“Music is the soul of poetry, it clarifies and opens it. It makes the poetic word deeper in meaning and easier to perceive. The spirit of music in the emotional aspect is creative will that encourages gifted people to create a state of sounds and make them out as their worldview.”
A romance in music is a vocal composition written on a small poem of lyrical content, mainly a love one.
The term “romance” originated in Spain in the Middle Ages and originally meant a secular song in Spanish (“romance”) language. In Russia, the first examples of romance can be considered edgings, common already at the end of the XVII century. And in the XVIII century. poems of the most famous Russian poets – A.P. Sumarokov, A.F. Merzlyakov, M.V. Lomonosov – were immediately picked up by musicians and sung by amateur singers. Such works were called Russian songs.
What is the difference between a romance and a song? The line between these two genres is not always easy to draw, especially when it comes to early romances. But, as a rule, in a romance we hear a closer, more detailed connection of music and a poetic text. Music conveys not only the general mood of the verse, but also individual poetic images. So, in the lyric romance of M.I. Glinka “I remember a wonderful moment”, to the verses by A. S. Pushkin, the words:
Years passed. A storm of rebellion scattered previous dreams …
highlighted by the energetic intonations of the voice, the active movement in the piano part. Glinka emphasized intonationally even such a tiny, but important detail, like the word “tears” in the last line:
And life, and tears, and love. The main sign of the romance – a more detailed connection of the word and music – defines itself and others. For example, great pithiness, figurativeness of the piano part, growing from accompaniment of voice to an equal member of the ensemble. The heyday of the romance – the first half of the XIX century. This is a period for which a special interest in lyrical genres expressing the world of a person’s personal experiences is generally characteristic.
Thanks to their intimacy, sincerity, and melodic beauty, the best works of Glinka and his contemporaries were sung throughout Russia, and some became folk songs: “A Snowstorm Sweeps Along the Street” by A. E. Varlamova; “The bell rattles monotonously” by A. L. Gurilev.
Sometimes a romance goes beyond the bounds of lyrics, acquiring drama and approaching the opera aria. These are some of the romances of P. I. Tchaikovsky (“Does Day Reign,” “Serenade of Don Juan”). And the vocal works of M. P. Mussorgsky can hardly even be called romances: these are live musical portraits that convey the appearance and character of specific characters (“Seminar”, “Orphan”, “Mischievous”). Classical romance traditions continue in the works of Soviet authors: Yu. A. Shaporin, A. N. Alexandrov, D. D. Shostakovich, D. B. Kabalevsky, G. V. .. Sviridov, B. N. Lyatoshinsky, O. V. Taktakishvili.
Features of a vocal romance
In its form, the romance is similar to a song; like the last one, it is written in the knee stock, but that quadrature and parity of measures that are pursued in the song are not necessary in it. In the romance, deviations are allowed in the form of so-called extensions or inserts, transitions from one knee to another. The vocal part of the romance should have a clear and embossed melodic outline and be distinguished by melodiousness. Refrain, or refrain, is most often absent in a romance. In the romance one should pay more attention to conveying the general mood of the text than to a detailed illustration of its details. Interest should mainly lie in the melody, and not in the accompaniment.
The romance is written for singing with the accompaniment of one instrument, mainly the piano, and belongs to the category of chamber music, although some romances are accompanied by an orchestra.
The content of the romance does not go beyond the bounds of the lyrics. The text is dedicated to a certain experience, usually love.
Romance is characterized by only one lyrical mood. However, the range of emotional states in the romance is so great that each performer and listener has the opportunity to choose the one closest to him.
Due to the fact that a romance usually expresses a love experience, it either has or implies an addressee, and therefore, is initially dialogical in its very content.
The presence of two heroes gives rise to one of the most important qualities of the romance – its intimacy, chamberness.
Romance as a vocal and poetic genre is a trihedral structure in which the word (text), music and speech (performance) are equally significant.