Bel canto : perspectives on Bellini's Tre ariettes

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Burkey, Jessica A.
Zhong, Mei
Issue Date
Thesis (M.M.)
School of Music
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In his relatively brief musical career, Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) composed a number of small arias for solo voice, pianoforte, as well as operas. Tre Ariettes, a representation of his works, embodies the brilliant and lyric Italian vocal style of the 18th and early 19th centuries. This project explores each song of Tre Ariettes ('three small arias'- Il fervido desiderio, Dolente imagine di fille mia, and Vaga lung the inargente) and uncovers the pedagogical and compositional aspects of the Bel canto style. A musical analysis of the structure and text of the three arias, as well as phrases contours, vocal ranges, harmonies, piano accompaniments and dynamic contrasts, illustrate Bellini's application of the Bel canto style. An assessment of the stylistic characteristics of each aria determines the goal of his musical intentions. The musical interpretations of these arias are evaluated through a comparison of recordings by great female singers. Concluding with an assessment of the decline and restoration of the Bel canto style, as well as an evaluation of how Bellini's Bel canto style impacts singers' techniques and styles.