Musical Analysis of Haydn: ‘In native worth and honour clad’


The form of the aria is greatly expanded from the simply binary form of a minuet. Nethertheless, the aria’s structure is still clearly supported by an underlying harmonic framework. The aria’s instrumental opening section (the first 11 bars) employs a comparatively simple harmonic structure or framework. It establishes the key through a strong tonic and dominant chordal relationship, with the inclusion of the occasional chord ii6 (b.7 and b.18). Despite the use of an F sharp in b.10, there is no modulation to the dominant chord. The F sharp is purely for melodic decoration, (see F natural in following bar). This works as a preparation for the vocal entry in b.12 where the first chord is the tonic. There is a brief modulation to the relative minor (a) in b.31 indicated by the accidental G sharp. The piece ends with a perfect cadence in the dominant key, a compositional technique not uncommon in a minuet. Haydn emphasises this modulation melodically as well as harmonically. For example, in bars 39 and 40, the strong outlining of the dominant 7th in the first violin. Another example can be heard in b.28 in the Flute part, essentially an ornamented triad of the tonic key of C. The interplay between the vocal part and instrumental sections results in imitative phrasing and melodic writing between them, (see b.1-5 of first violin in comparison to b.12-16 in the vocal part). It is important to note that the first vocal phrase is approximately 11 bars in length, situated in b.12 (excluding vocal anacrusis), to b.23.

The Aria is split into two halves, second half being a development of the first. This is similar to the structure of a minuet, typically being in binary form. The first half of this piece is situated from the beginning to b.23 (indicated by a perfect cadence in the tonic key), the second from b.23 to the end. There is a brief modulation to the relative minor in b.31, which could occur in a minuet. However, the piece eventually modulates to the dominant in the second section, this is more common as a feature of a minuet. The modulation is clarified by a perfect cadence in G (in b.39-40), with the tonic chord marked forte to further reinforce the new key. There is noticeably more rhythmic motion in the accompaniment parts, which pushes the music forward. Examples of this can be found in b.16-23 in the first violin, playing accompaniment to the melody in the vocal part at this time. Another example can be found in b.18-20, where the voice has emphasis on beats 1 and 4, and the accompaniment on beats 2 and 3. The bass part has it’s own independent part, adding to the rhythmic motion. It contributes melodically as well as being accompaniment which is idiomatic of this music. For example, b.23 shows the bass arguably takes a melodic line along with the bassoon. The rhythm is more embellished here  than in the whole of the vocal part. The juxtaposition of melodic writing which is a more common feature of a minuet.

Haydn deploys the use of the full orchestra to further highlight the above structure. There is less embellishment in the vocal line in comparison to other melodic lines. This could possibly have been done to make the vocal melody and words clearer. For example, b.29-31 use of simplistic rhythm not to distract from the text (similarly there are no semiquaver rhythms in the vocal part). Haydn emphasises the vocal line by writing more melodically simplistic accompaniment parts as in b.12, where only the tonic chord is played and harmony stays static. An Oratorio often narrates a sacred topic, making it appropriate for performance in the church, therefore the words are of great importance to the music. Haydn’s use of orchestration also highlights certain parts of the text. The dynamic Forte in accompaniment on the word ‘Lord’ in bar 20, and similarly the word ‘God’ in b.40. Haydn uses instrumental breaks as a way of highlighting the structure. They can be seen as a way of punctuating between vocal phrases, see b.23-25 and b.28. The addition of a third part in a minuet can be beneficial in adding colour, but the are not always harmonically essential. The use of a full orchestra and instrumental doubling allows the creation of richer harmonies when needed, such as a full triad with an addition of the dominant 7th, in b.37. These richer harmonies result in clearer and more defined cadences at structurally important moments. An Example of this is in b.23-24, the possibility to use a cadencial 6 4 cadence with every necessary harmony note.

– Joe Perkins