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A long time ago i listened to a very special musical piece.

It was composed in such a way that when you listened to it, you have the feeling there were actually 3 orchestras arguing. Essentially instruments were grouped by feeling and tone somehow. For example, one part was playing and sounded deep and jolly like a happy man's voice and the other part was quiet... then responded in a high and energetic female like fashion. The entire piece was like this, sometimes the background "story teller" came in, musically describing the "setting".

Very similar to the accompaniment to an Theatrical Play.

Can anyone tell me what music like this is called and give examples? Maybe I can find it again.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by jjmusicnotes, Jason W, guidot, American Luke, Dan Hulme Jul 29 '13 at 22:57

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It's a little difficult to tell what you're asking here - are you referring to compositional style or for someone to merely identify the piece you heard long ago? Identification questions are typically not really entertained here (as per the FAQ) so if you could find a way to re-phrase, I'm sure you'll get some answers. –  jjmusicnotes Jul 24 '13 at 5:15
"compositional style" would be a great start... i don't expect people to start naming them. –  unmircea Jul 24 '13 at 10:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's possible that it could have been a modern or contemporary piece, though without hearing the actual piece it is impossible to tell. Classical compositions have used many techniques to achieve a sense of dialog, and this has been going on for centuries. Some of my personal favorites are fairly modern (1800s). For example, in Peer Gynt, you can envision the protagonist entering the hall in, In the Hall of the Mountain King, and you can see the various creatures, eager with anticipation as he goes before their leader. The music starts quiet, curious, and builds until you are in the great hall, surrounded by the King's minions who await their leader's words on the event.

Additionally, polyrhythm is a technique where two or more separate rhythms are played simultaneously. The link is a pretty good display of how this works, and is a technique used in a lot of modern jazz compositions (Medeski, Martin, and Wood use it a lot and their music is some of the more easily obtained stuff).

Contrapuntal music uses multiple parts that all have the same general theme, which makes them sound more unified than polyrhythmic compositions. The link is a good example of this technique.

I imagine what you are referring to is a combination of one or more of the aforementioned techniques.

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Great starting points. Thanks! –  unmircea Jul 24 '13 at 16:01
No problem, good luck on your search! –  Tip_Top Jul 24 '13 at 16:05

From the description, I think that the piece was definitely not Gruppen for three orchestras by Stockhausen. The three orchestras surround the audience, each having its own conductor.

It is a bit unclear if you ask about the use of separate orchestras or the effect of dialogue between distinct musical parts that can take place within one orchestra.

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That's true. I couldn't tell if it was the same orchestra playing all three parts or three orchestras each playing their own. But the EFFECT was clear. Any suggestions are welcome. –  unmircea Jul 28 '13 at 10:19

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