it does not change the key from beginning to the end. Also, the ragtime rhythm doubles up for the dance reasons.

The music begins in a relatively fast-paced manner around the vivace tempo. The pianos also make it even easy to listen to the song. The tempo later changes rapidly. However, it does not go down below moderato. The section lasts shortly during the low tempos period orf between 2:00 to 2:10. Rhapsody is a piece of music that has an irregular composition and has distinct degrees of style. While observing Gershwin playing, I started enjoying and became enthusiastic about this piece. He smiles throughout the video concert. Additionally, he also stays on the primary mode the entire time of play. Gershwin also uses varied instruments, unlike where the piece is played in the orchestra.

Regarding the tempo used in a music concert, it varies, and there is an application of rubato in many places in this piece. The pianist often uses the blue notes showing the analysis of half step relationship in rhapsody. A vernacular instrument such as saxophones, banjo, and accordion cones is used, and it contributes to the jazz style. The orchestra scoring comprises of the vernacular instruments. Additionally, comic piano, stride, and novelty piano techniques are highly utilized in this music. The stride piano's rhythm is evident in the "agitato e misterioso" section, which commences four bars after rehearsal 33, including other parts that involve orchestra. Additionally, the novelty piano is evident at rehearsal 9 during the revelation of the train theme. Further, the hesitation and the light heated style of comic piano is demonstrated at rehearsal 22.

The orchestration relied on solo piano, 2 clarinets, 2 flutes,2 bassoons, tenor, saxophone, 2 oboes, 2 alto, saxophone strings,3 trombones, banjo,3 horns, tuba, 3trumpetsq and percussion. The banjo octet is the most recognizable instrument in the concert since it has the history behind Gershwin's jazz career. He borrowed the instrument from his elder brother to play once and forget, not knowing that the rest would be history.

The formlessness of the title weakens the entire piece. It consists of the random motifs and the tune strung together. However, the melodic and harmonic prowess of Gershwin is powerful besides the structure of the entire work. The text string together paragraphs. The work's theme is exemplary and terrific.however, the pieces are stuck together, unlike modern jazz music.


Conclusively, Gershwin's piece is memorable and will stay through the history of music, including jazz. While he might be deemed a lousy composer, his work has influenced and contributed to jazz music. The virtuosity and rhythmic precision of Gershwin's work are incredible. Watching Gershwin's video concert and performance, I will never forget such an experience.

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George Gershwin (American): Rhapsody in Blue (1924) - Essay Sample. (2024, Jan 26). Retrieved from

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