OperaBeethoven, L. von. c 1935. Fidelio. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act II (pp. 180, 182), we hear the welcome trumpet call.
Boito, A.  1918. Mephistopheles. Milan: Ricordi.
The trumpet call appears on pages 1, 3, 241, and 252.
In the prologue, on pages 20-21, a chorus of cherubium chants on G and Bb. This chorus could supplement a lesson on intervals.
Cilia, F. 1970. Adriana Lecouvreur. New York: Kalmus.
Act IIII (p. 401) opens with an ostinato of D and E. For an ear-training lesson, this could serve as an example of a major second.
Humperdinck. E. 1995. Hansel and Gretel: A fairy opera in 3 acts. New York: G. Schirmer. In Act II (pp. 77-80, 82-83, 87), an off-stage cuckoo is heard.
Hunkins, E. S.  1944. Smoky Mountain: American folk opera. New York: Carl Fischer.
Quotations include "Wayfaring Stranger" in instrumental (p. 12) and vocal (pp. 16-20, 36-37, 45-46) settings, "Cindy" in instrumental (pp. 13-14) and vocal (pp. 74-81) settings, "Lonesome Valley" in a vocal setting (pp. 46-49), and the Bird Song in a vocal setting (pp. 64-65).
Massenet, M. 1986. Manon. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act III Scene 1 (p. 197), Guillot gleefully anticipates stealing Manon from Des Grieux.
Monteverdi, C. (Malipiero, G. F., ed.) 1930. L'Orfeo (Opere, vol. 11). Vienna: Universal Edition.
In the overture, a drone on C and G is played 16 times. This drone could be played by bordun instruments.
Puccini, G. n. d. Madama butterfly. New York: Kalmus.
When the curtain rises on Act III (p. 236, rehearsal number 6), we hear a pentatonic melody first played in D major, then played in F# major (p. 237), then developed (pp. 237-240), and finally recapitulated in D major (p. 240).
_____.  1969. La rondine. Milan: Casa Musicale Sonzogno.
In Act I (p-p. 46-51, beginning at rehearsal number 38), the characters pretend to be in China. The orchestra sets the mood by playing a countermelody in open fifths.
In Act II, the principals go to a local restaurant for an evening of merrymaking. It seems that they pulled an all-nighter. At the end of the act, we hear an off-stage voice greeting the dawn in a song which, like "Signore ascolta" from Turandot, is written in Gb major (On pp. 148-150, beginning at rehearsal number 43.)
_____.  1960. Il tabarro. Milan: Ricordi.
At rehearsal number 85, an offstage trumpet plays a Tattoo call.
_____. 1940. La fanciulla del West: An opera in three acts. Milan: Ricordi.
At the beginning of Act II, at rehearsal number 1 (pp. 150-151), an Indian squaw sings a lullaby using only three tones. A literal translation would read:
Baby mine is big and he's little,
He is little and he's in the cradle,
He is big, he touches the moon,
He touches the moon with his little finger.
_____. 1986. Turandot. Milan: Ricordi.
This is undoubtedly the most pentatonic opera in the standard repertoire.
The children's chorus sings the Lotus Flower folk song when the moon is appearing (p. 58-61, rehearsal no. 19), at the beginning of Act II (p. 229-230), after the Unknown Prince guesses the third riddle (p. 262-264), and during the duet between Turandot and the Unknown Prince (pp. 363-364). Other occurrences of the song are on pages 70-72, 143-145, 273-275, and 324-325.
In Act I, on pages 115-117, the aria "Signore, ascolta!" like a pentatonic song in La Rondine, is in Gb. The only white keys are two grace notes.
Ping, Pang, and Pong have the most pentatonic parts. Besides a number on re mi so la (pp. 103-105). they have Act II Scene 1 (pp. 147-205) all to themselves, with only a few pying's scattered here and there The F pentaton is maintained for a 5-page stretch (pp. 150-154, beginning at rehearsal number 1) and the Eb pentaton is maintained for a 3-page stretch (pp. 185-187). These three characters make one final appearance in Act III Scene 1, in an attempt to dissuade the Unknown Prince from marrying Turandot (pp. 306-311, beginning at rehearsal number 10).
