In Medias Res in Music


Book 1

 Argument: In a council of the Gods, Minerva calls their attention to Ulysses, still a wanderer.

                                                                                           -The Odyssey

             In medias res is the technique of starting a work in the middle. For example, The Odyssey begins when Ulysses is still wandering the earth after the Trojan War, skipping how he became a wanderer and jumping right into things.

In music, you might hear an in medias res beginning in multiple ways:

1) A loud, fast opening (you are right in the middle of the action!)

2) Conversely, a soft opening which increases in volume (the music slips into being, like a continuation of something that came before; it is hard to tell where the beginning actually is)

3) Jumping right into a musical idea (without any softer, slower or other introductory sounds, so the music immediately presents you with a crucial scene or idea)

Have you heard any pieces like this? Or do you know any pop music that works in this way?

One thought on “In Medias Res in Music

  1. Pingback: The “Fairy Tale” Genre in Music | If Mermaids Wore Suspenders

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