THE MOUSE THAT ROARS” : An exploration of the roles and functions of the piccolo flute in Shostakovich Symphonies No. 4, No. 5 and No. 10 through historical and political context.

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Högskolan för scen och musik

Abstract: After outlining my personal goal and interest with the chosen subject, I will explore the historical and compositional development of the piccolo in the orchestra by giving examples of several different composers and works and by listing the primary roles and functions of the piccolo as used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I will then focus on Shostakovich’s use of the piccolo, detailing both the technical challenges piccolo-players face with his symphonic writing and the multitude of musical roles and functions given to the instrument. I will then explore the historical and political context of Symphonies No. 4, No. 5 and No. 10, recounting historical events of the time and exploring the influence the political environment had on artists of the day. With this political context in mind, I will then analyse material from the three symphonies in question with a large selection of both musical examples and audio samples to support it.

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