Still another pentatonic melody is played as a march number on pages 213-216 and recurs on pages 224, 278-280, and in at the opening of Act III Scene 2, p. 379.
When the Unknown Prince meets the Emperor in Act II Scene 2 (pp. 220-223), the dialogue takes place on C, D, E, G, and A with only one pying.
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. 1975. Sadko. Leningrad: Muzyka.
In Scene 4, the Song of India (pp. 236-239, rehearsal numbers 195-197) opens and closes with a pentatonic melody which is contrasted with a chromatic melody.
Rossini, G. 1970. Ciro in Babilonia: Opera in two acts. Van Nuys, CA: Belwin Mills.
The story is from the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel. On pages 197-201 is an aria sung by Argene, a friend of the wife of Ciro, king of Persia. Baldasare, king of Assyria, lusts after Ciro's wife and is therefore holding her prisoner.
The words translate as:
Who despises the unhappy, who doesn't listen to their plea,
Does Heaven know how to punish such cruel indignity?
Does her fate look different? The inhumanity is sad.
She asks in vain for pity. He was deaf to her pity.
The aria consists of 135 Bb's. The story is that Rossini was contemptuous toward the singer in this role and declared that Bb was the only note which she sang well.
Music theory students can observe the alternation between Eb major and dominant seventh chords.
Saint-Saens, C. 1964. Samson and Delilah. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act I Scene 5 (pp. 74-78), a group of elderly Hebrew men sings a chorus on la do re mi.
Verdi, G. [1962a] 1963a. Falstaff. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act III, at rehearsal number 28, the chimes ring 12 times while Falstaff counts to 12 and the orchestra plays the following chords:
1. F A C F = F majorˇˇ ˇˇ
2. Eb A C# F = F augmented dominant seventh
3. Bb G# D F = German sixth on Bb
4. Bb Db F G# = unnamed augmented sixth
5. C A Eb F = dominant seventh on F, second inversion
6. Bb Ab D F = dominant seventh on Bb
Bb G Db F = half diminished seventh on G, first inversion
7. A F C F = F major, first inversion
8. Ab F Db C = Db major seventh, second inversion
9. G F D Bb = g minor seventh
10. Bb F D A = Bb major seventh
11. D F B G = dominant seventh on G, second inversion
12. Db F Bb G# = inversion of number 4, but what is number 4?
Identifying the chords can be a task for an advanced theory class.
_____. [1962b] 1963b. Otello. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act III Scene 5-6 (pp. 251-252), the trumpets announce the arrival of the delegates from Venice.
In Act IV Scene 2,Desdemona sings a monotone Ave Maria.
Wagner, R. 1932. Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg:. New York: G. Schirmer.
At the beginning of Act III, the night watchman passes through the streets of Nuremberg, singing a song on do re mi so la. A ruckus ensues, but settles in time for the night watchman to pass through the other way and sing the song again at the end of the act.
_____. 1950z. Gotterdammerung. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act III Scene 2 (pp. 283, 287-289, 292), Siegfried recalls the counsel which he received from the Wood Bird in Siegfried.
_____. 1986a. Das Rhinegold.
New York: G. Schirmer.
The sound of the dwarfs striking their tiny anvils can be heard on pages 113-114 and again on pages 155-156 of the bilingual vocal score. The motif appears both in one-line rhythmic notation and in pitch notation as do re mi.
_____. 1986b. Siegfried. New York: G. Schirmer.
In Act II Scene 2 (p. 176), the title character hears forest murmurs, which become gradually more distinct until he hears a bird call (p. 181), tries calling back on a pipe (p. 181), later hears the bird again (p. 195),
and the bird call finally takes on words, directing him to the Nibelung's treasure (pp. 196-197).
In Act II Scene 3, the bird warns Siegfried of an angry dwarf (p. 208-209).
After Siegfried defeats the dwarf, the bird directs him to Brunnhilde (pp. 230-231).
Also, check out pages 261-262 and 275.
Weill, K. 1948. Down in the valley. New York: G. Schirmer.
On pages 35-43 is a choral setting of "There's a little black train a-comin'."
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