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Word Count: 1,451
Text painting in Handels Messiah Handels Messiah is a piece to be studied for many different reasons The music is beautiful the melodies brilliant but most of all the text painting is so apparent that it is hard not to comment on it In the first 8 movements of the Messiah the text painting is a prominent characteristic for analysis In each movement there are many examples of Handels brilliance in explaining the words taken directly from the bible using the music In movement two Comfort Ye My People there were a few words that stood out because they were given such musical importance One of these words was iniquity Every occurrence of this word meaning wickedness was flagged by 7th chords or diminished chords and in one case by a chord that I couldnt even figure out This shows the wickedness of the word and the fact that Handel wanted to drill this word into the heads of the listeners Another word was warfare On this word Handel wrote sequences starting at measure 21 to show the building and intensity of the warfare of which this section is talking about The word is also set to fast running notes which can be seen as the fast running and on going pace of the warfare This movement is a very good example of the text painting genius of Handels Messiah Movement three Every Valley shall be Exalted is an Aria for tenor in which the way Handel set the words is very logical The word exalted meaning made glorious or high is set as sequences in measures 15 18 21 23 and 47 51 This shows the action of exalting by making the notes higher In this movement word like crooked and rough were set to eighth notes that leaped to one another as if they were painting a crooked line Another example is the word plain Every time the word comes up
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