The piece I chose for this blog is Childish Gambino’s This Is America. This was released in 2018 and became very popular at the time. The song itself wasn’t the only reason, as the video itself caught many people’s attention. The piece is about prejudice against people of color in America. Glover throughout the song reiterates this idea through the lyrics. For example,”Police be trippin’ now,” which refers to police brutality that is usually aimed towards black people. Another example is,”I just checked my following list and you guys owe me,” which shows how they feel that the way they’ve been treated isn’t fair and deserve something in return. However, the most repeated line shows how Gambino views the situation,”This is America” which I interpret to him saying, that’s just how it is in this country, like it’s bad but you can’t really do anything about it. However, there is a lot more commentary in the video. Such as how gun violence is commonplace in America, yet guns are still treated as sacred, as can be seen when Gambino finishes shooting both the guitarist and the choir the gun gently wrapped in a red cloth before being taken away. In addition to this the video also seems to be commentating on how the media doesn’t focus on the serious issues and chaos that is happening, rather focusing on things that would distract and entertain. This can be inferred from how there is always something chaotic happening in the background, yet Gambino dancing is the focus and distracts from everything else. One musical characteristic that makes it especially good as a political song is the repetition. This repetition, of such words as “This is America” and “Don’t catch you slippin’”, make the song stick in the listeners head, making them remember for much longer.
Music and worship are tied to each other throughout most of human history. Hymns and pieces sung and performed during worship happen even today. Two examples of such pieces include “Amazing Grace” and the music of the Mevlevi. Amazing grace was made in the late 1700’s by an Englishman named John Newton. He wrote it for a competition and he only wrote the lyrics, the melody that is associated with the song commonly came later, according to the textbook. It is probably the most Christian hymn, and it resonates with many for the lyrics, which show redemption and improvement of the person through faith. The mevlevi originated in the late 1200’s as a sub-order of the Sufi branch of Islam, according to the slides. This tradition combines song and dance. The song itself has two parts, the first relying on the flute and improvisation on the performers part. This leads to the Pesrev, which stands to contrast to the first part, at it is not improvised and has a very strict form and meter. It also uses the flute, in addition to the drum, cymbal and string instruments.
Some similarities between these two include the use of them. Both are used in religious ceremonies and are meant to honor a higher power. In “Amazing Grace” this is seen in the lyrics, which state that the faith saved them. In the Mevlevi, it is through the dance. They dance with their right palm up, to receive God’s blessing, while their left palm is downward, to send power to the earth. Meanwhile, some differences include the dance itself. When performing Amazing Grace, there is none, only the singing and music, while the Mevlevi use dance as well in their tradition.
When talking about ethnic dances, for me, Tango is one that came to mind. It originated in the slums and impoverished areas in Argentina and Uruguay in the 1880’s. It is a mix of African, Spanish, and Argentinian song and dance. Some of the instruments used in an ensemble to play the music include guitars, violins, flutes, pianos, double bass, and bandoneons, which are instruments that are similar to accordions.
Some of the main characteristics of the music includes its fast tempo, syncopated rhythms, which is when sounds are displaced to unexpected parts of the song, a tool most commonly associated with jazz music. Most songs used to tango to also includes two equal repeating sections, usually in two different keys. This is done so the dance can be done in a lead-follow type form. This type of dance and music has become very popular throughout the world. This popularity has made different types of songs that tango is danced to.
There are different atmospheres and expectations when you attend different types of performances. The type of performance I would be the least comfortable in is the symphony performance, as not only do I think I’d be bored by it, but also you have to give them your full attention and dress very nice to attend. This to me feels very restricting.
I think the Jazz performance would be the on I’d feel most comfortable at. One reason is the place, it’s at a bar rather than a concert hall. This means the atmosphere is a lot more casual and relaxed. You could get up and do something else, and you don’t have to act or dress a certain way. You could just go and sit and relax hearing then perform. That’s why I believe I’d be the most comfortable at the jazz performance
Film has a huge impact on the viewer’s of a film. This can be seen in the opening scene of Get Out. In the movie as a whole, it is about an African American man, Chris, that goes to meets his girlfriend’s family. While he is there, he starts to notice weird things and begins to worry about his own safety. More specifically however, the opening scene depicts an African American man walking in suburbs while its dark. He spots a car that passes him, which then proceeds to turn and pull up besides him. He turns around, trying to avoid any conflict, but the person that was driving gets out and chokes him out, proceeding to stuff him in his trunk.
Most of the sounds at the beginning of the clip are diegetic, meaning that they are occurring in the clip itself. This includes the man talking on the phone and then to himself. In addition, the noises of the insects also are included in this. This makes the man seem alone, as all he has is himself and the insects. This is until the car pulls up. The music is coming from the car’s radio. The song actually sounds very happy and cheerful, kind of like show tunes, this is until the attacker closes his doo. This is the start of the non diegetic music, where the cheerful show tune turns into something much harsher and makes the viewer feel uneasy. The music sets a mood of creepiness, as walking down an unfamiliar street by yourself can be creepy. The music, or lack of it makes the viewer feel isolated.
Technology is defined as some knowledge, technique, or tool that can assist people or animals and help achieve certain goals. This is a very broad definition and includes various examples, such as instruments and music notation. The technology I chose to focus on today is the synthesizer. This is a type of electronic instruments, being different from having a recorded sound and just playing those, this actually generates the sounds it makes.
This had a major impact on early video game music, as a majority of those consoles used synthesizers that were very limited. These limitations however, probably makes them more memorable, as it is hard to mistake them for anything else. An example of this is the Super Mario Theme Song, released in 1985 on Nintendo’s first home console, the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. The composer, Koji Kondo, has stated that this took the longest to compose out of all the songs in the game, as he wanted to match the overall tempo of the game. He sped the song up and thought it fit nicely, also adding that when the player has less than 100 seconds on the clock, that it speeds up, to make it more frantic for the player.
The two pieces of music I decided to listen two were the Kyrie(Monophonic) and the kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass.
For the first, this piece is monophonic as there is multiple people singing but they are singing the same thing. This means that despite there being multiple voices, it is still monophonic. In addition to this, due to the fact that there is no instruments, the timbre of this song doesn’t include any strings, woodwinds, percussions, or brasses. The volume of this piece is varied, as there are some crescendos, where it goes from softer to louder and some decrescendo, which goes from louder to softer.
For the next piece, this ones texture is a heterophony, as there are many people but they are singing the same melody differently. This ones rhythm is also a bit faster. The harmony in this piece is consonant, which is when they sound pleasing and good to the ear.
The Renaissance Period was a time of rebirth. This period was drastically different from the medieval period, in which not much progress in science was made. This renaissance period renewed interest in Roman and Greek music. In addition, as the Church was one of the biggest organizations in Europe during the time, much of the music that has been preserved is Church music. Most of the music preserved is also just vocal, as people of the time didn’t write down instrumental parts as they believed that it should just be improvised. One important event that happened during this period was the Protestant Reformation, a protest of the Church in which Martin Luther and others were fighting against the sale of indulgences, which allowed rich people to basically buy away their sins.
One of the most famous composers of this period was William Dufay. He composed a melody known as the cantus firmus. This was when he placed another melody in a tenor line. He used both secular and sacred melodies, but the church eventually banned the use of secular melodies, due to Protestant reformation.