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Brian Albro Professor Leslie Wolcott ENC 1102 11 February 2014 Genre Analysis of Three Alto Saxophone Pieces

Based on the definition of genre given by Amy Devitt, a professor of the University of Kansas, genre is the outcome of repeated rhetorical situations within a discourse community (Devitt 580). The solution to these situations is an article of writing that has all of the questions answered before they are ever asked, and is called the genre. These genres are then used to further the goals of the discourse community (Swales 472) as outlined by Swales, a professor of the University of Michigan, in his writing about discourse communities. These genres give all of the information that the person accessing it needs, and if not, then the genre is revised until all rhetorical situations are met. An example of one such genre is sheet music played by musicians in a band setting, specifically for the E flat Alto Saxophone. In the musical setting, the performer must work together with everyone else in the discourse community, which in this case is the rest of the musicians in the band and the director. The singular musician isnt given all of the information the director has, simply because they dont need all of that excess information, only what is specific to their instrument and which part they are playing. Instead of having to ask what part is theirs with every song, the genre of sheet music was created so that their part is now in front of them. Not just are the notes on the sheet music, but also how the notes should be played to best suit what the composer of the piece

intended it to sound like. Traditionally, these instructions are written in Italian or with symbols that other members of the musical community understand the meanings of. The Italian is usually used when describing the tempo or the feel of the music being performed at certain parts, and the symbols carry much longer descriptions that wouldnt be able to be portrayed in one or two words, and are used to give shape to individual notes or the dynamics of the music. Information not given to the individual player is everybody elses parts. Though knowing who played what part and when would be extremely helpful, this is purposefully left out, forcing the musician to listen to the other people playing and judge for themselves who has the most important part. This act of listening throughout the band improves the playing of the individuals as they are now making conscious decisions to change their playing style to match whoever is most important. The composer knows what information is needed for the payer, and only gives what is important to that person. Through many rhetorical situations, everything that is put on the music sheet is there for a purpose and is important. One important part in the sheet music genre is how it is all structured. Usually, music is written out in straight lines read from left to right on what is called bar lines to show which note is to be played and is divided up in to measures to give a position to keep track of. Not all music is written in this format however, such as The Magical Circle of Infinity by George Crumb (appendix A), which has the bar lines wrapped around in a circle, and the player is instructed to play around the circle two and one third times. Most format changes though are not that drastic, and are usually just changes in font, font size, and how many lines are crammed on to the paper. Another part of the structure is how the composer decides to write out the notes. As stated previously, there are symbols that can change the note, and there are shortcuts that can be used so the composer doesnt have to write it over and over. In the piece Give Us This Day

by David Maslanka (appendix B), every single detail, the tempo and accent markings, is written out, no matter how many times it repeats. This means that in this piece, the way each note is played is extremely important. In Earl Guys arrangement of Orpheus Overture for saxophone choir, originally by Jacques Offenbach (appendix C), on the other hand takes a lot of shortcuts where notes are repeated over and over. Where a measure would normally be repeated multiple times, there is a symbol meaning replay the last measure x many times and where there should be four eighth notes repeated, there is a half not with a slash through it which means the same thing. Unlike Give Us This Day, Orpheus doesnt put as much emphasis on each individual note, but instead on fitting all of the music on to as few sheets of paper as possible. Another important part in the genre that the composer chooses to add or keep from the individuals is the purpose of the music. Of the three pieces chosen, each one has a purpose behind why it was written. Give Us This Day by Maslanka is a piece written based off of the Lords Prayer. This information however, is not given to the musicians. Only the conductor is told that, and will conduct the piece with knowing it is supposed to be a religious feeling piece, and will attempt to convey that with how he or she chooses to conduct. The piece Esprit De Corps by Robert Jager (appendix D) was written for the Marines Band in honor of one of their conductors, Bourgeois. Once again, the purpose isnt directly given to the musicians, but in the piece itself, there are tip offs to it such as the Marine theme that pops up from time to time and how the tempo is marked Tempo de Bourgeois in reference to the conductor who was known for playing music as fast as the band possibly could. The last piece, Orpheus Overture, does not give a reason on the individual pieces nor the master copy. The title of the song though gives away what the song was written about though, the old Greek myth about Orpheus. In the

saxophone choir version however, this isnt stated, because the arranger did not feel it important enough to add. Through performers asking what music they are playing, how each part of it should be played, and why the music itself was even composed, the genre of the sheet music was created. These repeated rhetorical situation caused the composers to evaluate what exactly in the music was important to know and who needed to know what information. This information was then written down in a way that a member of the musician discourse community could understand and use to make the music as close to how the conductor envisioned as possible.

Works Cited: Devitt, Amy J. "Generalizing about Genre: New Conceptions of an Old Concept."College Composition and Communication. Vol. 44. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 573-86. Print. Swales, John. "The Concept of Discourse Communities." Writing about Writing (n.d.): 464-73. Print. Appendix A:

Appendix B: Give Us This Day by David Maslanka (unable to legally attach) Appendix C: Orpheus Overture by Jacques Offenbach (unable to legally attach) Appendix D: Esprit De Corps by Robert Jager (unable to attach, needed for another class)